420 Spring Championships at Weybiza
The GBR 420 class is currently busy.
Since lockdown has ended there have been four days of class training at Draycote Water and Rockley Watersports which attracted existing teams and newcomers. The RYA Youth Squad sailors, who have been lucky enough to be able to train through the winter, have completed their sessions. The West Kirby fleet has had open training as have the Scots. Sailors enrolled on the RYA Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme have finally managed to add some sailing to their zoom calls which have been running since October…
Last weekend we went to Weymouth where we had the first of three events which will run over the next 5 weekends which will provide a ranking list to assist selection for team events. This first event was the Spring Championships. We don’t know if summer international events can happen at the moment, but we are seeking to hold high quality racing and to developing a ranking list to assist with selection. We would normally do this in March culminating with the Youth Nationals at Easter. But in 2021 it is clashing with school assessments for A level and GCSE. Complicated for sailors and for parents too! Alongside the racing we also had three boats joining for a weekend session to transition from junior classes to the 420. As I said, the 420 class is busy.
Not much has been easy for the last 12 months. This weekend it was sunny (big tick), but with a chilly easterly breeze (not a tick for everyone). On Saturday it blew 20 knots minimum. It touched 30 knots at time. We got the 4 races in on schedule. It was pretty epic. Everyone launched, but not everyone lasted the full day. The 420 is sailable in a lot of breeze, indeed they can be raced pedal to the metal and the front of the fleet just showed that. Behind them those newer to the class were in full on learning mode. This involves much fun but also some swimming. It was challenging throughout, but the sailors rose to it. Many smiling faces could be seen as sailors returned to the beach with tales of adventure to be recounted.
Sunday was supposed to be a little lighter, but there was a pretty quiet dinghy park as it closed on the time to launch for the 1030 start. It was blowing 25 knots average, again straight onto the shore. And then as if by magic after a short postponement the breeze moderated to just below 20 knots average and the fleet were all launched. Still not easy for those whose time in the class has been so limited in recent months, but a lot of sailors had a lot of fun and the two races to complete the series were sailed.
Next up is the second qualifier at Warsash on 8/9 May and another day of Open Training at Datchet on 15/16 May before the final qualifier at Brixham on 22/23 May
And to the results…
Overall winners were Jamie Cook and Will Martin who won 3 of the six races ahead of Kuba Staite and Joey Taylor. First girls in 3rd place overall were Julia Staite and Bettine Harris. First U17 boys were Joe Warwicker and Hugo Valentine, whilst the first U17 girls were Freya Sewell and Molly Dowson McGill.
There are also a second set of results for the ranking series. These include a greater number of discards to enable those taking exams to not attend all the events. Rankings will be determined by the best 12 of the 18 races to be sailed.
And more prizes were issued for the winter Strava series where 420 sailors and families had their own lockdown challenge during January. We raised £164 for NHS charities and ran 2,268 miles between us - the equivalent of walking with Class Coach Neil Marsden to the 2021 Worlds Venue in San Remo from Lancashire and back... Most improved 5k went to Matthias Potter and Ellie Thomas who got free entry to a selector event. The 10k improvers were Alice Davis and Ollie Rayner who got another free entry. Individual improvers over 5k and 10k were Amber Hale and Arlo Braund and they picked up some dry bags, whilst speed kings over 10k were Ollie Meadowcroft and Julia Staite. And over 5k were Oli Hale and Alice Davis. Bee Harris climbed the highest elevation and Jackie Hale was our most improved parent.