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GBR Worlds Cadet Team pre-worlds training

by Neil Collingridge 5 Dec 2022 20:13 GMT

When back in May 2022 the GBR Cadet Team was first selected for the 2022 World Championships in Melbourne we were starring at spiralling container costs, out of control fuel prices, and global supply chain issues which would threaten the boats even arriving on time.

Scare stories of classes shipping boats around the world late were rife and it was for once a difficult decision whether or not to commit to compete. We had little idea how much we would all be in for or how we would pay for it and the last thing we wanted was to arrive in Melbourne with the boats still sitting in a container in Singapore or impounded like Novak Djokovic. But the UK Cadet Class is fully vaccinated and nothing if not determined and resourceful so a plan was hatched: Cinderella would go to the Ball.

We would buy a container (actually Frank did to sell it later I hope), we would ship boats stupidly early, fundraise like crazy, find sponsors, run auctions of promises, wash cars in sailing club car parks, bake cakes, make cushions and bags out of old sails (how PC is that?), run wreath making workshops... somehow we would pull together as a team and make it happen. The 26 sailors where fantastic and have worked so hard and have all made pledges to do great things too - Paying it Forwards (litter picks, talks at schools, training for the less fortunate, planting trees etc, etc) and all the while they have trained hard together to make sure they travel to Melbourne in 10 days time with the best chance to do themselves proud.

So alongside all of the above the Team has run 3 training weekends at Shotley Sailing Club in Harwich Harbour (a huge thank-you to them and their Sailing Secretary Alan Bint in particular). The last of these took place over the weekend of 3/4th December in a fresh easterly straight off the North Sea and plummeting temperatures (Tom Stewart and I know as we had to jump in but that's a story not for these pages). The trainers were joined for the weekend by the legend that is ex-Cadet Class National Coach, Michael McNamara and what a privilege. For those who've never listened to Mike Mac in full flow it's hard to describe what and how he teaches. Perhaps its best to just say that the room full of sailors aged 8 to 17 are hanging off his every word... but also that the room fills up with the parents as well, sailors and non sailors alike just drinking it all in.

No one knows quite how many "Golden Rules" Mike has but we know when he says "here's my Golden Rule..." it's worth paying attention ("if in doubt let it out - ease, ease, ease" and who knew waves could be both our enemy (upwind) and our best friend (downwind)). We cant really thank him enough and know he will be watching for the results over Christmas. Matt White too - he's never really grown out of Cadets! - and his relentless enthusiasm too has seen us through. Michael and his helpers really put the sailors through their paces to sharpen everything up and so after 3 weekends you can now really see the difference.

The sailors have been getting together in the evenings too - a book launch by their sponsor Golden Duck Publishing, where they stood up and made their pledges; indoor climbing in Ipswich (who thought that could turn into competitive sport?) and all the while gelling as a team who, whilst they will all sailing as individual boats at the Worlds, will be able to support each other and hopefully deliver to the best of their abilities.

The container has happily now arrived at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. We've got great sponsors on board - in no particular order Golden Duck, Northern Trust, Vaikobi, Elavation Platforms and Kestrel Liner Agencies - there's no doubt we wouldn't have made it without them. THANKYOU! The sailors have some wonderful team kit so they will travel as proud members of the Cadet GBR Team. We've lined up a local coach in Australia who has promised to become an honorary "Pom" for the championships and the sailors and their parents start flying out as early as this week. It feels like we've already been on a journey to get here but the reality is the journey is only just starting.

Back in October the sailors were reminded by Lady Carla Stanley "First and foremost you are going to a regatta - its not a holiday" - that's front of mind....But they also know how fortunate they are to be about to embark on what will be an experience of a lifetime. We will endeavour to keep our UK followers updated here on Yachts and Yachting and on social media - follow us on twitter, facebook or instagram (GBR Cadets or @gbrcadets). The Australian Nationals start on 19th December and the Worlds on 26th December running through to 2nd January.

Worlds Fleet
9876 Robbie Stewart & Dylan McArdle
9877 Mish Collingridge & Rhona Enkel
9964 Sophia Sfaxi & Immy Sherwood
9977 Sarah McEwan & Holly Jones
9994 Will Shepherd & Annabel Shepherd
10001 Toby Bush & Kemmel Thorogood
10002 Tom Walker & Ava Stoddart
10012 Ed Fletcher & Alex Enkel
10032 Amelia Mayhew & Hettie Thorogood
10076 Amelie Whitehouse & Maddy Sherwood

Promotional Fleet
9378 Tom Shepherd & Tom Stoddart
9985 Gwen Thorogood & Josh Davidson
10003 Oscar Bush & Dom McArdle

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