Sailingfast 420 National Championships at Helensburgh – “It is Tough up North”

GBR 420 Class All, Class matters, Event Reports

Sailingfast 420 National Championships at Helensburgh

What a week the 420s had at the Sailingfast sponsored Scottish Open and National Championships! After a long summer of the French Nationals in Brittany, the Open Euros in Athens and the Junior Euros in Garda, the fleet made the long trek north to Scotland for the first National Championship at Helensburgh since 2003; then won by local boy Luke Patience. In 7 days the fleet achieved 2 days of training from Neil Marsden and Duncan Hepplewhite, that was focus on the newcomers to the fleet, 8 races in the Scottish Open and 10 races in the Nationals. The 420s excelled in the 13 to 25 kts wind that they were blessed with every day – although the Scottish weather also provided a fair amount of hydration from the sky on most days! No days lost and lots of smiling faces. The Navy also threw in a distraction with a Trident submarine silently departing from Faslane.

Daniel Thompson and Dan Quaid from Wexford having fun! Photo by Mike Cattermole

The week was won in convincing fashion by Niamh Harper and Ross Thompson with 6 race wins and nothing outside the top 3. It was great to have a win from a mixed crew, and although on the international circuit they have to compete in the Open Division with the boys, the mixed crews are certainly showing they are every bit as competitive, particularly in the stronger winds. In second place was Neil Marsden and Alex Hughes, showing that the class coach does know what he is talking about but he didn’t have it all his own way! Alex Colquit and Robert Giardelli also sailing a consistent series to finish 3rd, with local boys Calum Bell and Josh Hale showing fantastic improvement to finish 4th and top juniors. Anna Burnett, current Nacra 17 Team GBR sailor, kindly agreed to award the prizes and show what 420 sailors can achieve!

Bertie Fisher and Olly Hawkins – happy sailors! Photo by Mike Cattermole

Helensburgh SC were great hosts and the club members did a wonderful job both on and off the water. A Highland Games evening and Black Tie Dinner, following by Scottish Dancing, gave a Scottish theme to the social evenings and provided an ideal opportunity for the whole fleet to get to know each other better – showing the new sailors what a friendly class the 420s are! A special thank you to Duncan Hepplewhite from Sailingfast for his generous sponsorship of the event and chandlery provision throughout the week. Sailingfast are the UK agent for Mackay 420s and supply Norths 420 sails.

Alex Colquitt and Robert Giardelli in flying mode. Photo by Mike Cattermole

The next events are the Open Training at Draycote 16 – 17 September, coached Open at Lymington 23 a24 September and then it is back to the Worlds Qualifier at Weymouth 30 September – 1 October, sailing on a shared course with the 470s during their RYA Olympic Autumn Series.

The submarine silently slips past the fleet. Photo by Mike Cattermole

Any sailors looking to transition to the 420 can check out the class website at, contact the class administrator at and the Sailing Secretary, Peter Collyer, at Tim Rush, one of the class coaches, is happy to coordinate matching up new helms/crews

For full results click here

National Champions Naimh Harper and Ross Thomson with Anna Burnett, current Nacra 17 sailor but ex-420. Photo by Dougie Bell