420 Class World Championships

With the wind in their sails, two Napier sailing teams will be joining two Auckland teams heading to Spain to represent New Zealand at the 420 Class World Championships.

The international sailing class involves teams of two sailing in a 420-centimetre dinghy. This year Jed Potbury, 15, Finn Balchin, 17, Rose Dickey, 15, and Tara Labat, 15, have qualified for the youth section of the World Championships.

The event, in Alicante, involves six days of racing against some of the best young sailors from around the world.

To qualify the teams had to place in the top seven at the 420 Class National Championships, held in March at Evans Bay Yacht Club in Wellington. Potbury and Balchin placed 4th and Dickey and Labat were 5th.

Both female sailors Labat (skipper) and Dickey (crew) are Year 11 students with Dickey at Iona College and Labat at Napier Girls High School and they hope to get a few more years sailing in the 420 class together.

For the male team, there is an age gap between them which has meant that this year is the first and only time the two will get to sail together in the 420 class. Potbury (skipper) is a Year 11 student at Napier Boys High School and Balchin (crew) is Year 13 at Lindisfarne College.

“It’s such a big achievement for two teams from Napier to be going to this event, as nearly all of the training and competition is held up in Auckland for the 420 class, so it is a testament to say that teams from outside of Auckland can still perform at a high level and compete internationally,” Balchin said.

All four teens are excited to head overseas and said competing internationally was something they had all been working towards since they started sailing.

Before competing in 420s, Labat and Potbury spent time racing Optimist, with both heading overseas to compete last year.

Potbury took part in the Optimist World Championships in Turkey and Labat in the Optimist European Championships in Sonderborg, Denmark.


By Maddisyn Jeffares


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