420 Spring Championships 2017 by Ross Thompson

by Andrew Dowley

Sponsored sailors Alex Smallwood and Ross Thompson tell us about the 420 Spring Championships which were held at Hayling Island Sailing Club.

The spring champs was the second of 3 selector events to select the team to represent GBR at the international events over the summer. At the inlands 2 weeks previously we secured 3rd overall and 1st boys, putting us in a good position going into the 2nd event at HISC which took place last weekend.

We arrived at HISC early on Saturday morning to be welcomed by a steady 10-12 knots of breeze from the SW, a little less than we were hoping for but still a reasonable amount of wind. The first day of racing went according to plan, securing a 3,4,5 and 14 in the 4 races.

We went into day two 4th overall and 1st boys. Unfortunately on day 2 we did not do as well in the lighter 5-8 knots. The first race of the day was particularly interesting with two 45 degree wind shifts within 5 minutes either side of the start. In addition to this, a large gust came down the right hand side which we missed, meaning that we were in a poor 20th around the windward mark. Throughout that race we managed to climb up the fleet to eventually finish in 10th place. In the second race, we found ourselves in some difficulty near the pin end so decided to gybe out at 15 seconds to go. As a result of this we didn’t have the best of starts but luckily however we found ourselves in a nice lane heading out towards the right hand side of the course. Annoyingly, it was on that upwind leg that the sea breeze kicked in bringing the wind 60 degrees left allowing 20 boats to sail on the inside of us. We crossed the finish line in a disappointing 16th, but luckily for us 5 boats who were ahead of us were OCS giving us an 11th. After a promising start out of the pin end in the final race, we missed a large right shift halfway up the first beat making it very hard to catch up so we scored a 19th in that race, which was our discard.

In the series however we are still first boys/open boat by 22 points meaning we are still on track to qualify for the events in the summer. All is still to play for as we enter the final event of the series in a weeks’ time (the RYA Youth Nationals).


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