Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Junior initiative

The profusion of young sailors here in Split is obvious to all. Several
nations are fielding strong Junior squads hoping to take home the 2010
Junior European title.

The ten strong team from Germany includes four members of the Finn Team
Germany initiative, three of which are juniors who are all attending their
first major Finn championship. All three are around 1.9 metres high and
weigh around 85-89kg.

19 year old Julian Massler (GER) is arguably the most experienced of the
three, having placed 10th in last year's Junior World Championship.

"This is my tenth month in the Finn and my first major championship. I was
doing the Laser but not much time for sailing with exams and school. I also
lived in the south of Germany, so I moved to Kiel to go sailing and also to
switch to the Finn as I am now too big for the Laser."

The other two are Lennart Luttkus (GER), who is just 17, and Christoph Froh
(GER) who started in the Finn in February 2009. All have grown too big for
other classes, so the Finn was the ideal choice.

Finn Team Germany was established in 2006 to provide equipment and coaching
support for promising young sailors with the aim of bringing them up to the
level necessary to receive support from the German Sailing Federation

The team is managed by three time Masters World Champion Andre Budzien (GER)
who is also competing here, and coached by double Finn Olympic Michael

How would Budzien rate the success of the project so far? "It gets better
and better. Not the way we planned but we'll see after this week, hopefully
we will have some good results in the Junior Championship and the rest we
will see."

Massler, who finished 53rd in today's only race continued, "The Finn Team
German is a good thing to be involved in for me. We get a new sail every
year, we exchange information within the team and we talk about our
experiences. We all live a long way from each other, sometimes it's a
problem, but when we come together there's a good team spirit."

"I am enjoying it a lot. Sailing a Finn is more like sailing a boat and you
can learn so much more from all the good guys. Even when I am the back of
the fleet I am always learning something."

The leading Junior is last year's champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) in 24th,
with Luke Lawrence (USA) in 39th and Artur Ponieczyski (POL) in 42nd.

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