The best advice is to seek out a boat & get a sail in one - we can help! The speed is exhilarating and the rig is particularly adjustable so that light weight crew partnerships can go out in surprisingly strong breezes, possibly even stronger winds than they would be happy with in their junior classes! A sub 45kg sailor can right a 420 from turtled after capsize which is not the case with all youth boats - this is important as you move to a youth class where there may not be the same rescue coverage that you have experienced in the junior fleets. Second hand boat availability is good with competition in the new boat market from a variety of boat manufacturers. There are also several specialist chandlers who are happy to offer advice.
When should I transition?
There is no single answer to this question; it comes down to each individual sailor and their circumstances. Many junior classes are recommending that sailors aged 13/14 start to consider their next boat; many sailors aged 13 successfully sail their junior boat whilst starting their transition into a youth class. Some sailors find that they are too big for their junior class boat by age 13 or 14 and make a move to a youth boat early whilst others wait until later; when you should transition is individual to each sailor but what we will say is that the sooner you start your transition, the easier it will be.
How big do I need to be?
Successful pairings have ranged form about 110kg to 135kg. From the RYA Youth website "the ideal combination weight is 130kg with the helm weighing between 50-60kg and the crew at 60-70kg" but this is only guideline and many pairings when first joining the class are below these levels. At recent National Championshipos about 50% of the sailors were boys and 50% girls. In the UK most sailors are in the 14-19 age range, but in other countries the class has many older competitors. The 420 rig is very easy to control and adjust, so can be optimised for light or heavy pairings, allowing them to be competitive in all wind conditions.
Finding a crew
We aren't going to lie, double handed sailing isn't always easy and that's not the on-water-activity; finding a suitable partnership is often the biggest challenge. Some people are really lucky to find a partnership that is local to them but many successful partnerships have worked where the crew and helm live a good distance from each other. The key to finding the right combination is to stay open minded and don't get hung up on finding your perfect partner from the start - once you are in a double handed boat it can often feel like "speed dating" as crews/helms regularly switch, not because they have fallen out but for the good of the boat. Probably the most important parts of a successful double handed boat is actually how the parents get on! There are many ways to make a successful partnership work; no one way is the right way - you need to find your way. Speak to others within the class to understand what they did and take the pieces that work for you and your sailor.
The Class has a list of sailors looking for helm/crews; please feel free to contact the Class Administrator and/or the Class Development Officer to help you.
So you've decided to become a 420 sailor....
What a great choice! The experience of sailing a 420 will not disappoint. The first major event for most sailors is th 420 Nationals, usually held in August. This event is a great introduction into the 420 life since there is plenty of socials for sailors and parents to network through; as a newcomer you will not be alone.
Parents do tend to stay around; there are shore-based duties to cover and inevitable boat repairs to undertake. The 420 class employs a class coach particularly to support newer sailors. They tend to run briefings and debriefings most days; HELPFUL HINT - try to find accomodation nearby; there tends to be a 420 event most nights, which the sailors sign up to, and chauffering is easier by foot! Events range from buddy nights, games night to a great black tie dinner. Parents are invited to this and asked to buy into the role of "supervise" so dust off your black tie and posh frock!
The overall feel of the Nationals is of a relaxed event; it may be the first event for some but is often the finale for those off to university that year. But, there is also hot competition! Lots of trophies to be challenged for and the RYA do use performance here as a marker for squad selections.
Check out the 420 event calendar on our website; pick the events that suit you and your goals..... just because there is an event, you don't have to attend it.
The class has a dedicated Class Coach who sits on the committee ensuring a continued focus on the training needs of the class. We offer training that is suitable for all abilities. Run with a 1:6 ratio by top world class coaches with 420/470 experience. Great value for money! Check out our training pages for more information or contact our class coach if you have any questions.
RYA Youth Squad
The 420 is a recognised boat for RYA Youth Squad selection. Check our our events page and the RYA website for details of which events are used by the RYA to select the Youth Squad; these are normally the Inlands and End of Seasons. The squads tend to be annouced in October. In order to be considered for a Youth Squad place you need to apply via the RYA website. Whilst many sailors may see getting into the youth squad as having "made it" this isn't the case; remember they are a series of 5 or 6 weekend training weekends over the winter. The class provides great class training, often alongside the youth squad training dates.
Selection for Worlds and Junior Europeans Teams
Unlike some other youth boats the 420 Worlds & Junior Europeans are closed events. This means that sailors need to be selected to represent GBR at these events. The class runs a series of selection events (more details under events/results) to select the teams. These events can be quite tense because of the selection process - you don't have to attend these events if you don't want to, there are plenty of other events you can attend.
The RYA support the GBR teams at these events, normally by funding the team coaches but parents are needed to help with the logistics, acting as house parents and transportation of boats. Full details will be provided by the Class prior to the selection of the teams.
RYA Youth Championships
Each year the RYA organises an event specifically for the Youth classes. This is normally held in the Easter School holidays. Used by the RYA to select the sailors to represent GBR at the ISAF World Championships (different to the 420 World Championships).