BREEZY RACING AT BRITISH 420 INLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
Rutland Sailing Club hosted the British 420 Class fleet for the Inland National Championships over the weekend of 16-17 March 2019.
The weather forecast in the run up to the event never looked particularly good for sailing on Saturday and as the fleet arrived at Rutland Water most had already seen the waves breaking on the dam wall and knew that a postponement was all too likely.
And so it turned out to be. A postponement through to 1.30pm allowed the class (parents and sailors) to take part in a very interesting and informative discussion with the RYA's Ian Walker and Roy McCubbin, with plenty of questions from the floor providing a chance for Ian and Roy to share their knowledge and experience. Contributions from former 420 sailor and now 470 campaigner/420 coach Jess Lavery, and 420 Coach Tim Rush provided further information for the class to consider. At 1330 a wheezy siren attracted the sailors attention to AP over A being flown, and focus shifted to watching the Six Nations Rugby.
The wind on Sunday was at the top end of what would be considered sailable for the class, but the PRO determined that it was suitable to go out and the fleet were launched quickly ready for a 10.30am start with the aim of getting the Sunday programme run, with as many of the held over races slotted in as possible.
Race 1 saw 3 boats OCS. Jack Lewis/Fraser Hemmings took line honours with Megan Ferguson/Bettine Harris second and Eleanor Keers/Faye Chatterton third.
James and Harry George, having led to the windward mark, managed to capsize, lose their spinnaker pole and have to do a dash back to shore for a spare.
Vita Heathcote/Milly Boyle, having spent much of Saturday tuning their new mast must have been pretty gutted to come back in with a 90 degree bend at spreader height. This was their only race of the day as a result.
Rhys Lewis/Drew Wright were the winners of race 2, followed home by Ferguson/Harris. Dylan McPherson/Andrew Sturt were third. A number of boats returned to shore with some very cold sailors on board. Race 3 saw Lewis/Wright bang in another first, moving them up the fleet. McPherson/Sturt were second, with Callum Cook/Calum Bell in 3rd place.
Race 4 will be remembered for the squall which came from one end of the water to the other, bringing vicious gusts, biting winds and hail. Spectators watched as it moved across the water with blue sky appearing at the other end of the water as the hail hit the sailors. These were real survival conditions, and the number of finishers showed just how much the fleet had been depleted by the squall. Winners of race 4 were Keers/Chatterton, with Jamie Cook/Will Martin 2nd and Cook/Bell in 3rd. Hot chocolate, provided by the class association, was very much in demand by the very cold and wet sailors when they returned to shore.
Prizes were presented by Ian Walker.