The 420 Nationals were held in the Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 11th/12th of September.
HYC had three sailors at the event, Scott Flanigan, Diana Kissane and Tara Flood.
Scott, sailing with Cian O'Regan from Kinsale, was fresh from a 3 week break since finishing 14th at the Junior Europeans - after such a strong result abroad the pairing hoped to finish off their year with a win at the Nationals.
However as Rob Lehane was back in the fleet to defend his title sailing with his old crew Andrew O'Donoghue along with the usual top Irish boats such as Jane Butler/Jenny Andreasson, the boys weren't going to have it all their own way.
The first day didn't go to plan with Rob winning the first two races in about 12-15 knots along with a 4th in race 3. Meanwhile Scott and Cian suffered from bad tactical decisions and gear failure to post a poor 2,4,9. Emma Geary/Niamh Connolly and Richie Harrington/Robbie English both posted strong results to leave the event wide open going into the final day.
Jane/Jenny won the first race on the second day to bring them back into the championship, with Cian/Scott posting another 4th but keeping Rob behind them. The next race saw Diana post her third 3rd in a row which now brought her into contention, with Cian/Scott slipping to 2nd on the last beat.
Going into the final race any of the 5 boats mentioned could have won had things worked out their way - more or less the person to win the last race would win. Cian/Scott noticed a pin end bias which gave them the lead to the windward ahead of Jane/Jenny and the young sibling team of Fiona/Paddy Daly.
In such light winds, the Daly's pulled ahead downwind, narrowly hanging in at the front until the final mark when Cian/Scott got room and took the win along with the Championships.
Diana sailed a solid championship - unfortunately getting black flagged in the 1st race - to finish 6th, while Tara in only her 2nd event in the boat finished 10th in the 15 boat fleet.
Hopefully HYC can encourage youth sailors to take the Pathway to 420's. With an abundance of top racing boats for sale and experienced sailors within the club happy to provide coaching or even just guidance it's an excellent time to move into the class.
The ISA Pathway weekend is in Killaloe on the 25th/26th September, so there's no excuse not to go and at least try the boat out! There will be other Helms/crews at the weekend looking for someone to sail with, so I would really encourage as many people as possible to attend.
Malahide Yacht Club are also running training weekends over the winter along with the usual ISA training normally held in Howth or Dun Laoghaire.