28 September 2021

2021 Nationals Report

42 boats headed to Plas Heli, Pwllheli for the 2021 British Nationals over the weekend 25th/26th September - the venue for 2022 Youth Nationals.  Normally held in August the Nationals needed to be pushed back to September because of the timing of this year's World Championships and the RYA Youth Nationals being moved to August.  But that didn't stop it being a fantastic event.  On the water 6 races, off the water the every popular Sailor Ball.  With a sit down meal, DJ and the famous Sailor "Plate Awards" the night was a huge success but what happened at the Ball stays at the Ball ......................................  And whilst the sailors' partied the night away a separate social was organised for the parents upstairs in the bar, a great night all round.

On the water the racing was led by PRO Chris Hoppins and his capable team; wind shifts and some keen starting kept them on their toes particularly on Sunday when the wind and visibility make for difficult conditions.  A huge thank you to everyone on the water for their help and support.

The sailors weren't just competing for the title of British National Champion - the winner would also represent the Class at the Endeavour Trophy in October.   It was great to the sailors moving out of the Class back for one last time together before they head off to university and other sailing adventures back competing alongside the new many crews that have just joined us - with 16 junior boats on the water the future is certainly looking bright.   The Class awarded the Endeavour Award to James Gosson & Bea Sparks - they are one of the new partnerships over the summer who have recently transitioned from an Optimist.  This was only their second time out in a 420 and they showed grit and determination going out in the difficult condiitons on Sunday and coming in with massive smiles on their faces.  The Sportsmanship Award went to George Creasy and David Bromilow - they showed great sportsmanship by coming to the Results Office after racing to say that they needed to retire from a race as they hadn't finished it (they'd been given a result as they'd sailed back through the finish).  Despite this having an impact on their overall finish they did the right thing - great sportsmanship!  

A massive thank you to all at Plas Heli and RYA Cymru Wales for all their support and help in ensuring we had such a successful event.  Our event ran alongside the RYA Wales Regional Junior Championships which certainly gave an extra "buzz" at the event.  We can't wait to go back!  

Full results from the event can be found here

Sailor Event Report - Bettine Harris

The much anticipated 420 nationals took place over the weekend of 25/26 September up in Pwllheli where a full range of conditions created 2 days of exciting and challenging racing.  Saturday morning started off slowly, as expected from the days forecast, with a south easterly breeze of 6 to 7kts. We prepared ourselves for a light wind day on the water before launching at 10:30 to reach out to our race area. 

Race 1 got underway with an increasing breeze with most crews just out on the wire, it was a day for light wind tactics and tricky racing. George Creasey and David Bromilow secured the race win to start the event, with Ella Lance and Will Martin in second and Matthias Potter and Ellie Thomas in third.

Several general recalls took place before race 2 eventually got underway. Unfortunately for Ollie Meadowcroft and Oscar Cawthorne, as well as Megan Farrer and Ellie Rush, a BFD was added to their scoresheets early on in the regatta. For such a short regatta this was something that could potentially make or break their events. A big congratulations should be given to Emily Smith for the race 2 win, sailing with Hayden Sewell for this event. Close behind were Julia Staite and Bettine Harris, one of the class’ ISAF representatives for the youth worlds later on this year. Following this, Harry George and Ralph Cawthorne took third, sailing in one of the newest 420s to exist currently, having literally unwrapped it that morning.

A temporary postponement kept race 3 from taking place straight away as a slight left shift had come in. Once the fleet were underway, however, it was noticeable that the race officer may have been a little bit too keen with his mark moving and the first  beat happened on a very left favoured course, this was a key factor in the fleet positioning as the leading group rounded way ahead of the following boats. Matthias and Ellie sailed a smooth race to finish first with Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennet in second and Ella and Will taking third in a dying breeze.

The wind by this point had seriously dropped off and after a short wait the fleet were happy to see AP over A for the day and began the long, slow sail in. Luckily the lack of racing gave people plenty of time to prepare themselves for the prestigious black tie dinner and paper plates awards later on that evening.

The evening started with a day one prize giving which had ended with Ella and Will far in the lead with an impressive total of 9 points. Matthias and Ellie lay only one point ahead of Henry and Hector in third and behind them only 6 points separated 4th to 9th. It was all to play for going into day 2 and with a heavy wind forecast ahead there was a lot of room for changes to the scoreboard.

Pwllheli provided the perfect venue for the black tie social and everyone spent the evening on the dance floor, except for perhaps Marsbar who decided the tabletop provided a better spot for his moves. Oli Rayner deserves a special mention as well for the good effort he put in at the crews union and I just wanted to thank everyone all round for making the evening run smoothly and be so fun.

Many of the sailors and parents stayed down at the sailing club for the night and Sunday started with Ollie Meadowcroftand Will Martin arising from their tent looking like the proper gents still in last nights attire. The 17kts of breeze was not being welcomed by everyone, with many sailors having hit their heads on the caravan door that morning, nonetheless the fleet launched into an increasing breeze at 10:00 and made the short journey out to the race area. 

The wind didn’t provide the only challenge of the day as in true Pwllheli style, a proper sea state was built and the conditions turned into pure survival. Race 1 ended with Ollie and Oscar horizon jobbing everyone with Neil Marsden and Matty Evans taking second and Julia and Bettine taking third with Henry and Hector scoring week again just behind them.

Race 2 took two starts before eventually getting away, Ollie and Oscar put in another great shift and secured their second race win for the day. Henry and Hector took second and Marsbar and Matty took third, with both being absolute beasts downwind to overtake Julia and Bettine on the last run.

Race 3 was slower to start, with poor visibility setting in, however it luckily avoided our race course and the remaining survivors of a depleted fleet got into the start sequence. Race 3 saw another bullet from Ollie and Oscar.  Henry and Hector unfortunately capsized on the final run, ruining their chances of getting a podium result as Julia and Bee took second with Marsbar and Matty finishing with another third. Ella and Will finished in 4th  giving them three top 5 results for the day.

Day 2 was then unfortunately, yet again, cut short due to the weather conditions being so extreme but a huge well done to Ollie and Oscar for such an incredible performance on the water.

The event ended with Ella and Will taking the title of 420 national champions, they sailed a beautifully consistent series and proved themselves to be top in the extremes of two conditions. Ollie and Oscars incredible day 2 performance saw them gain 16 places form the previous nights standings and they took second. On joint points, finishing third overall and 420 ladies national champions were Julia and Bettine. Neil and Matty finished 4th and Henry and Hector in 5th with only 5 points separating 1st from 5th.

I can’t thank Pwllheli sailing club and everyone in the 420 class and committee enough for helping run this event. It was great to finish the year on such a high and I cant wait to see what the competition brings next year.



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