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RacingDinghies 420 Spring Championship at Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by Vita Heathcote and Milly Boyle on 15 Mar 2016 12-13 March 2016

Spring arrived just in time for its very own championships on the English Riviera. Milly Boyle (my crew) and I felt very welcome into the 420 fleet and were thrilled to be sailing amongst old friends who we had raced with/against in Oppies. But there were sailors from other classes too, who would really know what to do with a spinnaker, and a jib for that matter, so we were nervous too. This championship is the first of our selection trials for the Worlds and European Teams, and despite this pressure the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

We had some delay (thankfully, because we weren't ready!) while the breeze filled in but then D Flag was raised and off we went, into battle! The sea sparkled like it hadn't done for months and there was some warmth in the sun.

Robbie and Marcus galloped into the lead, and we found that the 6-8 knots of breeze was just enough to keep it exciting. Somehow we held on to their coat tails for 2nd, though in race 2, with the breeze dying we made a few mistakes and had to settle for 14th.

The next day there was a much more purposeful breeze, 12-14kts. As the day went on we gained in confidence and really just tried to sail like we'd sail our oppie; start in the line, speed till you feel a shift, then let the shifts guide you up the beat, try not to lose too much on the reach, watch your back down the run, plan the gate rounding before it's too late, play your own game up the second beat, then pray you don't blow it all down the final run! It all came together for us and we scored a 5th, 2nd then 1st to narrowly win the championship from Robbie and Marcus.

The class wish to thank Royal Torbay.Yacht Club for hosting a great event, Bob Penfold, their Commodore and PRO, for providing high quality racing in a difficult, shifting breeze for the 36 boat fleet, and RacingDinghies.co.uk who kindly sponsored the event, with prize winners each taking home a voucher to spend. The chef at Royal Torbay Yacht Club provided a delicious dinner for over 80 of us in the evening, and set up 2 large TVs so those on shore could watch a tense rugby match.

Overall Results:

1st Vita Heathcote and Milly Boyle (under 17)
2rd Robbie King and Marcus Tressler
3rd Ella Bennett and Emily Gent
4th Dan Atherton and Matthew Viney
5th Hatty Morsley and Pippa Cropley
6th James Clemetson and William Birch–Tomlinson

10th Alexander Hughes and Tom Smith (first non squad boat)
18th Eleanor Keers and Isobel Pugh (first U17 girls outside prizes)
20th Geoff Power and James McCann (IRL) (first U17 boys)

Our next Championship event is the Inland Championship to be held at Draycote Water Sailing Club next weekend, 19th/20th March.

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