Excellent sailing conditions made for exciting and challenging racing in which the leading competitors established themselves firmly at the front of the fleet during the first day of the 420 nationals
In a moderate wind, the Daewoo British International 420 class open and national championship began racing out of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club in Lowestoft on Monday 13 August. Excellent sailing conditions made for exciting and challenging racing in which the leading competitors established themselves firmly at the front of the fleet. Just returned from the European championship, many of the sailors travelled overnight from Versoix to arrive in time to enter and the gusting wind and choppy waves provided a welcome contrast to the still lake and light winds of Switzerland.
Leading from the start, Athol and Eamonn King maintained a comfortable lead to take the first race from local sailors Nic Asher and Paul Davies. Continuing the local success, sailpower.com-sponsored Sam Carter and Paul Jones displayed their best form of the season to beat narrowly the top female sailors Vicky and Emma Rawlinson into third place with a last minute surge to the line. All members of the British team, the leading pack clearly demonstrated their superiority over the rest of the field, being challenged only by the visiting Dutch boat of Bogacki and Neuhaus.
In slightly lighter winds, the second race was again tightly contested, from the start this experienced British team sailors Ben Field and Dan Allin reaching the first mark in front. The leading trio from the first race gradually prevailed, however, with Carter and Jones this time emerging triumphant, while Asher and Davies pushed the Kings into third place ahead of Field and Allin.
The final race of the day proved far less predictable. With a chaotic start causing something of a pile-up on the line, Myles and Elliott Willis saw their opportunity and flew into a massive lead, which eventually proved unassailable. Battling with the rest of the field, Asher and Davies took second place to lead overnight ahead of Carter and Jones and the Kings. The constantly competitive spirit and unpredictability of sailing was best displayed by newcomers Rory Sharvill and James Cooke who took fourth place to leap up the rankings.
Other less experienced local pairings, Carrie Vaughan and Rachel Larman, Emily Riley and Gary Fryer, and Sebastian and Bernadette Stanfield all had a less successful outing, but each of them improved their initial placings throughout the day and exemplified the spirit of enjoyment and endeavour which characterises the national championship, where experienced sailors join novices for a week of challenging racing.
Results (after three races)
1st 49720, Nic Asher and Paul Davies
2nd 50362, Sam Carter and Paul Jones
3rd 50112, Athol and Eamon King
4th 50213, Iain Watson and David Putt
5th 49199, Myles and Elliot Willis
6th 50549, Bam Bam and Dan Allin