The international 420 class end of season meeting was run by Draycote Water Sailing Club on 3-4 November
The international 420 class end of season meeting was run by Draycote Water Sailing Club on 3-4 November. The weather was fine with Force 2-3 westerly on Saturday rising to Force 3-4 on Sunday enabling the race officer John Rohde to run the eight scheduled races. Nic Asher, now sailing with Elliot Willis, completed a clean sweep of this year’s trophies, but not without serious challenge. In the end Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes and Tom Mapplebeck secured second place, while Gemma Farrell and Jo Allen finished third. But on Saturday evening positions had looked very different.
In race one, Farrell started well at the port end and raced to an immediate lead, which she extended throughout the race. Nick Cherry and Chris Evans finished second well ahead of Asher and Fitzjohn-Sykes. But as the wind patterns became clearer, the results became more ordered. Charlotte Savage and Maia Walsh took control and raced through to win all three remaining races of the day.
In race two they flowed past Nick Asher on the run and then covered well to retain the lead. In race three they sailed away from the first mark to leave a scrap for the remaining places. Oliver Dix and Philip Lasko, new to the class, slipped into second ahead of Farrell. In race four Savage took a left-hand course after a poor start and again lead from the first mark. In this race the wind dropped steadily making reading the shifts difficult but Fitzjohn-Sykes and Farrell again crept through to second and third.
Sunday started much as Saturday had been. Savage lead at the first mark. But Myles Willis and Eamon King went past on the second beat and Asher also closed up. Then on the first time to the reach mark all the leading boats headed to the wrong place. Fitzjohn-Sykes, unusually well down the fleet, was first to spot the mistake and headed up leaving the leaders to beat back. It was all change; and out of the melee Susanne Bennell and Jill Shorrocks were able to move into first place with Neil Crossouard and Sam Pascoe second.
The wind increased slightly for race six and seven. In both of these Asher seemed to cruise to a long lead. Behind them there were fierce tussles for places, especially down wind where gusts gave frequent pace changing. Iain Watson and David Putt, and Ben Ainsworth and Tom Heywood both fought through to second places. In race eight Callum Macdonald and Andrew Greer had a long lead at the first mark. Watson and Fitzjohn-Sykes fought back but Macdonald hung onto win by a couple of lengths.
Racing was completed by 1400. with every one tired but happy. The weekend had given a range of sailing conditions and in the end consistent performances by both Asher and Willis and by Fitzjohn-Sykes and Mapplebeck had secured them the top positions
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis 20pts
2 Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes/Tom Mapplebeck 26pts
3 Gemma Farrell/Jo Allen 36pts
4 Nick Cherry/Richard Evans 41pts
5 Sam Carter/Paul Davies 41pts
6 Charlotte Savage/Maia Walsh 43pts
7 Alison Martin/Claire Paramore 56pts
8 Iain Watson/David Putt 58pts