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420 Class Training at Poole Yacht Club

by Harry George 26 Aug 16:50 BST 22-23 August 2021

The latest 420 class training took place at Poole Yacht Club on the 22nd and 23rd of August. Whilst the forecast was for rain, there was no loss in enthusiasm for the event with twelve boats signing up to hone skills for a busy September.

Thanks to Tom Clayton, Oli and Amber Hale and Emily Smith, Poole YC provided a warm welcome to six new boats joining the fleet from Fevas, Toppers and Optimists and yes, whilst some had attended the Youth Nationals, this was their first opportunity to really learn the craft of the 420.

Post briefing the sun was beginning to shine through so we were all set for a good day on the water. I was raring to go and stack up against other boats with my new partner Ralph Cawthorne who recently swapped from helm to crew was eager to get his first session under his belt at the front.

We set out for the bay with twelve boats. The bay provided bigger waves making for champagne sailing all day. It was so good Jess our coach kept us out for as long as possible maximising our time on the water. From warm up to windward leewards to drill sessions for lane holding and first beat exercises, the day was relentless.

However, the new sailors to the fleet were bedding in well learning how to keep the boat flat, round the windward mark, hoist and gybe as were Ralph and I. We moved to 3 minute sequences with short beats to develop starting skills and identification of gain features on the left and right side of the course which was a good exercise for the final session of the day - race time...

We were set on an inner loop course. The start had a good left bias so Ralph and I started left with Freya Sewell and Arlo Braund just below us. The majority of the fleet being centre or committee end. Most tacked off and went out right. The beat proved to be the key gain feature and saw Ralph and I reach the windward mark first. With Freya and Arlo not too far behind in second putting a gybe straight in to take the opposite side of the downwind to see if a split would gain the win.

The new pairing of Rosie and Susie Shehan were in third showing how the transition from Fevas has been straight forward and flat fast sailing always pays.

Ellie Creighton and Bea Greenfield were in fourth position making for a close battle between them especially as Bea and Ellie have hoists and gybes nailed on!

The final reach saw the fleet close up with places 2,3 and 4 all crossing battling for their positions behind Ralph and I. With the evening drawing in, we sailed back to the club tired to say the least but in very good spirits thanks to a wicked day on the water.

Sunday started with sunshine and 10 knots or so. We stayed in the harbour on Sunday focusing on short sharp races to drive start and manoeuvre practice. The wins were taken by various boats Including Oli Hale and Tom Clayton showing local knowledge pays but as the short courses gave lots of opportunities for mistakes to happen so gave everyone a good chance.

One of the more consistent of the newcomers was Jibriel Bostan and Cian Epstein sailing for the first time together who seemed to maintain a third position in most races throughout the day. Once again the champagne sailing seemed to be over far too quickly and with parents eager to get home for Sunday supper.

We're now looking forward to the Tiger Trophy and the upcoming Nationals and new format Grand Prix at Dabchicks and Itchenor which Kick off in September.

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