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Neilson GBR Cadet World Team Selections update

by Ian Harris 8 May 2017 16:27 BST 8 May 2017
Cara Bland & Ines Green celebrate winning race 2 of the Cadet Worlds in Buenos Aires last December © El Ojo Nautico - Jorge Cousillas

Two of the 3 completed: Cara Bland and Ines Green in a commanding lead

The Neilson GBR Cadet World Team selection series is 2/3rds of the way though after the Peter Scott and Alf Simmonds trophies held at Weymouth (W&PNSA) and Parkstone YC respectively. With just 7 team places available the tensions will be mounting as the series continues on to the Royal Burnham Corinthian, the spiritual home of the Cadet, for the Clemenson Nautilus Trophy, the always emotional final selection event.

In light to moderate breeze the Peter Scott trophy was won by the outstandingly boat speed of Cara Bland and Ines Green who dominated the first event to record four straight bullets and to discard a 4th place from her results. Cara and Ines's speed, evident in Argentina this Christmas at the 50th Worlds where they finished 7th overall, carried them through the tricky conditions at Parkstone last weekend too. With stronger shifting winds blustering over Brownsea Island, their string of 2nds in a competitive fleet demonstrated prowess in tactical decision making; although a surprising capsize in the penultimate race showed that they are human. Could last year's Selections "shut out" be repeated by Cara and Ines? They are already on target to halve the score achieved by World Champions Jamie Harris and Antonia Wilkinson last year and look strong contenders to head the Neilson GBR Cadet team to the 51st International Cadet World Championship to be held in Bruinisse, Holland on Lake Grevelingen in August.

Just behind Cara and Ines in the selections is Megan Ferguson with new crew Ollie Mears. Megan, who finished 8th in Argentina with Yasmin Sfaxi as crew, carried 18 points from the Peter Scott trophy into the Alf Simmonds trophy last weekend. Megan and Ollie are looking "good to go", scoring 3 wins at Parkstone they only lack a little consistency to challenge the leaders, and there are signs that their teamwork is developing into a strong partnership.

Also experiencing a little lack in consistency are Hatty and Hamish Collingridge. If the 50th Worlds had continued another few days they could well have returned home as champions such was their growth in confidence. Indeed unlucky to finish 4th overall in Argentina, Hatty and Hamish have a point to prove. They are beginning to show their pace again, finishing 2nd to Cara and Ines in Parkstone after a slightly underwhelming event at Weymouth where they finished 8th.

Chasing the experienced helms from last year's Worlds team are Bettine Harris and Sam Goult. Bettine and Sam have taken the helm of GBR 9985 "Twocan", the current world champion Cadet, and after a winter of hard training under RYA coach Tom Mallindine, have made an exceptional start to the series currently lying 3rd in the table and discarding only a 12th and 11th they have shown growing confidence and calmness under pressure. Bettine leads the chase for the 2 guaranteed Under 16 places where the points are very close indeed.

Amy and Ben Goult are also showing what a winter of dedication and hard work can do. Impressive at the pre worlds training before Christmas where they were as quick as most of the GBR team, Amy and Ben have proven their abilities after a slightly shaky start in Weymouth. Showing strongly at Parkstone they have pushed themselves into the top 7. However, they may not have it all their own way as they in turn are being chased hard by the incredible smiles that belong to Emily Spiers and Rosie Voyantzis. Emily, like Bettine, has taken the tiller of her older sister Izzy's GBR Team boat from last year, and with Rosie at the front they lie only a few points behind Amy. What is most impressive is that Emily and Rosie are vying for a worlds team place as leaders of the silver fleet, a fantastic performance that they should be proud of whatever happens next.

And so to the pack behind them; and this is where the real sporting drama awaits. After a good performance in Weymouth, Finbarr Wormwell and crew George Little slipped slightly in the confusing shifts of Parkstone harbour as did last year's Neilson GBR team member Ryan Wilkinson crewed by his World Champion crew and sister Toni. Neither of these two could find the right lane in Parkstone and lie almost tied for that last berth. Not far behind them, Anna Wotton crewed by Imogen Mayhew, Faye Chatterton crewed by Imogen's sister Amelia, Kate White crewed by Rhona Enkel, and Rosie Targett crewed by Daisy Nunn will look to take advantage of any mistakes. There are some others too; Lia Fletcher, Phoebe Bradshaw and a Conner Line may have to rely on some others misfortune, but with good performances in the Clemenson Nautilus may just sneak themselves a team shirt.

Without doubt the weather gods and the dice of chance will have their say in the Crouch and Roach in a few weeks' time. As always there will be tears of both joy and despair. All these teams can do is their very best leaving nothing out on the water, controlling those controllables and trying to remain calm under the most immense pressure. It is always the most emotional prize giving of the year. It is as hard to witness as it must be to be involved. This Neilson GBR Cadet team will be a strong one indeed as a result.

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