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420 Welsh Championship at the Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy

by Sabine Potter 28 Sep 14:10 BST 23-24 September 2023
420 Welsh Championship 2023 at Plas Heli © 420 class

The 420 Welsh Championship took place at Plas Heli (Pwllheli Sailing Club) with a range of different junior and youth boats taking part. There were 12 420 entries, and the event was made up of five races on the Saturday and no races on the Sunday.

Racing was cancelled early on Sunday as the forecast suggested a windy day with gusts reaching 46 knots. Each race was around 30 minutes long, with pressure on the race committee to achieve five races.

The day started with the orange flag going up around midday and all the sailors prepped and ready to race. The wind slowly increased throughout the day with a more sudden increase at 4 o'clock. The waves were also increasing throughout the day with the wind. allowing some good opportunities for lots of pumping on the downwinds. Race 1 started in around 8kts, and the race committee had decided to put the oscar flag up which we all thought was a bit strange (although it was great for the big southerly waves we were starting to get). Right from the start the left hand side looked strong, George and Olivia took the win followed closely by Arwen and Matthew and Ellie and Bea.

The wind dropped off for the start of race two,, but the wind was still oscillating, meaning that it was important to stick to the side as it was very likely that the wind would shift back to your side. The waves were already starting to get bigger meaning on the downwinds it was easy to catch the waves, making the downwind quick. The top three around the windward mark came from both sides of the course. With Patrick and Thomas rounding the windward in first coming from the left and Sabine and Merle rounding in second coming from the right. This stayed the same for the majority of the race however Arwen and Matthew had a great speed on the downwinds and reaches, which led to them finishing second in the end. Meaning the race ended with a first for Patrick and Thomas, a second for Arwen and Matthew and a third for Sabine and Merle.

In the third race the right side of the course was starting to pay more as Ellie and Bea rounded the windward mark in first with a gap between them and the next group of boats. They had come from the right handside of the course, after starting committee end and tacking off fairly quickly. Ellie and Bea managed to hold their lead throughout the reach and downwind. However on the second upwind the positions changed as the top three boats rounded the right leeward mark and went off to the left. Whereas Merle and Sabine rounded the left leeward mark and went out to the right, resulting in Merle and Sabine coming back to the windward mark in first and George and Olivia rounding in second. These two boats battled all the way to the last mark where George and Olivia managed to get on the inside and take the win.

By the fourth race the wind had picked up some more and the waves started getting bigger, meaning the iconic Pwllheli southerly was in full swing. As well as this, the 420s showed all the other classes (especially the 29ers) how to sail in some breeze as the other classes were dropping like flies by this point. Race four started with another clean start and the pressure was on to get over the waves and keep the speed up. The wind had shifted a bit meaning the top reach was very tough as it was so tight. Pwllheli really shined on the down winds as it delivered some glorious waves to surf. The whole fleet battled it out throughout the whole race, providing some very close racing. Once again George and Olivia showed the rest what true sibling power was as they got their third bullet of the day. Following closely were locals Arwen and Matthew. In third place were Olly and Holly who showed everyone their quick speed.

The last race finally happened after having to wait 15 minutes for a Feva to finish racing. By this time the wind and waves had really picked up, so for many it was time to start changing rakes. Many boats from the other classes had gone in, however the 420 class showed everyone, once again, their ability to carry on fighting right till the end. Sadly both the Epstein boats had to come in due to breakages. We had yet another clean start. George and Olivia had an amazing start on the port end and showed their true speed as they slowly pulled away from the fleet and rounded the top mark in first. Arwen and Matthew followed closely, eager for that 1st place. The battles continued downwind as everyone was working hard on pumping down the waves. The Creasy duo stayed ahead until the last top mark where they capsized. Luckily they were able to bring the boat back upright quickly and only lost one place. Ellie and Bea and Merle and Sabine battled it out on the last downwind, however Ellie and Bea got the lead with some class downwind speed. These two boats were followed closely by Chris and Ollie who had some amazing upwind speed, especially as the wind grew.

The event ended with Oliva and George taking the win with three bullets. In second came Arwen and Matthew with Arwen showing everyone her knowledge at her home club. In third place came Merle and Sabine who were on equal points with Ellie and Bea but with count back Sabine and Merle took the lead.

We really enjoyed sailing in gorgeous Pwllheli and would like to thank RYA Cymru/Wales and all the volunteers for organising such a great event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st54849George CreasyOlivia CreasyWest Kirby SC1‑41125
2nd56954Arwen FflurMatthew RaynerPwllheli SC / Yorkshire Dale SC22‑4217
3rd56342Sabine PotterMerle NieuwlandWarsash SC / Cardiff Bay YC432‑5413
4th57286Ellie CreightonBea GreenfieldCardiff Bay YC / Oxford SC3‑534313
5th54463Patrick BromilowThomas KelsallWest Kirby SC517(RET)720
6th54481Holly WrightOlivia NixonWest Kirby SC‑6653620
7th54089Chris HampshireOllie LumbRipon SC‑119107531
8th55083Laragh EpsteinCharlie HowardCardiff Bay YC / Burghfield SC87610(DNC)31
9th54983Fin WaterhouseJames AlexanderBudworth SC9‑11861033
10th56091India LanceCian EpsteinHayling Island SC / Cardiff Bay YC78128(DNC)35
11th5448Ella MartinGeorge SelfCardiff Bay YC‑101099937
12th4480Rosanna JoyceSian BairdBudworth SC‑12121111842

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