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420 Open Coaching at Weymouth and Itchenor

by Jennie Clark 2 Nov 2018 11:04 PDT 27-28 October 2018
420 Open Coaching at Weymouth © Jonny McGovern

The 420 class had two separate coaching events over the weekend of 27 and 28 October, making the most of some exceptionally fine weather with the Youth Squad testing the water at Weymouth under Coach Jonny McGovern and open coaching hosted by Itchenor SC under Coach Tim Rush.


The glorious weather was made even more special for the WPNSA team – who enjoyed sailing alongside a school of dolphins!

The coaching event at Itchenor Sailing Club took the form of a coached open meeting. The good news was 15-20 knots more breeze than the previous weekend; the less good news was 15-20 degrees colder...

Bertie Fisher and Charlie Bacon set the tone for the weekend with a comfortable win in the first race before having a close battle with Dylan McPherson and Andrew Sturt in the remainder of the races of the day, with Issie Wallwork and Ellie Driver often also in the mix. Most people swam at some stage in the five races and Race Officer Alistair Shaw kept the fleet on their toes with a number of manoeuvre-filled courses so the fleet returned with smiles and sore muscles meaning the "extra hour" was very welcome.

Sunday dawned with even more breeze - International 14 racing was cancelled - but the 420s decided they wanted to take full advantage of 20-25 knots and an empty harbour. Perfect 420 weather (other than the temperature) gave the experienced crews fantastic racing and provided the newcomers some thrills and spills. Dylan and Andrew and Bertie and Charlie split the first two races before KT Byne and Ellie Rush led the fleet in the final race back to Itchenor.

Thanks to the coaches, the Itchenor Sailing Club team and many congratulations to all the sailors.

Itchenor Results:

1. 54852: Bertie Fisher / Charlie Bacon (6pts)
2. 56115: Dylan McPherson / Andrew Sturt (11pts)
3. 56467: Issie Wallwork / Ellie Driver (27pts) - 1st Ladies


Meanwhile at WPNSA Saturday, the squad arrived to find that it was an Olympic Autumn National Ranker for all the Olympic classes. It seemed that every top sailor was present: Luke Patience, Hannah Mills and of course the 420 Youths!

The day started fairly placidly with little wind. "Not enough to blow a candle out," was heard from the intrepid 420s – little did they know what was to come. Following a briefing the squad appeared to a totally different wind scape, with white horses over the harbour. As they ventured out, with a degree of trepidation and parents frantically checking their wallets, the squad had an excellent session.

For the afternoon session the wind was 27 knots gusting 30+ knots. With one boat lost due to illness the squad was down to four boats, with all of the teams, with the exception of Hayden and Manny, 'checking their slot gaskets' in the harbour! Although it was brutal, and even the ex-420 sailors in the rankers were struggling, it was an exhilarating day with a lot learnt. The team and their parents spent the evening in Weymouth enjoying bonding over a meal.

Sunday started with the traditional morning run with the team. Even the Olympic classes called it a day (wimped out!) at 10am with an AP over A they all packed up and went home. Luke Patience then popped into the 420-squad room for an intense Q&A session which had everybody in the squad buzzing!

The wind was blowing old boots 30 knots plus, the parents were thinking/hoping about packing the boats up for the day when Jonny said that the forecast was to drop off and the plan was to launch after lunch. This allowed the squad to have the whole of Weymouth harbour to themselves in the afternoon. The wind dropped off slightly in the afternoon to 26 knots gusting 30 knots. Jonny and Neil's plan was one long beat up to the harbour wall and back down with spinnaker up. As with all best laid plans it went out the window and with an empty harbour the 420s screamed all over the place, scattering across the harbour having excellent fun, with coaches flat out trying to keep up! See the videos on Facebook.

A couple of dolphins were stopped and filmed (for proof) swimming along the rib with Jonny.

All boats came off the water in one piece (minus the odd burgee) and the sailors all had beaming grins on their faces despite the cold – thanks to Jonny, Neil and WPNSA.

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