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420 have a go day

29er and 420 have a go days open youngsters' eyes

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Young sailors unsure about what their next move in the sport might be had the chance to try out a couple of different double-handed classes recently at the Kohimarama Yacht Club.

The club ran have-a-go days in the 29er and 420 on consecutive weekends with good turnouts for both.

It was an opportunity for them to see if they liked either of the classes and but also if there were individuals there who they might gel with in a double-handed boat. Sailors from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Wakatere Boating Club and Glendowie Boating Club joined locals from Kohimarama for the 420 day on Sunday.

"You get to the end of the season and you need a fleet to be viable at a yacht club," Kohimarama club captain Ross Hume said. "We have quite a few coming out of the Optimist, P-Class and Starling who might not know what to do next. This is a great way for the kids to go sailing together and see who they meet.

"There were quite a few who didn't know each other but put them in a few boats and jumping in and out of ribs and it's a good way for them to be networking. It's otherwise a big thing for a 12 or 14-year-old kid to approach someone to go sailing with. It takes quite a bit of bravery to do that."

There's also a perception it's a big step-up to make from something like an Optimist or P-Class into a 420 but Hume said many are surprised at how well they cope.

"These have-a-go days actually show them that they can sail the boat," he said. "The average Optimist kid would look at a 420 and be a bit intimidated but they can actually sail it immediately. It's a case of showing them that they can."

Both the 29er and 420 are youth classes and sailed at the youth sailing world championships annually. Both feed into the 49er and 470, which are on the Olympic programme.

See here for more information on the 29er and here for more on the 420.

  • Pic: (Back row) Rohan Sherlock, Tim Marshall, Caleb  Newton, George Clark, Zac Floyd, Sam Scott, Zac Floyd, Yasmine Labidi, Leah Sinton, Samaria Currimbhoy, Hermione Aris. (Front row) Daniel Neely, Finn Brown, Megan Hume. Absent: Kiera Sinton and Emily Heckler.