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Story Contributors: Tom Sitzmann


Sailors Joined S1D and North Experts in Maryland

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Organized soon after the State of Maryland lifted boating/sailing restrictions and careful to mind all social distancing policies and procedures, the 29-31 May North Sails “C&I” 420 Clinic found some very eager participants, who could not wait to get out on the water and get back to sailing.

Limited to six top local teams, chosen by experience and resume, the clinic featured Coach Lior Lavie, an Olympic-level sailor and a highly experienced and successful coach, and North Sails rep Tom Sitzmann. The Clinic was held at Sail1Design, a private venue on the Magothy River, just north of Annapolis, MD.

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As many know the 420 class sailboat has, in fact, two separate organizing classes, the International 420, and the Club 420.  Coming soon will be a detailed article on these two classes, compared, so stay tuned. For now, and very briefly, here is a quick look:

International 420 Class

• Truly an international class, with fleets around the world
• Tapered spar, high performance foil and sailmaker options. The class maintains strict rules but does allow sailors to buy their own favorite brand of foils and sails.
• Rig tuning includes allowing spreader adjustment
• Minimum hull weight is 176.4 lbs.
• Boat will plane upwind and downwind in moderate wind conditions
• Class organization is very strong; USA class participation is good, attracting many of the most talented youth sailors in the country
• The choice for the US Youth double-handed championship

Club 420 Class

• USA only
• Non-tapered spar, can use only class foils and class sails (North Sails is the sailmaker for the C420 class). Hull must have rail bumper. Rules are designed to promote durability.
• Minimum hull weight is 230lbs.
• Boat will plane downwind, not nearly as much or as often upwind when compared to the i420
• Class organization is very strong, class participation is excellent, often with 60+ boats attending major National-level events.

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One of the goals of this clinic was to expose sailors, first-hand, to the distinctions between the i420 and the C420. North Sails expert Tom Sitzmann, who is currently working on an all-new NS i420 tuning guide, shared some of the tips and tricks that make the North Sails i420 sails set up as they should be (for more information on North Sails i420 options, contact Tom) While both classes offer incredible opportunities for youth sailors, their tuning, trim, and focus points are distinct, and successful teams know these differences. Ultimately, the difference in each boat’s performance characteristics requires teams to dial in to the boat’s capabilities, and recognize tactics must change with boats that go different speeds.

On the first day, 2 i420’s rigged up along with three C420’s, and teams interested in trying out the i420 were able to do so. Coach Lior had both C and i420’s do the same drills, and it was really neat to see the boats out training together. One sailor commented “The i420 was planing upwind for us, almost right out of a tack; I was amazed at how that boat accelerated and seemed to lift up right away.”

Graeme Woodworth, whose son Luke participated in the clinic and was himself a top youth i420 and All-American collegiate sailor, noted that these two classes, back in the 1990’s, did have some overlap, and that the c420 National champion used to be given a spot at the i420 World Championship.

For the rest of the weekend the group all sailed C420’s to make things even, and Coach Lior had the group work relentlessly on boat-handling, and spinnaker sets, jibes, and take-downs. It’s quite likely that the teams did more spinnaker work in these three days than at any other time in their lives, and the improvements were noticeable and impressive. In the end, the group had three days of near perfect weather conditions, and all learned a great deal.

For more information on 420 sailing and i420 sails, contact North Sails today!


420 Tuning Guide      Contact Tom


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Story Contributors

Sail1Design + North Sails C420 & i420 Clinic headshot
Tom Sitzmann

One Design Expert —

A lifelong sailor, Tom Sitzmann brings a broad range of sailing experience to North Sails. Along with extensive one design racing experience and success, Tom brings a professional background that includes sail loft ownership/management, and significant sail coaching experience. Also...

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