420 CLASS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SOUTH AFRICA’S 420 CLASS SAILORS
The International 420 Class Association and Vilamoura Sailing are delighed to be welcoming South African 420 sailors to the 420 Worlds in Portugal this Summer.
The 420 Class and Vilamoura Sailing are helping the team to compete at the 420 Worlds by providing discounted charter boat, airport pick-ups, onsite coaching and accommodation.
Thanks to Gavin Ashwell who shares their story:
In just two months, Cape Town sailors Matt Ashwell and Rivaldo Arendse will put their skills to the test against the best in the world at the 420 World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal.
An invitation to compete at the event was afforded to Ashwell after winning the African Optimist title in December last year, and the duo have had a fair amount of success since teaming up in the 420 with Portugal in mind.
The 15-year-old explained, “Rivaldo and I met while we were both sailing Optimists. Having the same interest we became friends and I have known him since. Once I had returned from the Optimist African Champs, I approached Rivaldo and asked if he would be willing to crew for me. He happily agreed and so we became partners.
“The first event that we sailed together was the Hermanus Grand Slam, where we managed to win. This was a great confidence booster as we had only been sailing together for a month. We recently competed in the Western Cape Champs held at Theewaterskloof. Here our competition was fierce as there were sailors who’d been competing for several years. In the end, we placed third, despite winning six of the nine races.”
Explaining what each of them brings to the team, 16-year-old Arendse reckoned, “I think Matt brings a lot of experience on the helm as well as talent. I bring double handed experience and I also have a lot of overseas sailing experience.
Ashwell added, “We each bring our own set of skills to the team and we complement each other very well. I still have a lot to learn about the 420, and Rivaldo is teaching me everything I need to know.”
Assisting the pair in training have been two-time Olympian Asenathi Jim and Sibu Sizatu.
“The training is good. Matt and I are learning a lot from our coaches and from each other. We are training really hard and we are pushing each other to our best ability. Preparations are going well,” explained Arendse.
“At the moment we are focusing on techniques that work for both of us so that we are comfortable sailing together to perform well. Honestly, I am really nervous but confident at the same time. I believe Matt and I make a great team and we can do really well at the Worlds.”
Ashwell continued, “We have been training since January on rented 420s at Zeekoevlei Yacht Club, however this wasn’t ideal as Vilamoura is an offshore location. Once we had bought our own 420, we moved our training venue to Granger Bay. Here the training has been focused and intense, and the conditions have been amazing. Our enthusiasm has been great and we’re super-focused mentally on what needs to be achieved before the Worlds.
“Training at the moment involves choosing a specific set of skills that need improvement, talking about how we plan on improving these and then getting on the water and training these skills until we feel that they have improved. This usually takes between 2 and 5 hours. We have been very fortunate to have Sibu Sizatu and Asenathi Jim aiding us in our preparation. We are super excited at the prospect of this amazing adventure.”
The pair has set up a Back-a-buddy funding page to help cover the costs of getting to the 3-11 July event in Portugal. For more information, visit: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/matt-rivaldo
The 2019 420 World Championships is taking place in Vilamoura from 3-11 July 2019. All information on the Championship website: 2019worlds.420sailing.org