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Cadet European Championship at Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by Neil Collingridge 8 Aug 2022 20:37 BST 23 July - 6 August 2022

Sponsored by Vaikobi, Allen, Crux Asset Management, and McNamara Sails

After a much needed day of rest following the UK Nationals things started to get going in earnest for the Cadet Europeans in Torquay. A sailors parade through the harbour with the flags of 7 competing nations, a live band - Sweet Caroline anyone?, and a small Ukrainian team who had made it to Torquay to really lift the spirits. We are indebted to all those who helped make that happen.

The wind shifts and pressure were no less tricky to master than the previous week and on occasions those banging out to a corner were rewarded royally, only to be punished next time when the opposite side paid. After a quick practice race, Race 1 kicked off on a sparking Torbay and saw a Czech boat sailed by Tereza and Anna Marie Ditetova take the win from Maciej Cesarz and Piotr Buch (POL) and Sebastian Czerwinski and Mateusz (POL). Still fairly light winds for race 2 where this time Loic Schoonooghe and Emiel Van Daele (BEL) took the lead ahead of Piotr Cendrowski and Maksymilian Aambroziak (POL) and Oliver Brands and Hannelore Cammaer (BEL). Even at this stage it was clear that the week was likely to be a high scoring regatta - no boat in the 83 boat fleet had managed 2 scores in the top 10 and already some highly fancied boats were staring at something they would hope to be able to discard as the week went on.

On to day 2; sun still shining, wind still patchy - a three race day and after an abandoned first beat and a reset to cater for the shift in wind to the south west, out up front again in race 3 were Tereza and Anna Marie. They had scored a 52nd in race 2 showing how vital it was to manage risk particularly up the first beat. In second and building a rather more consistent score line were Loic and Emile, and third (and similarly consistent) were recently crowned UK National Champions, Will Shepherd and Joe Mycroft. Race 4 got going quickly and this time Will and Joe took first place, ahead of Tereza and Anna Marie 2nd and Toby Bush and Kemmel Thorogood (GBR) 3rd. The wind was holding nicely and it was warm and sunny so despite the time pushing on they were off again for race 5 - new leading pack this time as the race was won by Moritz Schroder and Kai Zolondek (GER) followed by Filip Nowak and Olaf Plichta (POL) with Ludek Ruzicka and Tomas Jincka (CZE) in 3rd. Consistency as ever was hard to find and the top sailors were finding that try as they might to manage their risk, at the top of each first beat most of the boats in the leading group had banged one corner or another to get there.

Day 3 - more of the same really. Sun, tricky tricky pressure bands although the promise of a bit more wind and a three race day in prospect once again. In race 6 Loic and Emile showed bouncebackability to win having been dismasted by a broken jib strop the previous day. Second were Mish Collingridge and Rhona Enkel (GBR), also in recovery mode from a DSQ on day 1, and third were Zuzanna Ostrowska and Alicja Labanowska (POL) also making a move into the top 10 overall. Race 7 and a win for Toby and Kemmel followed by 2 sets of club mates Ines Green and Tom Krailing (GBR) and Mish and Rhona. And then straight into race 8 where Loic and Emile again got into their stride to win from Will and Joe who were still banging in top results race after race. Third were Tereza and Anna Marie showing once again great speed with their 4th top 3 result of the week but with a scoreline with too many high scoring results as well. So ahead of the much needed layday, Will and Joe held the overall lead on 27pts from Loic and Emile on 40pts and Mish and Rhona on 42pts.

Rumour has it that some sailors did some activities away from Torquay on the layday but others no doubt slept and chilled out ready for the last 2 days of racing - many are teenagers after all! The forecast yet again was for more light and shifty winds but worst still North Westerly more or less blowing off the town seafront in the direction described in Jim Saltonstall's venue guide as "best bring a prayer book". For the last 2 days of racing that indeed was the dish served up. If the 166 cadet sailors had found things tricky up to this point they had something more in spades to deal with. Unfazed, Loic and Emilie took their 4th race win in race 9 from Martin Ludwig Rothe and Marc Swientek (GER) who bagged second place but rather regrettably suffered a scoring penalty as the measurement sticker on their spinnaker pole had "dropped involuntarily". Third were Zuzanna and Alicja, also starting to string some consistent results together. Race 10 was similarly random in nature - none of the top 3 overall could get into the top 10 for this race - winners were Adam Winkler and Berenika Cvikrova (CZE) from Ludek and Tomas with Oliver and Hannelore third.

This left things delicately poised over night. Will and Joe (36pts) still out in front but with a reduced points difference over Loic and Emile (41pts). Mish and Rhona (54pts) still theoretically in touch but needing a lot of results to go their way. If Will and Joe were concerned they didn't show it - a 5th followed by a 2nd in the final race saw them through as worthy European Champions after the toughest of series - whilst their nearest rivals had tough days on the water and which earlier discards left them counting. Race 11 and you had to wonder. At the windward mark not one of the top 10 to round were in the Top 10 overall. After a lap and a half to sort things out the race was won yet again by Thereza and Anna Marie - their third race win of the week - with Adam and Berenika 2nd and Moritz and Kai, 4th. And so one final start - race 12 - and one final pair of race winners Miguel Toro and Julia Schaffrath (BEL) took to the front and held it to the finish although pressed hard by the new European Champions, Will and Joe, who we could see fancied finishing with a flourish! Third were Fiete Krukes and Julian Mali (GER) scoring by some way their best result of the series. Back in the pack there was still a lot going on - Mish and Rhona came from deep on the second beat to hold on to 3rd overall by the narrowest of margins, as did Loic and Emile - both boats knowing their last race result was a counter.

So that was that. Will and Joe came ashore flying the Union Flag and with We are the Champions blazing out from a hastily donated Bluetooth speaker. They were carried in their Cadet - GBR 9994 "May Contain Nuts" - up the ramp in front of the other competitors. A wonderful gathering of Cadet Class dinghies at Royal Torbay Yacht Club. A lovely prize-giving on the harbour quay surrounded by trailers, boats and RIBs from all across Europe. It had been the most challenging of weeks (of fortnights indeed!) but a great demonstration of what Cadet sailing is all about.....competitive of course but making memories and friends for life.

A word of thanks to the event sponsors - Vaikobi, Allen, Crux Asset Management and Long term Cadet sailmaker and former UK lead coach Michael MacNamara also generously gave a spinnaker for the winning boat and a jib for the Class to raffle. Without all their help this event simply wouldn't have been what it was. Great prizes and assistance to help keep costs under control. Your support is appreciated by sailors and parents alike. And to Royal Torbay Yacht Club and its many volunteers who gave their time generously to help the UKNCCA put this event on.

Next up on the international calendar are the 2022 World Championships at Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia over Christmas and New Year. If I may highjack this report to plug the UK team's fundraising efforts - we've a container full of boats and equipment to pay for. Do please have a look at the following and see if you can help - every penny helps!

Full results can be found here.

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