The International 420

WHY THE i420

  • Outside of the US, this is the only 420 there is. Although it is not at all necessary to travel outside the United States to train in this boat. Again, the the Youth Championship is sailed in the i420, along with all US Sailing ODP events.
  • With a tune-able, responsive mast, with sails that are more developed and targeted, and with foils that are far more efficient, the boat teaches you so much more about tuning and increases your knowledge base and skill set(s).
  • The boat is a LOT more fun to sail; the hull is light and stiff, and will plane upwind quite easily.
  • These boats can be actually LESS expensive than the c420!


The I 420 is a fantastic learning and growth class for young sailors.  The light-weight and adjustable rig allow young sailors to learn valuable principles that will prepare them to sail everything from spinnaker class racing at the local club to today’s high performance one designs and elite Olympic classes.  Even more important, it’s fun. The boats are fast and easily sailed even in strong winds.   
-Yale Sailing Coach Zach Leonard

The I-420 is the best platform for young sailors to develop a comprehensive set of sailing skills. The I-420 is faster, more responsive and easier to control in strong winds than the C-420. It is also lots more fun to sail in lighter conditions. While it is a little more technical, nearly all of the adjustments are the same as a C-420, just more efficient and easier to execute.

I have worked extensively with both the C-420 and I-420 for the last 12 years. Both are viable platforms, but the I-420 is just more fun and more challenging. Given that the summer breezes on the Chesapeake are on the light side, the I-420 is much preferred. If I had a child coming into his or her junior sailing years I would want them to be in a I-420.       -Skip Whyte, former US Olympic 470 Coach, Head Coach U. Rhode Island

i420 is a great way for young sailors to learn about high-performance boat‘s and have a great time.  The i420 is light and powered up and planes easily, and teaches the kids about rig tune and mast bend more than most other Junior sailboats.  –Steve Hunt, pro sailor and champion HS sailing coach

The International 420 is the original 420. It is sailed by every country in the world, and is the global default standard for double-handed youth training platform for a reason: it is stable, responsive, and fast (fun), but not so fast that sailing tactics are minimized. Most importantly, this boat and rig requires sailors to learn more about tuning which is an essential skill, and because of the variability in tuning, this boat can be competitive to more kids (more weight ranges).   -Tom Sitzmann, Severn School coach

I420 is the perfect youth sailing boat. It provides safe environment and allows for fundamental skill building, while also introduces the sailors to high performance sailing. Unlike modern youth dinghies that are skipping some fundamental learning, the i420 introduces the young sailors to a very wide spectrum of sailing skills. One of the best aspects of an i420 is the fact that it requires a lot of teamwork, strong communication, and high level of performance from both skipper and crew – something that I feel is missing in our digital world and especially these days in the COVID-19 environment.   -Udi Gal, Champion 420 and Olympic 470 Medalist.


The i420 has (partly through the fault of the class association itself) earned some negative observations that just aren’t true.

  1. that it is ungodly expensive. Absolutely not true. In fact the opposite may be true. I happen to have my finger on the pulse of the youth marketplace, as my company is the classified ad site for USODA,  c420, and i420. There are GREAT i420’s for sale at VERY competitive prices, and new boats honestly aren’t much different and in some cases LESS expensive than club 420’s.
  2. that there are “no regattas” and you have to travel internationally to compete. Not true. We have 4-5, and now more, events on the east coast of the USA alone (in the last 1.5 months we’ve done Wickford, the ACC, and the Mid-Atlantics), and also the Pacific Coast championship, etc. Over the winter there is the ODP,  Nationals, North Americans, and then the Midwinters! One does not have to travel outside of the USA to get a ton of regatta and training experience. It is nice, though, to be able to consider the possibility of sailing internationally. In fact the rest of the world sails the i420 and there are incredible growth opportunities with this class all over the world. Our recent World Championship budget was actually less than a similar Optimist international travel budget. It’s doable.

One critical addition to this is that the Youth Championship is sailed in the i420, along with all US Sailing ODP events.

  1. You have to travel around the world. Not at all true. See #2.
  2. You need a private, exotic coach. The truth in this lies in the fact that good coaches are always hard to find. This is true of any boat. However, there is a wealth of good coaches around, and many of the best really prefer the i420 to coach in and with (see testimonials.)

This is all NO knock on the Club420 class. This is a great class and filled with great people. In many cases you could do both! I just think that if you have the chance and try sailing an i420, if afterward you don’t really fall in love it, then the c420 makes sense for you. Adding an i420 option in no way would slow down or even compete with the c420 class; they are parallel options for sure but really complement each other more than anything else.