Despite the storm conditions over the weekend of 14/15th September, Sarah Norbury of Oulton, Stone and her crew, Mari Davies of Pwllheli, Wales won the 420 Inland Championships held in Rutland.
With wind speeds up to 30 mph and competing against 36 of the top 420 sailors in the UK, the girls won with just 12 points, 10 points clear of their nearest rivals. “The conditions were very tricky, with huge gusts of wind” said Sarah, “but our aim was to stay towards the front of the fleet and make the boat sail as fast as we could. We were delighted that our strategy worked and we won the Championship.”
For Sarah and Mari, both Year 12 students, it was the end of a great sailing summer. Although they both successfully sailed single handed boats before meeting in the summer of 2012, they only started sailing together a year ago. Their first year together has been a whirlwind of triumphs. Having spent the first part of their summer break competing in the 420 World Championships in Spain, they then travelled to Pwllheli in Wales to compete first in the UK 420 National Championships and then in the Junior European Championships.
Sarah’s father, Mike, said, ”The girls have been very determined and it’s a testament to their hard work and commitment that they qualified to sail in 2 major championships in their first year in the boat. This event is the start of our winter campaign – with our main objective to retain our place in the National Youth Squad”, said Sarah, “then in the first half of 2014, we’ll do our best to qualify for next year’s World Championships too.”
The 420 is one of the RYA’s Olympic Pathway boats with 3 sails and at 4.2 metres long is just half a metre short of the ones used in the Olympic Games. The pair are grateful for the support of Stafford Borough Council, Gill Marine, North Sails, Selden Masts and English Braids and Geoff Cox Motors. Without this support their sailing campaign would not be possible.