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420 class Open Training at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Arlo Braund 16 Dec 2020 19:24 GMT 12-13 December 2020
420 Open Training at Lymington Town © GBR 420 class

The plan was to train at Oxford Sailing Club this weekend, but COVID-19 got in the way, and we ended up travelling to Lymington. All the sailors are all very grateful to Lymington Town Sailing Club for welcoming us back at such short notice to sail at their amazing venue.

There were twelve keen teams in eager attendance, six of whom were in their first year in the 420 class; a good mix of ability and experience.

We had prime conditions on Saturday with 10 knots average and gusts to 16 knots. The sun was shining all day and it was pleasantly warm. We started the day with some six lappers to get our manoeuvres back up to speed. We then worked on some straight-line boat speed.

It felt good to be out training with coaches again, sorting out some the errors we had developed from training without coach input, and the four and a half hour session flew by.

The forecast looked desperate. But spotting a possible weather window, Head Coach Jess announced an 8.30am launch for the following day's session.

So Sunday started off for me with a 5am wake-up call with a dash back to Lymington to be ready for the 8:15 morning brief. For pretty much all involved, it was a first experience of rigging up in the dark.

My day started out with an unexpected swim; within 100 metres of launching I had snapped a trapeze elastic. We took a very quick trip back to shore for spares and repairs, and re-joined the group.

Before we got out of the river and into the Solent, we had four capsizes and two people fallen out of their boats. The coaches knew they were in for a busy day. It was our first time setting up at rake 5 to depower the boat, but we still had plenty of power for me to be flat-wiring most of the time.

After an hour, the wind began to seriously build, as forecast. The coaches set a course. The planned racing didn't go well as nearly all of the 420s ended up upside down. With a few heading back in, we were left with five boats on the water and we set off on some follow my leader upwind and downwind legs. All was well until the final downwind where we had two capsizes straight away, and a further three spread out on the downwind leg. The coaches called things to a halt before it got too messy and the remaining boats headed back to shore.

When we managed to right our boat after 20 minutes, we were pleased to discover it would still float. No significant damage sustained, but we only had 1 sail left. The main had a large rip along the foot, and the spinnaker was almost ripped in half after falling out of the bag in the water and getting stuck around the mast and shrouds. We quickly dropped the main and stuffed the kite into the bags to get the boat back under control and set off to shore, realising on the way back that The Solent had taken another spinnaker pole, along with most of our lunch! Despite the wind blowing 30 knots, the tide was ripping out and with only a jib to get us back in, it took us an hour.

In these extreme conditions we managed to get 3 hours training in which, considering the forecast, looked very unlikely. We now all know that we can handle 25 knots!

All the sailors are grateful that our brilliant coaches, Jess, Tim and Annabel, went the extra mile to maximise our sailing time. We are all hugely appreciative of the efforts of Lymington Town SC.

The next event is the Itchenor Christmas regatta on the regatta 19/20 of December where it looks like it will be more windy weather so hopefully the training will have paid off!

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