About the 420

420 Class SymbolThe International 420 is a two-handed trapeze dinghy with a main, jib and spinnaker.

Designed in 1959 by Christian Maury, who also designed the Olympic class 470, it is easier to sail than its more high performance relation. It rewards good teamwork, and is commonly regarded as an excellent youth and club boat that also provides a stepping-stone to Olympic sailing. This is evidenced by the number of top Olympic sailors that have done well in the class' championships - previous world championship podiums have included Belindaa Stowell, Matt Belcher, Peter Burling, Nathan Wilmot, Malcolm Page, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nathan Outteridge, John Merricks, Cathy Foster, Jo Aleh, Olivia Powrie, Hannah Mills, and many more. The list is quite astonishing.

There is also a derivative of the 420 - the Club 420 - which is popular in North America. Although it isn't recognised by ISAF (now World Sailing) and can't be used in International 420 events, the boat is widely used as it is tougher and heavier than the original.

Videos for 420 Sailing

You can view this video with the commentary in a number of different languages

A beautifully edited video of 420 sailing

This may look a little dated, but there is loads of useful stuff here for 420 sailors

A good video on how to roll tack

And finally, this video is a lot of fun:

There are loads more videos on the International Class Association website

Books for 420 Sailing

Specific for 420s

We haven't found anything specific for the class - let us know if you know of something.

General Books Useful for 420 Sailors

Coach Yourself to Win by Jon Emmett

Be Your Own Sailing Coach by Jon Emmett

Be Your Own Tactics Coach by Jon Emmett

Helming to Win by Nick Craig

Sail, Race and Win by Eric Twiname

High Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite

Higher Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite

Fast Handling Technique by Frank Bethwaite

Sailing Fitness and Training by Michael Blackburn

Go for the Gold by Gary Hoyt

Advanced Racing Tactics by Stuart H. Walker

Winning in One-Designs by Dave Perry

Links for 420 Sailors

Class Information

The International 420 Class Website

The last time I checked there were 56 National Class Associations, so rather than duplicate the list you can find your most local one here.

Wikipedia page for 420s

Boat Set-up, Boat Handling and Other Tips

If you didn't catch this video in the Videos section of this page, then have a look now - it has tons of information on boat handling and set-up:

This is an really excellent resource - the International 420 Class Association ebook

A 420 Rigging Guide

If you're thinking of getting into the class then this equipment guide from previous major championships is very helpful. Knowing what the top sailors use takes a lot of the guesswork out of choosing equipment. Also, this list of tips is very helpful when buying a second-hand 420.

Once you've chosen your gear these tuning guides should be helpful:

These beginner's guides are really useful too. Topics covered include:

  • Barber Hauling (tensioning the windward jib sheet to adjust jib sail shape)
  • Mast Rake (and changing mast rake on the water)
  • Mast Chocks
  • Spreaders
  • Mainsheet Bridles
  • Tuning

Blogs and Blog Posts

The Zim Sailing Blog has a bunch of good articles on 420s

The Vital Statistics

Suggested (combined) sailor weight range: 100kg-145kg (ideal weight range is 110kg-135kg)

  • Year Designed: 1959
  • Hull Length 4.2 metres
  • Beam 1.63 metres
  • Mainsail Area 7.45 square metres
  • Jib Area 2.8 square metres
  • Spinnaker 8.83 square metres
  • Hull Weight 80 kg

Who's Who in 420s

Belinda Stowell

Matt Belcher

Peter Burling

Nathan Wilmot

Malcolm Page

Nicolas Charbonnier

Nathan Outteridge

John Merricks

Cathy Foster

Jo Aleh

Olivia Powrie

Hannah Mills

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