The weather in recent weeks has been variable and has curtailed a number of 420 training weekends around the country but three Irish boats travelled to the UK Spring Championships on the 10th and 11th March at Royal Torbay Yacht Club in the hope of some good sailing. Torbay on the south coast of England brands itself as the 'English Riviera' but the Irish boats arrived to sail in testing conditions. On the Saturday after an initial delay to the sailing whilst the race officer waited for the wind to swing round and the visibility to improve, racing kicked off in 20+ knots and rolling waves.
Link to 420 video from Torbay showing the testing conditions here
There were numerous capsizes, some before the start of race one and a number of DNS/DNC’s appearing across the fleet as sailors struggled with the occasional gust of up to 32 knots recorded on the committee boat. Sunday morning was a lot more promising, the wind had dropped slightly to around 15+ knots and swung round to the east. The bad news was there were now some very larger rollers heading into Torbay. For most sailors it was slightly easier, fewer gusts, and a more consistent wind. Of the top 10 boats, 3 were all girl boats and only 2 were all boys. The other 5 boats all being mixed crews of which 4 of the boats had girls helming, interesting statistics for the sailing community in general. Irish boats finished as follows, 10th overall and 3rd girls were Gemma Mc Dowell and Emma Gallagher of Malahide Yacht Club, 15th Michael O’Suilleabhain and Michael Carroll of Kinsale Yacht Club, and 24th Nicola and Fiona Ferguson of the National Yacht Club.
The second spring event scheduled in the UK was to be the Inland Championships at Rutland Sailing Club on the 17th and 18th March, however the Beast from the East II put paid to this event with strong winds and freezing temperatures. The Irish boats made it back across the Irish Sea before the worst of the weather arrived and in good time for the upcoming 420 Class Open training weekend to be held on the 1st and 2nd April at the National Yacht Club.
The training weekend provides an important warm up to the Volvo Irish Sailing Youth Pathway National Championships 2018 being jointly hosted by the National and Royal St. George Yacht Clubs.