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Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD

UK Cadet Class 2021 Season Preview

by Neil Collingridge 22 Mar 07:07 GMT
Cadet and U21 RS200 Open Weekend at Waldringfield © Tim Hampton /

Just over a year ago the UK Cadet Class was looking forwards to some cracking activity through the summer and this correspondent was foolish enough to confidently write it all up as a preview for Yachts and Yachting...

As the pandemic unfolded not much happened as planned but the Cadet Class and its dedicated young sailors showed their true colours grabbing those opportunities to sail when it was safe and permitted to do so. Single handed Cadets when it was not yet alright to have mixed households in a boat; 'bish bash bosh' events where sailors were segregated on shore and did little more than turn up, rig, race and leave; a winter championship of one day events at various locations most of which fell victim to further lockdowns; national class eSailing every Sunday evening; and the adoption of a new catchphrase "It's better than nothing" sailing. At times it was very much better than nothing.

Only two of the one-day Winter Championships events sponsored by Synergy Marine could take place with Hannah Carruthers and George Cox Oliff winning overall from Bridgett Nee and Monty Slump second and Ben Goult and Alex McEwan third. In the coached Regatta fleet for the less experienced up and coming younger sailors Gwen Thorogood and Jemima Cox Oliff narrowly took first overall on count-back from Monty Hampton and Tash Davidson.

So what's ahead for 2021? Here we go with tempting fate yet again, but the national committee and those at the various Cadet Squadrons have been busy planning and replanning and then replanning again to try to move from "Better than nothing" to "Almost back to normal" sailing. Throughout the season there will be training aplenty going on at the various squadrons so that all ages and levels can get going, gain confidence and learn new sailing techniques as crews and as helms. More importantly, if past experiences are anything to go by, they will be making friends for life, gaining important life skills and probably learning that it's as true as it's always been, "you'll never forget your first Cadet"!

On the racing front first up will be back to club sailing after 29th March - that's certainly keenly anticipated and will see the traditional multi class Easter Egg event take place at Waldringfield (no visitors this year I'm afraid) whilst both Frensham and South Cerney kick off their seasons opening for the first time at Easter too.

Following hot on their heels will be the Alf Simmons Trophy in late April, recently changed from a 2 day event in weymouth to a one day, 4 race event at Waldringfield (lovely lunchtime high tide as it happens) which avoids the need for an overnight stay for most of the competitors at a time when hotels are still shut other than for key workers and approved activities. Don't worry WPNSA we will be back as soon as you can have us. The annual Frensham open in 2021 will be on 23rd May, craftily scheduled for a Sunday so boats from Waldringfield and South Cerney can support it without missing their own club racing. After the winter series Frensham event we know a warm welcome will be forthcoming although some of the visitors are keeping fingers and toes crossed for more breeze, or at least some marks that aren't stuck right close in the lee of the trees!

A week off (well back at school to recuperate) and then there's Waldringfield's Cadet Week - this year snuck in at half term and over just four days, one of which is a bank holiday so that parents don't need too much time off work. Some are rumoured to be figuring out how effective a race officer they can be whilst WFH on the committee boat (whisper it quietly but some have found that lying on the floor out of the wind with judicious use of the mute button on conference calls worked very nicely last summer thankyou). For those who haven't experienced a Walders Cadet Week before it really is a belter. Hopefully pandemic restrictions will allow some socially distanced shore activities to take place...,the parents cocktail party is usually in the open air anyway so we will see what can be achieved. Be warned, if you're an adult, Waldringfield Cadet Week can seriously damage your health and the kids seem to enjoy it too!

The Class' next classic is the Peter Scott trophy at Grafham on 10/11 July. It always seems to blow a hoolie at Grafham when the Cadets visit although we often find ourselves there in mid winter so fingers crossed we get some cracking wind this year combined with tropical sunshine please.

Currently the Cadet Worlds are still scheduled for Lake Garda for 23rd July to 6th August. We are nothing if not realistic here - it's clear continental Europe is lagging the UK in its vaccination programme and we lost a World Championship at Garda last summer. We will have to wait and see if this event can proceed although I know there are many who will do whatever they can to hold the event if its safe and practical to do so. Fear not, if it doesn't happen the UKNCCA Committee will be back to the drawing board to see what else can be be sorted for the same time in the UK - The Worlds it may not be, but surely it will be Better than Nothing!

We are currently a whole lot more optimistic about holding our National Championships. These will take place at Class favourite - Brixham Yacht Club from 22 to 27th August. It seems like another world since the class was last there - in fact it was only 2 years ago - but we know we will have a great week and hopes are high that after a hiatus in 2020 we will be able to crown a new National Champion in 2021. With the 2022 Europeans scheduled for Torquay across the bay the following year it will be a good opportunity to get used to the conditions in Torbay and those taxing 30 degree shifts as the wind funnels down off the shore at the windward mark...

After the summer's excitement there's plenty more to look forwards to. We still have the RYA Junior Regional Champs (25/26 September) at Grafham, the Waldringfield Cadet Open (23/24 October), the Cadet Inlands (27/28 November) again at Grafham and somewhere in amongst all that we still aim to slot in the 3rd Cadet Classic - the Clemenson Nautilus Trophy. Amongst it all we know everything that's humanly possible is also being done to get the South Cerney Open slotted in too having seen it fall foul of covid restrictions more often than any of us care to remember.

So that's it - the UK Cadet Class is revved up and ready to go. The young sailors we know are desperate to get stuck in to some great action through 2021. All we need now is some normality, a bit of wind and plenty of sunshine. Bring it on!

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