British 420 Inlands
September has been a very busy month for the UK's 420 sailors. No sooner had everyone recovered from the Nationals and, for quite a few, the Junior European Championships, than it was time to regroup at Rutland for the CurraDinghy sponsored Inland Championships.
This is a time of year when there are lots of changes in the fleet, with some sailors heading off to do new things, lots of new faces joining, and quite a lot of shuffling of the existing teams. The event was also the first indicator for this year's RYA squads, so it was with interest and perhaps a bit of trepidation that the fleet assembled on the 14-15 September.
Saturday was, as forecast, predominantly light with big shifts and holes, so Stog, the PRO, set a fairly short outer loop course. The first race was won on the water by Dan Whiteley and James Clemetson, followed by Tim Riley and James Taylor. Sarah Norbury and Mari Davies crossed next followed by Ben Hazeldine and Rhos Hawes. Unfortunately for Dan, he was protested and later DSQ'd for an infringement, so everyone else got a one place hike up the table.
Race 2 saw Ben and Rhos dominate sailing, notwithstanding a badly ripped spinnaker which they flew with great skill and won the race, followed by Jemima Lawson and Lily Summers, with Sarah and Mari in third. Race 3 followed, with Sarah and Mari scoring their first bullet, followed by the new team of Robbie King and Ryan Orr, then Jenny Smallwood and Esther Fenton-Jones. There was something of a hiatus before Race 4, with the wind dropping almost completely, then having a bit of a veer which tempted the PRO into a little tour of the lake, before settling back down. Eventually race 4 got away and was won by Milly Pugh and Amy Sparks after a great battle with Danielle Thomas and Megan O'Brien in second and Sarah and Mari ending a great day for them in third.
Day 2 dawned very differently. The TV weather forecasters had been talking about the "Sunday Storm" expected later in the morning, so the fleet set out early to try to beat the impending gale. Race 5 got underway in a good breeze, and was won by Tim and James, Ben and Rhos were second, with Sarah and Mari showing that they were also good in a breeze and finishing third.
By Race 6 the wind was really building, with gusts over 20 knots, and there were already a few heading home. The race was won by Scott Wallis and Luke Burywood, with Dan and James in second and Tim and James third. By the end the wind had got up well into the 20s in the gusts, and it was decided that enough was enough and the fleet were sent home.
So overall the event was won, courtesy of some great, consistent sailing, by Sarah and Mari. Ben and Rhos, who executed a superb deliberate capsize in the last race after being swamped, were second, and Tim and James were third.
Many thanks to the club, all of the volunteers and to CurraDinghy as event sponsor.
Source: Phil Taylor