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Cadet Class at the RYA Dinghy Show

by Neil Collingridge 7 Mar 06:34 GMT 3-4 March 2018
Cadet class at the RYA Dinghy Show © Doug Targett

The Class motto "you'll never forget your first Cadet" was temporarily replaced this weekend with "a little bit of snow wasn't going to get in our way".

And so it was that out of the very snowy wastelands of Suffolk possibly the newest GBR Cadet 10051, Samurai, and certainly the greenest 10007, Spectre, appeared at Ally Pally courtesy of some dedicated young sailors and their support crews. They took their places as the centre of attention for the friendliest truly international junior class in the country. The class stand was mobbed by enthusiastic youngsters most of the weekend each of whom took turns to talk to anyone who was interested in the class and even a few who weren't. A constant supply from the largest pretzel tub ever seen maintained energy levels.

On Saturday ex-Cadet sailors Harry Chatterton - now crewing a 420 in the RYA's Youth Squad and Daisy Collingridge - ISAF Youth Worlds Laser Radial Bronze medallist took to the stage to give a presentation about the Cadet Class and why, in their entirely unbiased opinions, it's the best Junior class in the World. They told the audience of how you learn all the technical skills; make friends for life; travel to championships in Garda, Australia, Argentina,wherever; sail in big competitive fleets, learn to manage young crews... what a wonderful advert for the Class and how it sets up young sailors with what they need for their sailing careers wherever they take them. Not for our young sailors the need when transitioning to learn how to tune a rig for the first time or to trim a kite or to sail with a crew.

Now with winter training almost finished the Class looks forwards to a busy Spring and Summer schedule. First up Frensham Pond's Open on 24th of March followed by three worlds qualifiers in late April / early May at Weymouth, Stone and a new venue for the class Pevensey Bay where we look forwards to some great surfing waves. After that more open meeting opportunities at beautiful Waldringfield, South Cerney with its legendary scalextrics competition and Fishers Green with an equally legendary Tea and Cakes affair.

That will take us through to late July, early August when the World Championships take place in Bodstedt in Germany - after such a good showing in the Promo Regatta last year, Team GBR will be keen to put the hammer down and come back with some silverware I'm sure.

The class has this year put a bunch more emphasis into New Helm training as well as some regional training weekends to target the less experienced and those for whom travelling a long distance is not that attractive. These initiatives are showing signs of great success and bode well for the future.

And at a time when World Sailing and the RYA are pressing the hot button on gender equality in sailing, well the Cadet Class boasts loads and loads of girls competing absolutely on equal terms with their male counterparts. What's not to like?

So when the snow melts and temperatures start to rise, beg steal or borrow a Cadet and come and join in, "you'll never forget"!

Further details at www.cadetclass.org.uk.

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