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Cruise Village 2020 - LEADERBOARD

420 Youth Performance Squad at the WPNSA

by Emmy Walker & Lizzie Beardsall 1 Dec 2020 16:14 GMT 28-29 November 2020
420 Youth Performance Squad at the WPNSA © 420 Marketing

2020 has presented huge challenges for everyone, but as a youth sailor with only 1 or 2 competitive years in a class before you are too old, it has been especially frustrating. A first world problem I know, but nevertheless as a class, the 420 sailors can't wait to get back to action.

With the RYA now including the youth squads as part of the 'elite pathway', seven boats were able to get out training in Weymouth on the weekend of 28/29th November. In the 2 weeks before, my helm Lizzie and I were desperate to avoid 'isolation' from school, which would have meant exclusion from training. Sadly, Ollie and Oscar were not so lucky and had to miss the weekend. Looking forward to seeing you at the next camp guys!

Covid protocols were tight with online symptom forms and temperature checks needing to be filled in before 8am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the rules we have had to get used to is wearing masks at all times onshore and not being able to be within two metres of anyone, which is extremely hard when you haven't been able to see your friends in weeks! Unusually we now have socially distanced briefings outside. On the plus side, at least they are shorter!

Leaving home to drive to Weymouth at 7am I thought we weren't going to make it when the wheel flew off our trailer 3 miles from home. Fortunately no harm was done and 20 minutes later we were back on the road with 4 new wheel nuts. My Dad says it's all part of the learning experience!

Conditions for the two days training were glorious and we were so excited to get back on the water for the first time in a month! Our star coaching team of Jonny McGovern and Neil Marsden made no allowances for our lack of recent sailing fitness and after 5 hours training in 18 knots of wind on Saturday we could hardly move by the time we got back ashore.

420s are famous for their social life and it was great to meet up with our sailing buddies, but I am not sure even we would have had enough energy had the covid rules allowed us. I didn't feel much like an elite athlete when I could hardly lift my arms above my head that evening!

Day 2 dawned with a cool North Easterly wind blowing straight onshore at WPNSA and with the temperature 8 degrees it was hard to get out of the warm car - especially as there were no changing rooms allowed. Dad parked the car to block out the wind and pushed us out - by 10am our coaches were ready to beast us again with numerous different exercises and races.

Four and a half hours later we were ready to drop and grateful to be packed up and away by 3pm. Covid has been a disaster in so many ways but one positive is getting our debrief online on our phones on the way home!

All in all it was a fantastic weekend and our super coach team definitely put us through our paces. We have a lot to practice after missing so much training and racing this year and we can't wait for the next squad camp at Poole YC in two weeks time. Hopefully, before long we can spark up some socials too...

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