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420 light air performance

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CT249 View Drop Down
Far too distracted from work
Far too distracted from work


Joined: 08 Jul 06
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CT249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 11:18am
Sorry, I didn't give enough information. I'm not looking for a boat that will do particularly well in light airs, but just wondering if 420s would hang in with our Laser fleet in light winds, or straggle well behind.

Because we are the only club in an area with a population of about 25,000 people in an area of of over 3300 square miles, I'm trying to work out a way to cater for a wide variety of sailors while promoting classes that mainly fit into a fairly narrow speed band. We are also trying to foster classes that are economical and fairly widely popular down here. I don't want the club to go back to having such a wide spread of speeds that no one gets a good race, which seems to have caused it to shrink dramatically years ago.

The speed range I'm looking at covers from 1021/1022 (Tasar & Flying 15) to 1148-ish (Radial and a local 16' 3-person trainer) which brings in a bunch of the biggest classes from Windsurfers to trailerable yachts. We have a Laser fleet as the foundation but given the small population it's unlikely that we will develop other ODs so promoting a band of classes seems to be the best way to create reasonable racing.

Outside of the above, we have a fleet of very mixed cats, and hopefully we can grow a Junior sub-divison of Optis, with kids then progressing into Laser Radials and 4s.

There's a few 200s and Fevas in Oz but they don't seem to have organised racing, at least within 800 miles.  We already have some Tasars but if NS14s came along we'd be happy to race them alongside Tasars, which have the same yardstick. 

Almost none of our classes are light-wind flyers by UK standards, so there's nothing that really monsters the Lasers, Tasars etc. We get lots of wind in the spring so I was only wondering if the 420 would straggle badly in the light autumn winds.

I was thinking Cherub but the Aussie boats really stick in the light whereas as A2Z notes, the 420 can still roll tack (and run square) which is important on a lake with 600m beats and surrounding hills. 

I hadn't realised that the 420s in the UK mainly sail in squads, and it's a good idea to check the US C420 guys. Thanks



Edited by CT249 - Yesterday at 11:25am
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A2Z View Drop Down
Really should get out more
Really should get out more


Joined: 10 Oct 16
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Post Options Post Options   Quote A2Z Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:04pm
Given the 420 has a PY of 1105, a Laser is 1100 and a Radial is 1147, I think you’ll find the 420 is fine.  It may drop behind the Lasers a touch below 8kts but will still likely be ahead of the radials.  People have a misconception that they are bad in light wind because they are good in strong wind. They outperform their handicap in 15kts+ and therefore probably underperform against it in less than 8kts, but they still sail just fine.  In fact I wouldn’t be too if they can beat a Tasar over the water in this light winds. 
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RS400atC View Drop Down
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Really should get out more


Joined: 04 Dec 08
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RS400atC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 8:35pm
Originally posted by A2Z

Given the 420 has a PY of 1105, a Laser is 1100 and a Radial is 1147, I think you’ll find the 420 is fine.  It may drop behind the Lasers a touch below 8kts but will still likely be ahead of the radials.  People have a misconception that they are bad in light wind because they are good in strong wind. They outperform their handicap in 15kts+ and therefore probably underperform against it in less than 8kts, but they still sail just fine.  In fact I wouldn’t be too if they can beat a Tasar over the water in this light winds. 


I suspect the serious 420 sailors going out in strong breeze might not get involved in PY, so the 400-odd PY results of 420s in 2018 might largely be older boats sailing in moderate conditions in run-of-the-mill club races. I suspect  a shiny new high budget 420 is a lot faster than the average old one? More so in breeze? But it's older ones driving the PY?  There are a lot of old 420s around but they are not ever so active in UK club fleets. A good few belong to schools and so on?  I really think on small water, they won't be out of touch, but ideally you'd concentrate on racing other 420s. Sounds like a cheap route into good racing which will teach a lot of skills. But I tend to be cynical about racing disparate boats and a trapeze 2-up kite boat is always going to be disparate with a Laser IMHO. As in the course will affect the outcome. If you're prepared to enjoy the racing despite that, it's not a problem.
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