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Cadet class at the RYA Midland Zone Championship

by Neil Collingridge 28 Sep 08:17 BST 23-24 September 2017
Cadets at the RYA Midland Zone Championship © Kirsten Kuhnert

One of the features that makes the Cadet class so very special (and friendly) is the pairing of sometimes very young crews with somewhat older (but still young) helms who learn tremendous life skills of bringing on and looking after the little ones and teaching them to be the champions of the future.

Every year a cohort of older helms leaves the Cadets to the youth classes and every year the next year group step up from (often) mid fleet obscurity to racing at the front of the fleet in the full glare of the spotlight. That this transition takes place at the RYA Zone Champs where squad places are up for grabs makes it an event where the sailors are keen to set out their stall for the year to come.

So it was that the Cadet Class had more sailors participating than all the other fleets at Rutland Water over the weekend of 23/24 September. The weekend started slightly overcast but warm and with a gently shifting breeze down the reservoir from the clubhouse maybe at 8-10 knots. Race 1 saw Charlotte Videlo and Tom Shepherd in Zat Bout stake their claim with an emphatic win from Eli Watling and George Little in second and Rosie Targett and Sophia Sfaxi third.

Race 2 and it was Angus Collingridge and Ed Fletcher in No Regrets taking the win. This brand new pairing had never been in a boat together before but took the shifts up the middle left of the first beat to establish a lead which they didn't relinquish from Rosie and Sophia (2nd) and Faye Chatterton and Amelia Mayhew (3rd).

The race officer kept the various fleets turning around quickly with Race 3 following as the clouds started to break a little with just slightly more breeze although still with some big shifts and pressure bands coming down the track. Kate White and Rhona Enkel took the win in Spectre (10007 - get it?) from Angus and Ed with Rosie and Sophia bagging another top 3 finish.

In the warm late afternoon sunshine after a long day on the water, race 4 got under way. Angus and Ed and Rosie and Sophia locked horns round the first lap with No Regrets initially leading but overtaken by the girls in Tantrum who despite their friendship were not giving in to the boys. It finished in that order with Charlotte and Tom in third. That left things delicately balanced at the top with Angus and Ed on 5 points overnight ahead of Rosie and Sophia on 6 but with the latter pair having in their back pocket a better discard of a 3rd, one better than the boys.

Sunday dawned slightly misty but this soon cleared to leave warm sunshine throughout and a decent breeze to boot - champagne conditions on the Rutland Riviera.

Race 5 saw another new pairing Lia Fletcher and Mish Collingridge in Joint Effort rounding the windward mark in the lead with Mish's older brother Angus and Lia's younger brother Ed in hot pursuit- sibling rivalry at its best. After splitting tacks at opposite ends of the leeward gate, Lia and Mish pulled away to a huge first win for them. Kate and Rhona took second from Angus and Ed, ever consistent in third after a spinnaker snafu down the last run.

Yet another race winner for the 6th race - this time Hazel Whittle and Gwen Thorogood in Sorcerer from Katie Yelland and Sheri Lynch and Eli and George in third. With Rosie and Sophia somewhat buried in the teens for a second time and Angus and Ed again bagging a top 5 result this gave the boys the championship with a race to spare.

With squad qualification at stake over this weekend and the inland champs the following weekend, Angus and Ed weren't finished. For the umpteenth time more or less uncontested they won the pin end in race 7 and with Phoebe Bradshaw and Mimi Slump rounded the windward contesting the lead after both played the stronger pressure again left of middle and nailing the windward layline. Phoebe and Mimi prevailed over the next 5 legs to take the last win of the weekend, Angus and Ed again second, Kate and Rhona securing their third top 3 of the weekend.

So overall Angus and Ed took the win emphatically some 20 points ahead of Rosie and Sophia whose consistency on the first day they had failed to replicate on day two. After a cracking second day Hazel and Gwen had moved up to third. The closeness of the racing was demonstrated by just 4 points separating 2nd from 6th overall and with the Inlands taking place next weekend, again at Rutland (hurrah, no boats to pack up and tow away!), there is plenty still to play for.

Full results can be found here.

The Cadet Class thank the RYA for hosting the Championships and encourages anyone who wants to join this most fun, friendly junior class to get in touch at .