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French 420s: Waste timber, lifejackets, Glad wrap and Dumpster diving

'Loading boats, Taylor's underneath - 420 Nationals - France'    Rob Burn
Rob Burn reports from the final day of the French 420 Nationals:

Waste timber, lifejackets, Glad wrap and Dumpster diving.....

Or how to build a roof rack to carry a 420 dinghy on a Fiat van when your transport turns to custard and your have 11 hours drive ahead of you.

Two races today for the Gold fleet, nice, sunny conditions and the promise of a very warm day, first race started with nearly 10 knots, a breeze shifting to the right and very sailable.

The usual P Flag start, a complete shambles and to the U Flag from the next one, Taylor and Taylor were squeezed out like a pip in front of me on the Committee Boat. Brittany and Emma were further down the line and cleared out while the Taylor's scooped a DFL ...starts with Dead, finishes with Last can fill in the middle but it is a traditional Kiwi sailing term the opti sailors learn fast.

The boys worked hard and made up 20 places to finish 24th, the girls 26th...ok considering the starts but a far cry from what they both are used to.

Race two saw a nice wind increase, the Oscar flag went up allowing the boats to 'pump' their sails on the downwind, suspending Rule 42 and those of us uber-keen parents and supporters thought ...'let's hope they have saved the best to last'.....

Yacht racing is about big highs and sometimes bigger lows, to see both teams have pretty average starts, in fact the Taylors recorded the second DFL, having to dip the whole fleet. 'Worst starts for years' said Taylor Burn, who has notched up countless big fleet starts.

None the less, hard work, never giving up and great down winds give both crews a more respectable finish, the Boys 16th, the girls, 18th.

Stenhouses and Britt loading van - 2014 420 Nationals - France -  Rob Burn  
The overall results saw Brittany and Emma finish 19th and collect the trophy for the first International Girls ...Nice trophy...!
Taylor and Taylor finished 31st. Definitely not what they are used to, too many penalties for both teams but really their first regatta together under pressure of Big Fleet racing. This is what the crews came for and the French certainly delivered.

The Rugby world saying of 'The French are hard to beat at home' was bang on. Our crews are pretty happy though, they have worked out what is needed, plenty of self analysis and improved communication. Both crews have great boat speed and the basics down pat ....just got to put it together consistently for the upcoming World Champs.

As usual, the last remaining in the Boat park, getting the 420 safely on the Stenhouse's van roof, we hope, 31 degrees C and takeaway pizzas for a late dinner....apparently the sailors have a party somewhere as well....

So it is 'Au Revoir' France in the early hours tomorrow morning. Ouistreham is a great little town, a place you could easily spend all your life happily. Great people, great club and keeler club along the road, the baguettes, cheese, and wine, just taste so special, and cycle helmets are for the 'Tour de France'.

A 1000 kms drive tomorrow, France, Belgium, might even cut through Netherlands to get to the far side of Germany on the Baltic problem for the mighty Mercedes van with the plastic window and munted mirror, at least this year we are not towing a large trailer as well.

I'd better brush up on my German World Cup win ......and there is something that we are not supposed to mention....?

Happy sailing and as always, a huge thank you to all our families, supporters and sponsors and especially a big thank you to Estelle, Alain, David, Maurice and all the others that made us so welcome in Ouistreham.

by Rob Burn


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6:31 AM Fri 18 Jul 2014GMT

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