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Ocean Elements 2018

UK Cadet Class Training at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Neil Collingridge 27 Nov 2017 09:39 GMT 25-26 November 2017

Thirty Cadets hit the water at Datchet this weekend in wonderful wall-to-wall sunshine and decent breezes of between 10 and 20 knots.

This year the Class is adopting a slightly modified training programme. Joining the RYA National Junior Squad (8 boats) for the top U15s helms and the Cadet Class National Squad (8 boats) for helms over 15 and those not quite getting into NJS we now also have Open training for anyone else run on a regional basis to make travelling easier for those slightly less committed to a life of packing and unpacking boats on what sometimes seems like a never-ending cycle... or for those who just want to dip in and out to those weekends which suit them. With 14 boats turning out for Open Training this weekend it looks like this is proving to be a popular formula and the Class is seeing good growth in the number of its less experienced sailors. This was also much in evidence at last month's Inland Championships where there was a really healthy turnout in the bronze fleet.

The other feature of the Class' training Programme is the high quality of its coaches. The NJS coach Tom Mallindine, himself a former Oppie Champion was joined by ex Cadet Sam Brearey this weekend - he's been a Fireball World and European Champion crew so knows a bit about what makes a boat goes fast. For the Cadet National Squad it was Corky Rhodes (communication guru- Extreme Series and World Cup commentator as well as an ex Cadet) joined this weekend by Rhos Hawes (again an ex Cadet but also top 49er crew from the RYA Podium Potential Squad) and Open Training was coached once again by ex-Cadets Sam Barr (recent World Promos coach) and Matt and Ben Shorrock (both now top notch 420 sailors)... so a wealth of talent helping the young sailors and a strong underlining of the heritage of this Junior Class which has and continues to produce so many great sailors over the generations.

It was just as well that there were as many inspirational coaches at hand as the young sailors had to contend with tricky launching - will someone at Datchet please put the plug back in, shifty and gusty wind as it blew over the dam and had to drop 50 feet or so to reattach to the water surface, and hardest of all - it was cold, cold, cold and something of a shock after such a mild autumn had been enjoyed by all.

All the coaches put their boats through some pretty intensive work - focus on boat handling, clear crew-helm communications, getting the routines agreed, sorted and practiced, stopping the boat, start line hovering, sailing backwards, mastering the double tack - there was plenty of hard work and it kept people switched on and engaged and generally coping with the difficult cold conditions. All the coaches agreed lots of progress had been made over the weekend and gave plenty of feedback on what to work on for the rest of the winter... and I think all the sailors enjoyed their sailing and came away determined to work hard to get better and better.

With plenty of other training opportunities to come it's not too late to join in this winter. Lifelong friendships were once again being forged at Datchet Water this weekend - it's a friendly crowd who love to greet new joiners and bring them into the cadet family. Details are available on the Class website and competitive secondhand cadets are inexpensive and readily available so please do come and join in with this friendly class. They say "You never forget your first Cadet" - give it a try, you will find it's true.