On Wednesday, February 20, the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) Junior Program welcomed the addition of 21 brand new 420s. The boats were unloaded off of two trucks by AYC staff and members. Later in the day, Junior Sailors arrived to check out the new boats and also help the Junior coaches by putting rudders, tillers, and booms in the boats and moving them onto their new dollies.
The new 420s were built by Laser Performance in Rhode Island. At the AYC Junior Program’s request, the new boats were customized to make them more durable so they would last longer. The stern corners were filled to help reduce damage, gaskets were recessed to prevent wear and tear, rudders were bolted down, and numbers were added to the stern of the boats as well as the bow.
The sails for the new boats were designed by AYC and made by North Sails. All of the boats are equipped with white spinnakers emblazoned with the AYC burgee and each participating member of the AYC 420 Race Team will get a spinnaker.
Three of the new 420s will be used exclusively by the racing team as charter boats and are optimized for racing rather than durability. The remaining boats are geared toward AYC’s Beginner 420 program, Chesapeake Race Team, and high school sailing program.
“We are delighted to welcome this new fleet to the AYC Junior Sailing program,” said Joel Labuzetta, AYC Sailing Director. “The new boats with their prominence in the launching basins and colored team racing sails are a highly visible asset for AYC. Head Coach Alana O’Reilly has spent a lot of time developing maintenance plans to keep all our Junior Fleet assets performing and looking great. However, our 420 fleet is on the water year-round and eventually they need to be replaced for AYC to maintain modern, safe equipment. This new, tougher version will not only have a longer life-span, but perform more consistently over that life. The 420s will also provide an excellent training platform for beginners as well as a matched one-design fleet for fleet and team racing events.”