420 Summer Round Up - Chris Taylor 420 Summer Round Up - Chris Taylor

So now that the summer events season has finished I have finally managed to get some rest after six weeks away from home due to varies events.

We (myself and Pete) started the six week period in Tavira, Portugal for our 2011 European Championships. We had 4 days training prior to the event in steady 15knot sea breezes and with us going well and regularly being at the front of the British fleet we were confident going into the event. However, when it came to the week of the event we were faced with light and shifty winds, with us never doing a race in more than 8-10knots. These were the conditions we were dreading as we hardly ever get to train in them as we are used to the sea breezes back in the UK but the European teams train in the light shifty stuff all of the time.

This unfortunately led to us having a bad qualifying series and ending up in the silver fleet. We were disappointed with not making the gold fleet but were determined to make a point in the final series. We improved slightly but along with the other British crews struggled throughout the week. However we did finally manage to crack it by the last race, which we won, although this still meant we finished outside the top ten in the silver fleet.

The result for the week was disappointing as we expected to be at least in the top half of the gold fleet but it was just not to be. Despite the bad result Pete and I were pleased with our last race as it was our last 420 race together so a good way to finish and we have both taken a lot from the event to take forwards with our sailing.

The next event of the summer, after a week coaching at the Optimist Nationals, was Cowes Week. I had managed to 'borrow' the new J80 from the parents and with a crew including myself, Pete, James(my old crew), Matt(my new helm) and Adam(another 420 crew). Having won the Nationals with dad and our main crew we knew that we had a quick boat and it would just be a lack of experience that would slow us down at all. We started the week with a teens result due to us having only done one day together on the boat and not being used to sailing on the Solent. However, we bounced back and won 4 races in the breezy stuff, although our second win was an OCS which ended our chances of winning the week due to another bad result that we picked up during the week. We finished the week 6th overall in class which we were pleased with and everyone enjoyed sailing something a bit different and quicker than our 420s (we managed to hit 20knots of boat speed downwind).

The last event of the Summer was the UK 420 National Championships. This was to be my first event back crewing and so was mainly a learning experience for both me and Matt (my new helm) and with only two days training we knew we weren't going to be at the front. Throughout the week we were improving but our main disadvantage was starting as we hadn't had the chance to do any practice meaning that our routines and techniques weren't all in place. This led to us finishing the week 19th which although not a great result we took masses away from the week and are now aiming high for the Inlands in 2 and a half weeks and Lymington Regatta next weekend.

Overall the summer provided us with not great results however certainly myself and hopefully both Pete and Matt have come away better from it and I am now looking forwards to a good winters training with hopefully being in the Youth Squad for the 420 World Championships next summer as well as the J80 World Championships next June. A big thanks to our sponsors for providing us with all our boat hardware as well as team clothing for the summer.

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