Open 420 Worlds: When good race days go bad...

It ain't half hot, mum! - 420 World and Ladies World Championships 2014
Rob Burn
Rob Burn reports on the fourth day of racing for the New Zealand team competing at the 420 World Championships in Travemunde, Germany.

One race today, the second abandoned just as the breeze appeared to come in.

After a Lay day yesterday that was warm, with the best wind of the World Championships so far, going on a bike ride along the cliffs above the Course and watching the gusts scuttle across the course area, thinking why aren't we sailing....?

Today the wind was predicted to be reasonably light and shifty, as the gradient breeze fought against the seabreeze, the fleets launched at 11.30am for a 1.00pm first warning signal on both Open and Ladies courses.

The Kiwi teams of Sam Barnett and Zak Merton, Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh in the Open Gold Fleet, Brittany Wornall and Emma Stenhouse, Eliza Wilkinson and Kate Stewart in the Ladies Gold Fleet, Ava Mannering and Rosa Hill, Sophie von Waldow and Annabel Cave in the Ladies Silver Fleet had everything to sail for and plenty of work to do.

On the 'Ladies' course, all the Kiwi teams in both Fleets had good , confidence building races in the shifty 7-8 knot conditions, all had reasonable starts but with a couple of General Recalls and made the most of the conditions. Great to see both Kiwi Teams in the Silver Fleet come to life and make coach Tobias proud, especially Ava Mannering and Rosa Hill with a 7th.

Open Fleet start - 420 World and Ladies World Championships 2014
Rob Burn

The Open Course was probably more forgettable for Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh. Both Kiwi Teams had good starts in 5-6 knots but Sam Barnett and Zak Merton dipped boats to get across to the Right of the Course. Around the Top Mark they were 14th, followed closely by Burn and Balogh in 16th, some of the Regatta leaders well down the back of the Fleet. The downwind leg turned ugly with the breeze dropping out and the Race Committee signaling a Course change, moving Mark Two, the Wing Mark, closer to the Top Mark ..... which the Silver Fleet were fast approaching in their own breeze.

The two fleets ended up mingling together towards the last Gate mark before the homeward reach and things really turned to custard. Barnett and Merton managed to sneak around the mark with 'only a little touch' amidst the screaming and yelling ...who said sailing wasn't a contact sport? Many sailors were stuck on the Mark in the huge bunch of the combination of both fleets trying to get around. Burn and Balogh managed to get a slight puff of breeze to skirt one bunch and stay out of trouble but the damage was done. Not one penalty turn was observed by this writer parked close by with binoculars.

The Finish Boat would have been a nightmare with so many boats finishing so tightly packed, The breeze came and went, time enough for a swim in the Baltic and lunch, hurry up and wait some more with the AP flying high. The Race Committee signaled a decision by 3.15pm, that time came and went, and as the breeze appeared to increase and settle, the word across the VHF radio was that there was no longer 'World Championship conditions' and the day was over.

Us keen supporters spotted the Ladies Course in Start sequence and confident the Coach James would have the two crews in hand, motored over to watch. The Ladies Gold Fleet got under way, great if you were at the Committee Boat end, nothing at the Pin end.....that too, was abandoned.

More of the same is predicted tomorrow so First warning signal has been brought forward to 10.00am. Sailors report tp coaches at 7.30am on the beach, launching at 8.30am to take advantage of the hopefully early morning breeze.

Barnett and Merton 25, (19) Burn and Balogh 48 (28), Wilkinson and Stewart 27 (13), Wornall and Stenhouse 30 (16), Mannering and Hill 31, Silver Fleet (7), Von Waldow and Cave 35, Silver Fleet (19)

www.420sailing.org for the latest news and results, photos and more.

Several more Protests underway this after noon, perhaps there will be some changes by morning. Interesting to see many of the regatta leaders have bad races today, showing how tricky the conditions were. The Race Committee will try for three races tomorrow, we will see.

As always a huge Thank you to all the Kiwi Team Supporters and sponsors, a special 'Bonjour' to the Ocean Club of Oustreham, Normandy, who made us so welcome.

Happy sailing


Kiwi Teams are Sam Barnett and Zak Merton, Tauranga, Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh, Picton and Christchurch, Brittany Wornall and Emma Stenhouse, Christchurch, Eliza Wilkinson and Kate Stewart, Auckland, Annabel Cave and Sophie von Waldow, Auckland (and via Berlin), Ava Mannering and Rosa Bella Hill, Napier and Christchurch.

Coaches are James Turner YNZ, and Tobias Koeb of Austria, formerly Queen Charlotte Yacht Club head coach. James on the boys course, Tobias on the Girls.This writer (Rob Burn) is the Team Manager.