Photo Credit: Paul Almany, Fishing Bay Yacht Club
Hatteras Community Sailing adds 5 of the internationally recognized 420 Class sailboats for local high school and college athletes. Talented local youth can now be regionally, nationally, and internationally competitive in the 420 Sailing One Design Class thanks to the sponsors – Hatteras Island Air, OBX Spice Company, Phillips Boatworks, and MSP-Media – who provided the boats for the program.
The 420 is a small and athletic sailboat sailed by a 2-person team, and is recognized worldwide as the standard class of high school and collegiate sailing teams. Hatteras now has five 420 Class sailboats conveniently located at Buxton Harbor just a few yards from the Cape Hatteras Secondary School.
One design sailing unlocks competitive talent and opens opportunities for young sailors. One design sailing is sailboat racing in identical boats. Similar to Nascar, the sailing classes write rules for the boat design, the rigging, and certify the manufacturers that build boats for the racing class. Sailing within a one design class such as the high school and collegiate International 420 Class is just like other sports. It has identical positions on each team, standard rules, skills in each position, an easily understood scoring system, fouls and penalties, coaches, and umpires just as better known sports. 420 Class sailing has an established competition schedule with regional, national, and international awards. There is even a compatible Olympic class to which 420 sailors aspire, the 470.
Any athletic and competitive young person growing up here on Hatteras Island can consider sailing as their sport of choice. Sailing is a lifelong sport even at its highest level of professional competition, and is a sport that our local geography supports in ways that give our local youth a competitive advantage. Our home, Hatteras Island, is surrounded by water and our winds are second to none. We have consistent and strong wind compared with places like Scandinavia, San Francisco, The Gorge, The Caribbean Tradewinds, etc.
Hatteras Community Sailing is a member of US Sailing, the governing organization of sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing at the local and olympic level. Many of our local residents earn their family’s income in these sports, and we are able to train the next generation in ways that yacht clubs located in Urban areas just cannot. “We are sitting in the exact right location, the perfect conditions, and we’re surrounded by internationally recognized talent in these sports – there is just no reason we shouldn’t see our local youth rise to the highest honors”, says Jay Phillips, head coach and Chairman of the Hatteras Community Sailing Board.
420 Sailing registration is open
420 Sailing registration is now open for the Fall Session. The Fall Session will run for 8 weeks starting on Sept 4 at our new location in Buxton Harbor. There is a wait list if more than 10 sailors want to try out the new 420 Class Sailing. The weekly practice is 2-4 hours of group coaching each weekend with mid-week opportunities for supervised practice.
The 420 requires a 2 person team of a skipper and crew. Very often the crew position is filled by an athlete new to sailing, but who is confident on the water. The crew position involves less experience and understanding of the strategy and tactics, but is a fun position that includes a hiking harness for leaning out on a trapeze. Typically, the skipper of the boat needs to be a more seasoned and competitive sailor. Sailing small boats like this is a wet sport requiring spray protection, wetsuits, boots, gloves, sunglasses, etc. 420s are often sailed with just the mainsail and jib, but in interscholastic and collegiate competition there is a third sail called a spinnaker.
Head coach, Jay Phillips, says, “I learned in my experience racing larger yachts in Annapolis, Newport, Charleston and the BVI that 420 Sailors tend to make the best crew, helmsman, tacticians, and all-around sailors. When I am putting together a winning big-boat team, I’m always happy to add talented 420 sailors.” There is no limit for a talented 420 sailor. Many of the America’s Cup team members competed in the 420 Class.
Colleges, universities, and academies often offer scholarships to talented sailors. Sailing is a varsity sport at the USCG Academy and the Naval Academy as well as UNC Wilmington, Old Dominion, and St. Mary’s College. Within just the second season of operation, local youth from Hatteras Sailing have competed in the 2021 US Sailing Chesapeake Bay Junior Olympics Festival, Fishing Bay One Design Regatta, and the Manteo One Design Regatta. Hatteras Sailors won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the Optimist class at the Manteo One Design Regatta in July of this year.
While the cost to sustain a sailing program can be high, Hatteras Sailing aims to keep membership and participation fees low and in line with other local sports opportunities. If you would like to support sailing opportunities for local Hatteras Youth, Hatteras Community Sailing offers many ways to help out through sponsorship, membership, and volunteer opportunities. Learn more at HatterasSailing.org.