by Tim Grogan
Over the ANZAC weekend, nine intrepid International 420 teams from Victoria braved the elements on the edge of Bass Strait during an intense training camp hosted by Flinders Yacht Club.
Jack Purcell & Caroline Brown showing how it is done
The training weekend was arranged by the Victorian International 420 Class Association and held at the entrance to Westernport Bay.
After completing shore-based theory and safety briefings, the sailors from Black Rock Yacht Club, Mornington Yacht Club and Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron launched from the gently sloping and protected sandy beach in front of the club house. Their coaches Tom Klemens and Will Llewelyn, currently campaigning a 470 together, had both previously trained at Flinders in their 420 days. Their local knowledge and respect for the Flinders sailing conditions was much appreciated by the training group!
With a 25-30kt change blowing in from the southwest on Saturday morning, the sailors knew they were in for some great swells later in the weekend. They were very relieved when the wind settled and the sun came out on Sunday for perfect challenging conditions. Long upwind and downwind legs were set to help the sailors to adjust to the unusual wave pattern, followed by short course racing.
This area of Westernport was chosen in part because it provides the sailors with ocean conditions in advance of the 2014 International 420 Nationals and the 2015 Australian Youth Championships, which will both be hosted in December/January by Fremantle Sailing Club in WA.
The Victorian International 420 fleet has expanded rapidly, with over 40 boats currently active. Many junior sailors from the International Optimist and Minnow classes have transitioned into the 420 class during the last two years. At the recent Victorian 420 Championships 19 boats took part and 44 boats from around Australia, NZ and Hong Kong competed in the Nationals, both hosted by Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club.
James Hackett & Josh Copeland working hard - 420 Training in Big Conditions
A new 420 rig configuration being tested out - 420 Training in Big Conditions
Very nice downwind rides back to Flinders - 420 Training in Big Conditions
A confused sea gave the sailors plenty to think about - 420 Training in Big Conditions
Bearing away at the windward mark - 420 Training in Big Conditions
A sunny lunch, relaxing after a tough morning - 420 Training in Big Conditions
Coaches Tom Klemens & Will Llewelyn brief the crews - 420 Training in Big Conditions
Flinders YC, next to Bass Strait - 420 Training in Big Conditions
More information about the Victorian International 420 fleet is available at: www.facebook.com/vic420association.
A very special thanks from all the sailors to the members of Flinders Yacht Club for hosting this very memorable 420 training weekend.