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GBR at the 420 World Championship 2021 at Yacht Club Sanremo, Italy

by GBR 420 Association 24 Jul 18:00 BST 4-10 July 2021

The British 420 fleet sent 17 boats to the recent World Championships in San Remo, Italy.

Covid-19 has disrupted our lives substantially since March 2020 and the list of missed opportunities for our young sailors has been substantial. For the 420 class this has led to sailors being "aged out" of the Class without being able to attend events they have worked hard towards. It has meant others have had less time on the water to develop, and internationally we have been at a disadvantaged to countries where youth sport has been better protected from restrictions than it has been in the UK.

In a normal year summer teams would be selected via a series held in March culminating in the Youth Nationals over Easter. But with no sailing allowed until April, overnight stays prohibited until May and the Youth Nationals scheduled for August 2021 this was no ordinary year! A selection series was held over 5 weekends from late April to late May at Weymouth, Warsash and Brixham and from this teams were selected at the end of May.

June was spent understanding various Covid restrictions across Europe, Brexit implications of towing someone else's boat on a double stacker (you can), driving through France with an unvaccinated minor in the country (you can provided you make a Sworn declaration and are not a British/French dual national), vaccination requirements to enter France (you need to be double jabbed if over 18, so 18 year old sailors could only fly and not be car passengers) organising antigen tests, finding insurance policies that will work. All are possible! Further curve balls were thrown - such as Italy introducing a mandatory quarantine for arrivals from Italy, which the Italian Olympic Committee exempted UK sailors from by the event being officially recognised by them.

So the team got itself to San Remo and were joined by Class coach Jess Lavery and RYA performance coaches Jonny McGovern and Neil Marsden. They had no trouble travelling as they were working. (I hope you are keeping up here)...

Nine of our sailors were in a 90 strong Men's/Mixed fleet and after two days qualifying the combinations of Jamie Cooke / Will Martin and Ollie Meadowcroft / Oscar Cawthorne made it into the gold fleet for finals after a tricky qualification series. Ollie / Oscar included a 2nd place in one of the qualification series races which were dominated by strong teams from USA and Spain. In the final series Ollie / Oscar faded but Jamie / Will fared much better to finish with two top ten results and as the top GBR boat in 19th overall.

In the Men's Mixed Silver Fleet, the final series saw impressive performances with a race win for Callum Davidson-Guild and Syzmon Matyjaszczuk and two second places for Henry Heathcote / Hector Bennett. This was enough for Henry and Hector to get the bronze medal.

In the Ladies fleet of 53 boats we had 6 boats entered. Lizzie Beardsall / Emmy Walker also finished 19th, ahead of the fast improving Julia Staite / Bee Harris in 20th and Ella Lance / Matty Evans in 22nd who both had stellar final days but could not recover the advantage that Lizzie / Emmy and built up earlier in the series.

In the U17 fleet of 67 boats we had just 2 boats, reflecting in particular the recent challenges in sailor development in the UK due to lockdown. Harry George and Arlo Braund emerged as our top sailors in 42nd place.

It was a substantial exercise just to organise the selection series. Travel logistics were complex and the delight of getting there was immense. And on arrival to be stuck at the end of the dinghy park and the last to launch every day was difficult to stomach. Note the USA launched first every day and won 3 of the 4 fleets. Oh what could have been...

The standard of competition as ever was very high and it was pleasing to see the UK sailors make progress every day of the competition. The final day of racing was our highlight, with fresher breezes giving our sailors the opportunity to excel. We find light wind sailing in the Med difficult and it is something we have to improve on. We also struggled on bigger start lines with more boats than we are used to. Starting was critical. The solution is to do more of it!

Next up the UK fleet has 3 days of training and then a 2 day coached racing event at Pwllheli from 19-23 July. We then have the RYA Youth Nationals in Plymouth in August from 9-13 August with 43 boats already entered. Winners of this event will get the prize of selection for the Youth Worlds in Oman in December. During the Late Summer / Autumn we will have a series of Grand Prix events at West Mersea, Itchenor and Chew Valley and Transitional Activity / Class Training events at the Tera Nationals at Filey, and other weekends at Poole, Hamble, Draycote, and Itchenor. We are working at co-ordinating further training activity with the RYA, RYA Scotland and RYA Cymru.

See our calendar of events here...

420 World Championships Team 2021

Mixed/Mens Team

  • Jamie Cook / Will Martin, Cardiff Bay YC
  • Calum Davidson-Guild / Syzmon Matyjaszczuk / Trearddur Bay SC / Welsh Harp SC
  • Ollie Meadowcroft / Oscar Cawthorne; Upper Thames SC / Shustoke SC
  • Kuba Staite / Joey Taylor; Hayling Island SC / Blackwater SC
  • Alice Davis / Oliver Rayner; Great Moors SC / Yorkshire Dales SC
  • Henry Heathcote / Hector Bennett; Royal Lymington YC
  • Ollie Hale / Tom Clayton; Poole YC
  • Mathias Potter / Ellie Thomas; Warsash SC / Cardiff Bay YC
  • Emily Smith / James George; Poole YC / Lymington Town SC

Ladies Team

  • Julia Staite & Bee Harris; Hayling Island SC / Bristol Corinthian YC
  • Megan Farrer & Ellie Rush; Emsworth SC / Notts County SC
  • Lizzie Beardsall & Emmy Walker; Warsash SC
  • Kt Byne & Lia Horne; Draycote Water SC
  • Ella Lance & Matty Evans; Hayling Island SC / Blackwater SC
  • Scarlett Cawthorne & Cally Terkelson; Shustoke SC / Stone SC

U17 Team

  • Harry George & Arlo Braund; Lymington Town SC & Oxford SC
  • Amber Hale & Gabrielle Burlton; Poole YC & Royal Southern YC

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