Blessington Sailing Club/Malahide duo are 420 National Champions 2023.
In defiance of the less-than-ideal weather predictions, the spotlight shone on Waterford Harbour as it hosted the 2023 International 420 National Championships alongside the Fireball National Championships. Despite the challenges posed by the forecast, eighteen competitive International 420 teams converged in Dunmore East, with several new pairings joining the ranks after a bustling summer season.
Race officer Michael Conway overcame the challenge of fast approaching weather system run off one windward leeward race while conditions allowed on Friday. Disturbed sea conditions and excessive windspeeds sent the fleet ashore after one race.
Back on land, an advisory was issued, urging sailors to lower their masts in preparation for an anticipated stormy evening. Boats were quickly secured – masts down, wheels off, and hulls firmly tied down. The decision to cancel Saturday’s races due to persistent rough sea conditions was met with little surprise.
Sunday dawned with classic Dunmore East conditions, large rolling waves and 13-20 knot breeze in brilliant sunshine, elements that showcase the 420 boat speed and agility in wind and wave.
Race Officer Michael Conway and his team charted an Olympic triangle course, leading to three intense races. Cora McNaughton and Sean Cronin rebounded from an early setback – a black flag disqualification in the first race – to clinch the National title.
Consistent sailing from Galway Bay Sailing Club’s Sean Lemonier and Killian Mathieu earned them a solid second place, just two points shy of the leaders. Malahide duo, Kate Campion and Amalie Soffee, secured the third spot and claimed the Lyttle Trophy as the top female pairing for the third year in a row.
In the Silver Fleet category, local duo Christopher Plant and Max Passberger secured first place. Pierce and Phelim Hanley from Kinsale Yacht Club claimed second place, while Isabelle Passberger and Sarah Clooney took home the third spot.
Cora McNaughton will now represent the 420 Class at the upcoming Irish Sailing Junior Champions’ Cup 2023 scheduled for late September in Schull.
A heartfelt thanks goes to Race Organizer Mark Kettle, 420 Organisers Fiona Passberger and Ceara Sweetman and staff and volunteers for their tireless efforts in organizing an outstanding event both on and off the water.
The 420 Class also extends its appreciation to the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club and the local community for their unprecedented support and provision of a safe haven for sailors and their families when initial camping plans were disrupted by adverse conditions.
The next event on the 420 Calendar will be the Ulster Championships and Mid term training during the October Bank and Mid-term holiday.
First in Gold Fleet and National champions for 2023 were Cora McNaughton Blessington Sailing Club and Sean Cronin Malahide Yacht Club.
First in Silver fleet at the National Championships were Christopher Plant and Max Passberger Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.
Second in Silver fleet at the 420 National Championships were Pierce and Phelim Hanley from Kinsale Yacht Club.
Third in Silver fleet at the 420 National Championships were Isabelle Passberger and Sarah Clooney, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.
2023 WHSC Tees – “Done a Dunmore East!”