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With the 420 Junior European Team just back from Sesimbra in Portugal it is straight into the Connaught Regional Championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club to be followed shortly thereafter by the 420 Nationals at Howth Yacht Club.

The Junior Europeans event provided its usual red-hot level of competition across all the fleets. The Irish team had variable success with a number of top ten finishes sprinkled throughout the results. The International 420 Association working alongside Clube Naval de Sesimbra hosted a memorable event in what has to be one of the most picturesque event locations on the 420 International circuit. The event was based on the beach in the village centre of Sesimbra with launches at noon each day to catch the building breeze in the afternoon which provided winds ranging from light to moderate 15-20knts breezes.

The upcoming 420 Connaught Championships will be held as part of the Double Ree regatta on the 21st and 22nd July which is an inaugural double-handed Youth Regatta. This exciting new event will draw double- handed youth sailing classes together for an extravaganza of spinnaker flying racing with the 420s adding a high-performance dimension to the event.

420 Nationals at Howth

The 420 Nationals are being hosted by Howth Yacht this year, the event will take place over the bank holiday weekend from the 4th to the 6th August. The Nationals this year will also feature pre-event training over a number of days with Graeme Grant as the lead coach. The Howth venue has in the past attracted visitors from the UK over to compete and whilst the event does overlap with the 420 Worlds in Newport, Rhode Island it is likely some visitors will make it across.

The overlapping of the Irish 420 Nationals with the Worlds means that Ireland will be represented by Nicola and Fiona Ferguson who won the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway National Championships earlier in the year.


Published in 420
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With the Schull training week and the Leinster Regional Championships already completed earlier in the year, the 420 Class Association are set for a busy summer of events starting with the 2018 Junior European Championships in Sesimbra, Portugal in early July.

Ireland will also be represented at the 420 Worlds in Newport Rhode Island later in the summer while back in Irish waters there will be the Connaught Championships on the 21st and 22nd July in Lough Ree Yacht Club followed by the National Championships at Howth Yacht Club on the 4th, 5th and 6th August, and the Ulsters on the 22nd and 23rd of September at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club to kick start the Autumn and Winter schedule.

The 420 is an Irish Sailing Pathway boat and for any sailors who would like to try sailing the boat, the Association have two boats for charter here.

The Association also run open days where sailors can use one of the association boats under the guidance of an experienced 420 sailor in order to get an understanding of how these high-performance boats handle.

If you would like the opportunity of trying out one of the boats please contact [email protected]

Published in 420
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The 2018 420 Leinster Championships were hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club over the weekend in champagne sailing conditions. However Saturday morning looked ominous with a thick fog hanging over the harbour and the Stena Carrier moored at the Carlisle Pier barely visible from the boat deck of The George. The mist started to clear as PRO Barry O’Neil set out the plan for the weekend and soon after the fleet launched on the signal of the tea trolley being wheeled across the boat deck to deliver supplies to the committee boat.

420 dnghy racing420 Leinster Championships dnghy racing on Dublin Bay

After a short delay to the start of race 1 whilst the fleet waited for the breeze to fill in, the race committee got three races off in quick succession to leave Micheal O'Suilleabhain and Michael Carroll of Kinsale Yacht Club leading the fleet at the end of day one. Sunday brought a day of unbroken sunshine and a perfect set of results for the Ferguson sisters who won all three races on the day to leapfrog to the top of the leader board.

The final results were as follows:

Gold Fleet
1st Nicola and Fiona Ferguson – National Yacht Club
2nd Micheal O'Suilleabhain and Michael Carroll – Kinsale Yacht Club
3rd Morgan Lyttle and Patrick Whyte – Royal St. George Yacht Club

Silver Fleet
1st Liam and Aidan Donnelly – Howth Yacht Club
2nd Emma Williams and Emily Arrowsmith – Royal St. George Yacht Club
3rd Jack Mc Dowell and Harry Thompson – Malahide Yacht Club/Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club

Published in 420
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The Irish 420  team has been announced for the 2018 Junior European Championships.

Easter's Volvo Irish Sailing Youth Pathway National Championships was the qualification event for the selection of an Irish 420 team to travel to the 2018 Junior European Championship in Sesimbra, Portugal this July.

The Pathway National Championships produced a wide range of testing conditions for the sailors with the top six crews qualifying to attend the Junior European Championships and a warm up regatta at the same venue.

The team will have representatives from six clubs across the country and comprises the following crews:

Nicola and Fiona Ferguson – National Yacht Club
Gemma Mc Dowell and Emma Gallagher – Malahide Yacht Club
Grace O’Beirne and Kathy Kelly – Royal St. George Yacht Club
Micheal O’Suilleabhain and Michael Carroll – Kinsale Yacht Club
Morgan Lyttle and Patrick Whyte – Royal St. George Yacht Club/Lough Ree Yacht Club
Daniel Thompson and Dan Quaid – Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club

Published in 420
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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.

Published in 420

There’ll be three race courses, five classes, three evening talks, and 32 counties represented at next month's Volvo Irish Sailing Youth Pathway National Championships taking place 5th – 8th April 2018 in Dun Laoghaire, jointly hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club.

As well as great racing on the water, and good fun at the club ashore. The evening talks as well as the races are open to all young sailors who sail in the five Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Classes (Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420, Topper and Optimist). This is Ireland’s largest Youth regatta and Irish Sailing’s primary talent spotting event of the year for the Academy and Junior classes.

Importantly it’s also one of the few chances in the year when family and friends who are sail in different classes can all sail together at one regatta venue, competing on different courses but on the same waters, giving a brilliant opportunity for shared experiences, learning and fun.

Up to six places on the Irish Sailing Laser 4.7 Squad: Up to six sailors will be chosen at the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Nationals to join the Irish Sailing Laser 4.7 Squad. The squad will provide training to help young sailors transition in the Laser 4.7 class. It will also aim to prepare and support the squad for the Laser 4.7 World Championship to be held in Gdynia, Poland in July. The squad coach and programme will be announced following the event. Entry to the Laser 4.7 Worlds is independent of Irish Sailing squad selection through the International Laser Class Association.

The four days of racing in Dublin Bay will decide the six places on the 420 European team who will travel to Sisimbra, Portugal in July to compete in the 420 Junior (U18) European Championships. 

Irish Sailing Laser Radial & 420 Academy: The Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Nationals is an indicator event (amongst other factors including domestic and international events) for the Irish Sailing Youth Academy. The Academy undergoes a review biannually following the Youth Pathway Nationals and in the autumn each year.

IODAI Irish Optimist Trials: The Optimist trials fleet will take to the water to compete for coveted team spots at the 2018 international regattas. Places for the World Championships in Cyprus, the European Championships in the Netherlands, and the international development team events in both Poland and France are all up for grabs.

Topper class: The Topper World Championships take place in China this year with a strong Irish team travelling to the regatta this year. The Pathway Nationals will provide a good indicator of form as the sailors test themselves against the best in the country as they head into the spring period of their season.

A lineup of evening speakers – open to all: At 5.30pm each evening there will be a talk and Q&A session at the nominated club with speakers who have a deep knowledge of racing. The talks are open to all sailors and parents.

• Thursday 5th – Saturday 7th April, Ross Killian & Sean Evans. Each evening Ross and Sean, the Irish Sailing Performance Coaches will give video analysis and coaching tips from the day’s racing
• Friday 6th April, James O’Callaghan Irish Sailing High Performance Director will talk through the Olympic and Performance Pathway
• Saturday 7th April, Jessie Barr, Sport psychologist currently working at the Sport Ireland Institute. Jessie is a four-time 400m relay Olympian. She has worked with a number of the Laser and 420 Academy sailors.

Published in ISA

For many of the 420 sailors travelling to Schull in West Cork at the start of the school half term the week ahead surely had an ominous look as they passed through heavy snow showers on the M8 at Cashel. But Schull weather is changeable at the best of times and throughout the week the sailors had sun one minute, sleet the next and everything in between with winds ranging from 0 to 30+ knots.

420 classThe 420 crews attend a briefing at the Fastnet Marine Centre in Schull

Schull week this year combined a four day training camp with the Munster Regional Championships. The purpose built Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre provided the perfect venue for the 420 training camp with classroom facilities accommodating theory sessions, a modified 420 (with wheels!) for drills on land and the sheltered sailing waters immediately beside the centre. Dave Harte hosted the 420 sailors at the centre for the week and worked with the experienced coaching team of Graeme Grant, Camden Tougas and Ross Killian.

Schull week 2018 race startA 420 Schull Week race start for the 420s

Day one of the Munster Championships on Friday was a victim of the strong winds but the sailors retired for the day and prepared for their Class Association dinner held that evening at the Schull Harbour Hotel. Parents were also hosted by the Class Association for a Wine and canapés evening and a discussion on the upcoming 420 events in Ireland and abroad, plus an introduction from Ross Killian on the Irish Sailing Pathway and the role of the 420 boat in the pathway.

Day two of the Munster Championships provided a day of total contrast. Dawn unveiled a mirror finish of the bay but the wind forecast provided some hope of sailing. The boats launched on schedule and after a short postponement PRO Dave Harte got race one under way only to abandon the race close to the finish as the wind melted away. A game of hide and seek for wind followed and as hope of doing any racing was fading a light breeze settled in and four races were run in order to allow the Championships to be completed with a discard. This year the Munster Championship trophy will head north to Malahide Yacht Club with Gemma Mc Dowell and Emma Gallagher. The results of the Gold and Silver fleets are as follows:

Gold Fleet

1st Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher, Malahide Yacht Club

2nd Grace O’Beirne and Kathy Kelly, Royal St. George Yacht Club

3rd Michael O’Suilleabhain and Michael Carroll, Kinsale Yacht Club

IMG 0158The 420 Munster Championships silver fleet winners

Silver Fleet

1st Noah Mc Carthy and Martin Fleming, FMOEC

2nd Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell, Lough Ree Yacht Club

3rd Liam Donnelly and Aidan Donnelly, Howth Yacht Club

A trophy was also awarded for the training week to the crew that showed the most improvement during the week. This award was open to all 22 boats taking part during the weeks sailing and it is judged by the coaching team. The 2018 trophy was awarded to Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell of Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Published in 420
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While 420 training continues at various venues around the country through the winter, the first 420 sailing event of 2018 takes place from Monday the 12th to Thursday the 15th Feb at the Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre in Schull and online entry is now open through the 420 Class Association website here. This training week has been a regular event in the 420 season for many years and it is organised to run in parallel to the Optimist training in nearby Baltimore.

Following immediately on from the Schull training camp will be the Munster regional championships on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th February, also hosted by the Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre. This is the first competitive event of the 420 season, a season that will stretch through to the end of September when the Ulster Championships will be held as part of the RYANI Youth Championships.

The spring will see 420 crews racing in a number of Irish and overseas events to seek qualification for various International Championships during the summer. First up after the Junior and Leaving cert exams are the Junior Europeans which move to Sesimbra in Portugal this year and later in the summer the 420 Wolds return north of the equator to be held in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2017 the 420 class was represented by Geoff Power and James McCann at the 2017 ISAF Youth Worlds in China and next year the event will be held during the summer at Corpus Christi Yacht Club in Texas.

Published in 420
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Spain reigned supreme as the 2017 420 World Championships drew to a close today, 3 January 2018, in Fremantle, Australia, having secured gold, silver and bronze in the 420 Open Fleet and gold in the U17 fleet. There was no Irish representation at the event.

The Francis Mouvet Trophy for the top performing nation was presented to Spain for their remarkable domination at the 2017 420 World Championship.

420 Open - Final Top 10
1. Enrique Lujan/Pablo Lujan, Esp, 41 points
2. Albert Torres/Francisco Mulet, Esp, 48
3. Carlos Balaguer/Antoni Massanet, Esp, 50
4. Enzo Balanger/Gaultier Tallieu, Fra, 61
5. Thomas Andre/Justin Baradat, Fra, 62
6. Andrea Spagnolli/Kevin Rio, Ita, 63
7. Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando, Ita, 64
8. Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson, Aus, 68
9. Eduard Ferrer/Carlos De Maqua, Esp, 70
10. Elias Aretz/Pablo García, Esp, 74

420 Ladies - Final Top 10
1. Nia Jerwood/Monique De Vries, Aus, 25
2. Laura Harding/Eleanor Grimshaw, Aus, 25
3. Arianna Passamonti/Giulia Fava, Ita, 69
4. Sophie Mcintosh/Orla Mulholland-Patterson, Aus, 71
5. Isabel Davies/Gemma Keers, Gbr, 73
6. Sophie Jackson/Laura Thomson, Aus, 78
7. María Caba/Pilar Caba, Esp, 87
8. Solene Mariani/Maude Schmid, Sui, 93
9. Clara Olive/Solenza Mariani, Fra, 95
10. Olívia Belda/Elisa Von Fritsch, Bra, 100

420 U17 - Final Top 10
1. Martín Wizner/Pedro Ameneiro, Esp, 47
2. Tommaso Cilli/Bruno Mantero, Ita, 50
3. Demetrio Sposato/Gabriele Centrone, Ita, 51
4. Pol Marsans/Alex Marsans, Esp, 60
5. Jack Lewis/Charlie Bacon, Gbr, 65
6. Florian Buscher/Maximilian Buscher, Ger, 69
7. Tommaso Salvetta/Giovanni Sandrini, Ita, 69
8. Ariadni-Paraskevi Spanaki/Myrto Papadopoulou, Gre, 83
9. Rhys Lewis/Drew Wright, Gbr, 105
10. Konstantinos Vardalis/Panagiotis Giorgos Matsades, Gre, 112

Published in 420
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Today was the first day of competition for 374 of the world's best youth sailors, from 60 nations, racing across nine classes on Chinese waters at the World Youth Sailing Championshps in which Ireland is contesting three classes and hoping to replicate or better its 2014 silver and 2016 bronze medals. More team details here.

Grey skies and a variable 6–12 knot easterly breeze were present across the four racing areas and sailors were looking to get off to a steady start. See video below.

Best of the Irish after two races – with a long way to go in this competition – is Rush Sailing Club's Conor Quinn in the boys Laser radial class who scored an 11th in the second race of the day to be in the top 40% of his fleet, now lying 21st overall out of 51 starters. 

420 sanyaA boys 420 start in Sanya

In the boys 420 class, Geoff Power and James McCann are 22 from 26 and will be hoping for better in the following races this week. In June, the Dunmore East pair scored an impressive seventh overall at Kiel Week in Germany. 

Belfast Lough's Sally Bell, the RYA NI youth sailor of the year, is lying 26th from 40. 

Click this link for the official results sheet here.


USA's Charlotte Rose put out a strong signal of intent by dominating the day in the Girl's Laser Radial.
Racing in the 40-boat fleet, Rose won both races, sending out a message to the defending champion Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) and 2017 Youth Radial World Champion, Hannah Anderssohn (GER).

Rose did more than this, she controlled the fleet sealing two convincing victories. The American finished third to Moreira Fraschini and Anderssohn at the 2017 Youth Radial World Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands in August and although she was anxious about the scale of the event, she remains calmly focused and competitive.

"The Youth Worlds is the top sailors in every country from around the world so that gets me a little nervous,” commented Rose. "These sailors qualified to be here and deserve to be here as much as I am. Just knowing that puts a little of pressure on.

"But I'm also not scared of them. They're still a threat to me but I deserve to win as much as they do. As long as I work harder and smarter than them, I can beat them.”

Moreira Fraschini, a Rio 2016 Olympian and defending champion, kept in sight of Rose and posted a 3-2 to sit within three points. Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) and Luciana Cardozo (ARG) are tied on 15 points in third.

Germany's Anderssohn received a scoring penalty in the opening race and followed with a 12th. She is currently 30th overall but the discard comes into after the third race so she will have opportunities to spring up the leaderboard.

Italy's Guido Gallinaro holds the early lead in the 51-boat Boy's Laser Radial fleet after a second and a seventh from two races.

New Zealand's Josh Armit won the opening race and after racing said, "It's a tough competition and great to be sailing against all these great guys. The second race I didn't have that great of a start and struggled from there to work back through the pack.”

Armit finished 12th in the second race and occupies fifth overall. Yoshihiro Suzuki (JPN) also took a race win and is in fourth.

Norway's Mathias Berthet and Alexander Franks-Penty stole the show in the 30-boat Boy's 29er fleet.

They won two races and finished third in the other and were full of smiles ashore after racing, "We were very nervous at the start because we didn't have a good feeling in the practice day. I think we managed this pretty well today,” explained a modest Franks-Penty.

"We hit the good shifts and that was pretty important. Our starts were very clean and good.

"All in all, it's been a perfect day for us, it couldn't have gone any better.”

Sweden's Kasper Nordenram and Linus Berglund and France's Théo Revil and Gautier Guevel follow in second and third.

Margherita Porro and Sofia Leoni (ITA) were more impressive in the 20-boat Girl's 29er fleet, winning every single race. Zoya Novikova and Diana Sabirova (RUS) followed behind in the first two races but dropped to 12th in the final race of the day. They discard the 12th and are two points off the Italians.

Maiwenn Jacquin and Enora Percheron (FRA) complete the podium but it is still the early stage of the regatta.

There was plenty for the Chinese fans to cheer about in the Boy's and Girl's RS:X with Chinese sailors firmly placed within the leading bunch after three races.

Ting Yu (CHN) leads defending champion Emma Wilson (GBR) by one point in the Girl's RS:X fleet following two race wins and a third. Giorgia Speciale (ITA) and Yarden Isaak (ISR) are in contention in third and fourth.

Hao Chen (CHN) is one point off leading Israeli sailor Yoav Cohen following three races in the Boy's RS:X. Alongside a third, Cohen picked up two race wins. Chen took the final race win of the day.

Fernando Gonzalez de la Madrid Trueba (ESP) occupies the final podium position.

In the Boy's 420, Ido Bil and Noam Homri (ISR) lead the pack after a race win and a second. Australia's Otto Henry and Rome Featherstone follow in second and USA's Thomas Rice and Trevor Bornarth are third. In the Girl's division, Israel's Linoy Korn and Yael Steigman lead Carmen Cowles and Emma Cowles by two points.

Belgium's Lucas Claeyssens and Anne Vandenberghe (BEL) were in firm control in the Nacra 15 winning two races and picking up a second in the other. The Youth Worlds is open to competitors under 19 which makes the young teams form even more impressive as Claeyssens is just 13-years-old.

Belgium holds the record for the youngest competitor at the Youth Worlds. At just 11-years-old, Henri Demesmaeker sailed at the 2012 edition in the multihull. He went on to make three further appearances and won bronze in 2016.

If Claeyssens and Vandenberghe continue their form, the young helm could become the youngest medallist at the event.

Racing is scheduled to resume at 11:00 local time on Tuesday 12 December.

Published in Youth Sailing
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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