British 420 Autumn Championships
Over 28-29 September, the 420 fleet were in Torquay for the inaugural Autumn Championships, a new event in the class calendar. Torquay had been very popular as the venue for the 2012 Nationals, so we were confident of a great event.
Torbay is known as the English Riviera, but on Saturday it was more just a River. The morning greeted the fleet with thunder, lighting and torrential rain. There was also plenty of wind and some giant 2 to 3 metre breaking waves, so much so that working the committee boats or RIBs was far from pleasant. The east north east wind resulted in the fleet trying to take advantage of the wind bend towards the Torquay shore so starting well and working to the left hand side of the course produced the leaders
Three outer loop races were run on day one. The first was won by Tim Riley and James Taylor, followed by class National Squad coach Neil Marsden and Josie Gummer, then Ben Hazeldine and Rhos Hawes. Race 2 saw Scott Wallis and Luke Burywood triumph, with Tim and James second and Neil and Josie in third. By Race 3 it was already starting to feel like a long day for the race committee, but Tim and James didn't seem to be suffering, clocking another bullet, followed by Neil and Josie, then Ben and Rhos. The fleet, and the race committee, retired for a well earned break.
Sunday dawned at least dry and with a bit less wind, though there was still a big swell running. Race 4 saw Neil and Josie pick up their first bullet, with Tim and James just behind and Dan Whitely and James Clemetson in third. Race 5 was yet another win for Tim and James, followed this time by Morgan Dibb and Rosie Watkins, and Scott and Luke in third. Race 6 saw the pairing of Robbie King and Ryan Orr display some dazzling speed, with a victory over Tim and James, who were second, and Max Clapp and Jo Burns who finished third. Unfortunately for Neil Marsden, after a pretty good looking start, his mainsail fell down. That's not very quick in a 420, even for Neil, so he ended up with a discard and a lesson on boat prep to share with the youth squad. By Race 7 the breeze was fading and swinging, and it took a few goes to get away. There were a few black flags and early baths, including the regatta leaders Tim and James, though by then they knew they already had it in the bag. Robbie and Ryan again sailed a great race to get their second win, Neil and Josie showed that they were much better with a full complement of sails and finished second, and Max and Jo posted another third.
So, overall the winners of the inaugural 420 CurraDinghy Autumn Championships were Tim and James posting a very impressive scoreline with no counter outside the top 2. Neil and Josie were second, not far behind on points, whilst Ben and Rhos secured third.
The fleet now wait for the RYA Youth squad to be selected and for the extensive programme of class training to start so that the new teams can get their procedures fine tuned ready for the selection of the Transition squad and World and junior European selection series, please see the class website for more details. Many sailors will now attend regattas in Bordeaux starting 31st October, Imperia Italy, 8th December, Palamos 18th December and Blanes Spain 2nd January so a busy time ahead for all.
Once again many thanks to the club and all of their volunteers, it certainly lived up to expectations. Also thanks to all of the class volunteers and of course to our sponsor, CurraDinghy.
Source: Phil Taylor