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McConaghy Boats 2021 - LEADERBOARD

420 fleet back in training at Draycote Water with new sailors joining the fleet

by 420 Class 15 Apr 15:11 BST 8-9 April 2021

The 420 Class are unlocked! It was great to finally be able to get the class training up and running with two one-day sessions at Draycote on 8th & 9th April.

Class Coach Jess Lavery said "I think I was just as excited as some of the sailors to be able to get back out on the water. We had a great turn out for our first time back, with some sailors sailing the 420 for the first time ever, all the way through to the Youth Squad. With 4 coaches on hand to support the sailors we split off into smaller groups to cater to varying abilities and sailors goals to fall in with our theme of "We are back - where are we at?"

On Thursday we had a good 12-15knts which meant some sailors had to remember their capsize drill earlier than planned, but after some longer "ups and downs" of Draycote Water we tested the sailors out with some offset triangles to get some reach hoist practice in and see what could be remembered from at least 3 months ago! It was then in for lunch before heading back out for some more boat handling in the afternoon with everyone together in one big group around the famous "Arrow Head" course which involves lots of hoists and drops (no chance of the sailor complaining they were cold!) Considering the length of time off the water we were impressed with how the sailors handled it as we threw them in at the deep end - although we realised the sailors might not have been used to being around lots of boats again with some near misses and some not so near misses.

Day 2 we were met with some tired sailors after a second day of early starts due to no overnight stays relieved to see it was going to be a light wind day. A chance to practice the roll tacking and gybing before heading onto a race course focussing on some decision making. After lunch we planned a mini race series but as we headed back out the wind dropped and we had a mill pond of no wind. A quick pumping race and spinnaker pole paddling race while we waited to see if the wind would fill in kept the sailors entertained. Next on my list was a swimming race but deciding it was a bit cold for that and no sign of the wind filling in we headed for shore to call it a day.

A big thanks to Draycote Sailing Club for having us and to the other coaches Tim Rush, Neil Marsden and Tom Collyer."

Sam Grayton reflected on the training:

"Last week at Draycote was my first formal coaching in the 420, and it was great to be out and see how much there is to learn - as Jess showed in the videos with my strops being wrong every time! I have been in the Topper class, and was originally planning to move to 29er, but a number of people - including Jess and Tim R - persuaded me to give the 420 a go . After last week, I am hoping to attend more of the open training sessions, a couple of the upcoming races and hopefully youth nationals before fully transitioning for next year. It was a great couple of days at Draycote and Raife (my crew) and I look forward to getting to know everyone."

Jibriel Haqeeq reflected on his first time in a 420:

"I'm a 15-year-old topper sailor, currently looking at transitioning to a double hander. I have teamed up with a slightly older helm. We're both brand new to the 420.

I spent most of the lockdown thinking about which boat I should transition into, so it came as huge relief to finally get the chance to get out on the water. As I've never sailed a 420, I was a bit nervous, but joining the coaches, and some of the sailors, on the online dinghy show really helped me prepare.

The open training at Draycote Water was an incredible experience for me. Though we had to comply with the COVID restrictions, coaches, other sailors and parents were so helpful and made us feel welcome and supported. I liked the fact that many sailors told me about their first 420 event and how they have progressed. There is no way you can learn all aspects of 420 rigging and boat handling in one weekend, but with the support of coaches, I think we learned the basics.

The weekend of rigging instructions, land drills, training on the water and racing was thrilling, fun and intense. Preparation, by watching the online videos and reading instructions, really helps.

A Standout moment for me was experience taking part in a race as it's something I have been thinking about for so long. The 420 is a technical boat but really thrilling once you get moving.

I did learn so much during open coaching weekend. The 420 community is friendly, supporting and fun. Once racing on the water, it's competitive and that's the way I like it. Can't wait for my next opportunity. "

This weekend 18/19 April we head down to Rockley Point at Poole for some more class training. The following weekend the fleet is back racing at Portland for the first of 3 qualifiers for the 2021 Worlds and Europeans - These are exceptional times, but it is great to be back!

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