Young sailors from all over the UK converged on the town for the 420 Dinghy Class Championships organised by HSC. With some competitors arriving straight from the Junior Europeans event at Lake Garda, overall numbers were lower than when the class last visited the town in 2003 (won by Luke Patience), but the competition was absolutely top notch.

Days One and Two were arranged as a Scottish Open Championship, with Day Three seeing the start of the full UK Championship once the Garda boats had arrived. Five races on Day One saw Adele Young and Daniel Burns from Spinnaker SC in Hampshire sitting with four seconds and a third, but with a tightly packed group on their heels which included HSC member Calum Bell with crew Josh Hale. Young and Burns consolidated their position on Day Two to win, ahead of class coach Neil Marsden and Alex Hughes from Preston, with a bad day at the office for Bell following a collision and a capsize.

The intensity of the weather progressed steadily into the Nationals, and four races on both Thursday and Friday were pretty taxing for the younger and lighter crews. A new fleet leader quickly emerged with Niamh Harper and Ross Thomson (Loch Tummel SC) clocking up six bullets and a second and a third in quite spectacular sailing. Marsden pushed them all the way, with the opportunity to prevail on the final day if the Tummel two faltered. Not to be! A third on Saturday morning sufficed, and though Marsden went on to win the final race – shortened as winds eventually exceeded the 25 knot upper limit – he ended up five points adrift in overall points.

Calum Bell and crew Josh Hale from Loch Venachar had an outstanding Nationals to finish fourth overall, behind the Colquitt/Giardelli crew from West Kirby. Bell and Hale take considerable credit from these results, the Lomond School pupil having only progressed from Toppers to 420s this season. In addition to their overall placing, the pair also picked up Top Under 17 trophy, Top non-GBR Squad Trophy and were crowned Junior National Champions. Quite a week!

The HSC team delivered 18 high quality races over the five days of racing and were congratulated by Rob Bellfield, Class Association Chairman, at the prizegiving on Saturday afternoon. Prizes were presented by local sailor Anna Burnet, who encouraged the youngsters to follow the pathway she had recently pursued herself to achieve Team GBR stardom in 470s, 49ers and beyond.

Results: Scottish Open   Nationals   Photos