The 420 Class Worlds and Junior Europeans Selector 1 series took place this weekend at Hayling Island
Sixty-one teams contested the first selection meeting for the International 420 Class teams for the World and Junior European Championships. The meeting was hosted by the new Hayling Island Sailing Club on 22-23 March. The weather was glorious with bright sunshine and 8-12 knots of breeze from the east all weekend giving ideal sailing conditions. Callum MacDonald, fresh from his win at the Vilamoura regatta in Portugal in early March and crewed by Haakon Karlsen, sailed a very good series to win comfortably from Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes and Jonathan Frazer, and top girls Charlotte Savage and Maia Walsh and Pippa Wilson and Harriette Trumble.
All three selection meetings are to be held at Hayling Island in preparation for the World Championships which will be held there in July. Results at last year’s international meetings were very encouraging and, with many of the same team sailing are being pressed by newcomers to the class, it is hoped that this practice on the Worlds’ sailing water will give the selected team a good boost.
All weekend, Race Officer Colin Waters and his team set good long starting lines and the fleet had only two general recalls, although this may have had something to do with the black flag rule introduced from Race 2.
In race one Wilson and Trumble led at the first and began to pull away on the run. Unfortunately for them the Judge decided to set an early precedent and penalised them for excessive pumping. This enabled Savage and Walsh and Fitzjohn-Sykes and Frazer to slip past and take the first two positions.
In race two Savage and Walsh shot to an early lead. Behind them MacDonald and Karlsen pressed them hard and opened up a good gap from the third team of sister Joanne MacDonald and Laurie Marsden (Callum’s crew in Vilamoura).
For race three there was a shade more breeze which favoured the left side of the first beat. Fitzjohn-Sykes and Frazer sailed well to hold off the Luke Patience and Adam Wagner and Olly Dix and Philip Lasko. In race four MacDonald and Karlsen recovered their poise and led from the start to finish with a long lead over Alison Martin and Bethan Carden, who were comfortably ahead of Stuart Bithell and Jonathan McGovern. By the end of the day the consistent Fitzjohn-Sykes and Frazer had a small lead over MacDonald and Karlsen, and Savage and Walsh
The weather for Sunday was just as good as it was at the end of Saturday. And so were MacDonald and Karlsen. In both races five and six they took early leads and sailed away to win comfortably. In race five Patience and Wagner held off Wilson and Trumble, with this contest finishing the other way around in race six. Fitzjohn-Sykes and Frazer had a poor race five so MacDonald and Karlsen were now in a very safe position, not needing to take any risks.
In race seven Dix and Lasko made up for a couple of poor races by taking a long lead which they were able to hold from Patience and Wagner. Savage and Walsh got going again in race eight, leading at the first mark and pulling away from the fleet on the first fast reach to take an unassailable lead. Fitzjohn-Sykes and Frazer slipped past Nick Cherry and Joe Henry to complete a good series. Unfortunately for Patience and Wagner their good run came to an end and a poor race dropped them from second to fifth overall.