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UK 420 Autumn Round Up

by GBR 420 Class 22 Oct 10:25 BST
RYA Youth National Championships © RYA / British Youth Sailing / Paul Wyeth

It's been a difficult time since March for everyone, with sailing cancelled, rearranged, cancelled, and for the UK 420 fleet things have started to look up a little recently with the ability to spend increased amount of time on the water.

A class training week in August ending up with GCSE results, followed by further training in Oxford and Lymington, and a race meeting in Brixham have enabled a sense of normality to return. But it is not normal without sailing club facilities and it takes a bit of getting used to. But we are now all dab hands at face masks, QR codes, whatsapp group co-ordination and briefings and then zoom debriefs.

420 Sailors are now headed for the RYA Youth Nationals in Portland this weekend and 20 boats arrived a weekend early to get some last minute training in, with Jess Lavery and Tim Rush, together with current British Sailing Team 470 sailors Marcus Tressler and James Taylor leading two intense days on the water.

The 420 continually sees a diverse mix of sailors coming out of all the junior classes to join the fleet. This weekend we saw graduates from the Topper, Feva, Tera, Cadet and Oppie strutting their stuff. In the no discard mini-series on Sunday it was recent Feva/Tera graduates Alice Davis and Oliver Rayner who ended up top of the tree.

If you want to find out more about the Class get in touch with fellow sailors and parents on Facebook GBR 420 Sailing or Instagram @british_420_class But 420 sailing is more than just being on the water. Ella Lance and Matty Evans (both ex Oppie sailors) were the leading female team at the recent Brixham Event. Follow them on @lance_evans_sailing on insta and find out a little bit more below about what makes them tick on a weekend in Weybiza.

A weekend in Weymouth

A 4:45am start - Saturday morning. After a Friday evening of trading up boats between trailers, Saturday proved cold and early. On the bright side, we made it to Weymouth in good time (for once) but still managed to be one of the last to launch. A quick briefing - groups of 6, masks on - we hastily fumbled about trying to rig up successfully. Despite having now two years of sailing in the class under our belts, we still, every time, manage to rig the kicker on the wrong side of the boom and get our spinny caught round the jib. Alas, once sorted we launched, excited (and tired) for what proved to be glorious sailing conditions.

Conditions: 12-15 knots, sun (some of the time) and sailing in the bay - our favourite. Glad to be back in our number 1 venue, our 35mm pre bend soon proved pacey. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for any of our starting manoeuvres. Scoops, trigger pulls, double tacks; you name it - they all require (serious) improvement! But, it did feel like by the end of the day we were seeing small improvements, and this, as always, is very rewarding.

Back off the water we struggled with (the lack of) facilities. Covid-19 - you may have heard - has slightly altered our lifestyles these past few months. Thus, changing under dry-robes in freezing boat parks looks to become customary this winter. Moreover, the downside of Weymouth and Portland, we find, as last minute sailors, is the general lack of accommodation. Luckily for us, we managed to grab the final two rooms available at 'Mon Ami', a hotel with a sea view (but not for us), which is where we headed back to for showers and the 6pm briefing - by Zoom, of course.

Now changed, showered, exhausted in good spirits, talk turned to dinner. After hunting down the fish and chip shop, we found we couldn't eat in (covid times). A cold, dark beach didn't prove particularly enticing, thus we headed back to the hotel to check out what they had on offer. Matty's chicken and bacon pasta was on the greasy side (6/10) but Ella's crispy buttermilk chicken burger proved a 10/10, leading to the hotel scoring 7/10 overall - taking into account food, facilities and most importantly decoration.

After a 9 hour sleep and a Ttesco pit-stop - for both meal deals and breakfast (Ella - cinnamon swirl, Matty - croissant) - we were back at WPNSA for day 2. Considerably less tired, 8-9 knots was actually more than the forecast anticipated, we were ready for a fun day on the water. Another quick briefing prefaced a day of speed work and racing in the bay. The dual nature of bay and harbour requires proactive change in both technique and setup; we felt we had it mastered in the flat water, not so much in the chop!

Overall, a great weekend. Class training is always fun, and each day on the water at the moment feels particularly treasured given the lack of summer events. Check out @lance_evans_sailing on instagram for more accommodation and food reviews, which is obviously the most important part of any sailing weekend!

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