The 420 opportunity

Understanding the 420 Opportunity

Sailors start sailing 420s between 13-15yrs old and the ideal competitive combined crew weight is 110-118Kg. Usually the skipper is lighter than the crew.

The 420 is an established worldwide performance two person trapeze and spinnaker racing dinghy. There are 56,000 worldwide and the larger European regattas often attract around 100 entries in each fleet (boys and girls usually race in separate fleets internationally, with mixed gender crews taking part in the “Open”, or men’s fleet).

The 420 International class is the youth development boat in 43 countries around the world and is an World Sailing Youth World Championship boat.

Through selection by Yachting New Zealand, 420 sailors have the opportunity each year to represent New Zealand at the World Sailing Youth World Championships (one boys’ and one girls’ crew). The WS Youth Worlds is the premier Youth sailing event globally. Sailors can compete at the Youth Worlds until, and including, the year in which they turn 18. If you are serious about wanting to represent New Zealand at this event you should either continue or start sailing 420s as soon as you can.

Famous sailors who made their mark by winning at the Youth World’s include NZ’s Chris Dickson, Russell Coutts, Dean Barker and Stuart Bannatyne.

New Zealand 420 sailors have been very successful on the World Stage. Some of the names you may recognise from recent years include: Alex Maloney & Bianca Barbarich Bacher (Women’s 420 Champions 2009); Frankie Lardies & Finn Drummond (Silver Medal Open World Championship 2009); Simon Cooke & Scott Illingworth (4th Open World Championship 2008 and Silver Medal Open World Championship 2007); Paul Snow-Hansen & Ben Goodwin (6th Open World Championship 2008); Carl Evans & Peter Burling (Open World Champions 2006 & 2007); Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (Women’s 420 World Champions 2007).

How do I find out more?

For more information, including advice on buying a boat, arranging a test-sail with an experienced skipper or crew, or answering any other questions you may have, contact one of the following people:

Angus Haslett, NZ 420 Association. 021 648 125

Andrew Brown, Force Racing. Olympian and Yachting New Zealand 2-hand Youth Coach.

027 222 5159. www.forceracing.co.nz.

Also, take a look at the National and International web sites:

www.420sailing.org.nz and www.420sailing.org

Why sail a 420?

The 420 offers great development for sailors in the two-handed disciplines – it has helped create the top 470, 49er and 29er sailors in New Zealand and in the World. To learn your trade as a helm or crew it is best to do this in the 420, especially with the coaching structure available both from Yachting New Zealand and the National Class Association. Some young sailors may never be big enough to sail a Laser Radial or other single-handed international class, or may take a longer time to grow, so getting into the two-handed classes via 420 makes sense to develop your skills and keep future options open.

Unlike Opti’s, most boats you will sail in the future will have downwind sails. The 420 is an ideal platform for learning about tuning a boat and the consequences of tuning, teaching in a relatively simple way the trimming of sail combinations (i.e. main, jib, spinnaker together) like no other boat can. This is great for all your future sailing, not just two-handed.

The 420 is a stable boat to sail which planes upwind easily, the trend in modern yachting. It will teach you how to sail in an environment of partnership with your crewmate, adding another significant element to your development as a sailor (and as a person).

Popular myths about 420 sailing

“It’s a hassle to co-ordinate with another sailor”…only true if you have picked the wrong sailor to partner with. A committed sailor with a supportive family in fact make it easier as there are two of you offering support to move boats, move sailors, chaperone trips, etc.

“It’s expensive”…sailing is an expensive sport, but you already know that. A good, top competitive, second hand 420 is relatively inexpensive, at $8-10k, usually with lots of sails and gear. In fact, splitting the costs between two sailors makes 420 sailing quite similar in expense to a committed single-handed campaign.

“It makes it hard to go back to single-handed sailing”…completely untrue!!! Gaining experience in the 420 increases your sailing ability and means it is easy to switch across classes, whether you are a skipper or a crew. Top 420 sailors have jumped back into the Starling and have dominated the class, have represented New Zealand at the Olympics in Laser and have generally been very successful as their sailing careers have developed.

The 420 will give you a unique experience during your Youth years.

Recent 420 Alumini

New Zealand 420 sailors have been very successful on the world stage. Some of the names you may recognise from recent years include:

  • Peter Burling - Gold Rio OGS 2016, Silver London OGS 2012
  • Alex Maloney & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher (Women’s 420 Champions 2009); Silver Rio OGS 2016
  • Frankie Lardies & Finn Drummond (Silver Medal Open World Championship 2009);
  • Simon Cooke & Scott Illingworth (4th Open World Championship 2008 and Silver Medal Open World Championship 2007);
  • Paul Snow-Hansen & Ben Goodwin (6th Open World Championship 2008);
  • Carl Evans & Peter Burling (Open World Champions 2006 & 2007);
  • Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (Women’s 420 World Champions 2007); Gold OGS London 2012 and Silver Rio OGS 2016

International opportunities

Through selection by Yachting New Zealand, 420 sailors have the opportunity each year to represent New Zealand at the ISAF Youth World Championships (one boys’ and one girls’ crew). The ISAF Youth Worlds is the premier Youth sailing event globally. Sailors can compete at the Youth Worlds until, and including, the year in which they turn 18, so if you are serious about wanting to represent New Zealand at this event you should start sailing the appropriate class as soon as you can, ideally not when you are already 16 or 17yrs old!

Famous sailors who made their mark by winning at the Youth World’s include NZ’s Chris Dickson, Russell Coutts, Dean Barker and Stuart Bannatyne, plus Olympic medallists Ben Ainslie (GBR), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Alessandra Sensini (ITA), Iain Percy (GBR) and Elise Rechichi (AUS). Attendance at the Youth Worlds is subsidised by Yachting New Zealand.

This is just one of the many international competition opportunities available to 420 sailors, including World Championships, regional championships and national championships in countries nearby like Australia and in Asia. For example, each year the top seven men’s and women’s teams at the New Zealand 420 Nationals are selected to represent New Zealand at the Open 420 and Women’s World Championships.

The 420 is a global class with great opportunities available to develop your sailing and compete at the highest level, making many friends overseas along the way.