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420 North Island champs

Efforts to revitalise 420 class paying off

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It has been some time since 15 boats turned out for a 420 regatta, which shows the efforts to revitalise the class are paying off.

A good fleet turned out for the 420 North Island Championships in New Plymouth prior to Christmas, when the event was also preceded by a two-day Aon national 420 class clinic.

One of the features of the clinic and regatta was the fact participants came from across the North Island - Napier, Raglan, Wellington, New Plymouth and Auckland - showing the strength of the class throughout the regions. That will be bolstered further at March's national championships at the Takapuna Boating Club when a handful of South Island entries will also attend.

Paul Sinton has played a large role in the resurgence and the class association have also made it more accessible by offering both an open and development (division 1) fleet.

All of those who ventured to New Plymouth opted for the open fleet and they often tackled strong winds and big swells up to 3m. 

Only one day of racing was possible, with Lucas Day and Sam Scott winning three of the four races, but they were often locked in a tight battle with Cam Brown and Alex Hebberd who won the other race.

Vivien Webster Chung and Kiera Sinton held off a strong challenge from Nicola Hume and Daniela Woolridge to take out the women's title.

The 420 is a more technical boat than most double-handed options and that is one of its selling points.

"If you can sail a 420 and take away that technical knowledge, you will be apply that to any other boat, whether it's a keelboat, skiff or even foiling," Yachting New Zealand coach development manager and 420 lead coach Peter Soosalu said. "It's also a boat you can go out in when it's blowing 30 knots and keep upright."

The 420 is used in teams racing, which is particularly strong at secondary school level, and a push is being made to encourage teams racing sailors to compete in some 420 regattas. Many of those who have excelled at 420 sailing have also applied it to match racing, like Harken Auckland Match Racing champion Robbie McCutcheon. 

Anyone interested in learning more about 420 sailing can contact Peter Soosalu on