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British Cadet Team at the Cadet Worlds in Melbourne - Day 1

by Neil Collingridge 28 Dec 2022 14:40 GMT 26 December 2022 - 2 January 2023

There are many clichés written about the first day of a regatta - "you can't win it on the first day but you can lose it" being front and centre I guess. So there's always a degree of trepidation as things kick off in earnest.

We started down at RYCV with the wind straight out of the North and after a blustery night no more than 5 knots at 9.30am but it wasn't long before the front started rolling across bringing welcome relief from the heat of the last two days. Think more Shotley than Williamstown and you're going the right way. As things picked up the wind went through fully 180 degrees and was strengthening all the while - not quite to the storm forecast we'd seen but windy none the less. Rumours started that we might not get afloat but they were rapidly quashed when the latest forecast dropped the gale warning and the PRO displayed delta for both Worlds and Promo fleet. Game on!

The race track was moved from Bravo course which we'd used for all the Aussie Nationals races to Alpha course - for the Brits, untried and untested and tucked up under the Melbourne skyline and towards the top of the vast Port Philip Bay right next to the container terminal. Whilst this meant a slightly shorter course than was perhaps ideal the greater benefit came from better protection from the waves which in just 3m of depth can become pretty tricky in a little International Cadet Class dinghy. A wise decision.

Maybe 15 knots as things got under way but clear bands coming down the track and waves building all the time. At the first windward Toby Bush and Kemmel Thorogood enjoyed the lead by a short head from Will and Annabel Shepherd and Mish Collingridge and Rhona Enkel in third - GBR 1,2,3 at the top - great to see. There was no stopping Toby and Kem - they are quick in the breeze and likely to stay so if their daily visits to Nando's continue. A great first bullet for them ahead of an Aussie and Will and Annabel in third. Ed Fletcher and Alex Enkel came through strongly on the second beat and overtook Mish and Rhona who had a 720 to do for a port and starboard "incident" but these two rounded out the GBR positions in the top 10 with 7th and 8th respectively.

The wind (and waves) continued to build for race 2. Mish and Rhona initially looked best placed up the first leg but Toby and Kemmel hit hard right and used their power to pull through to again lead at the top. Theirs was a great display of heavy weather sailing - never really challenged for the lead and taking their second bullet - back to the the clichés of how to start a regatta; we may need to write a new one!

Things were by now getting pretty fruity - plenty of boats in the leading pack and elsewhere taking a dip (swimming weather really was yesterday) and the final leg to the leeward mark was one of those classic flat out Cadet spinnaker reaches where the difference between sending it and not made for huge gains or losses. Mish and Rhona rode the wild horse all the way to the bottom and closed right up on two Aussie boats who'd started the reach maybe 75m ahead to give themselves the opportunity to tack inside both and lay the finish in 5th - 2 places gained at the death. GBR's final top 5 of the day.

So that's it for Day 1. Toby and Kem have had a blinder and lead with 5 days racing still to come. Mish and Rhona and Will and Annabel are also in the top 5 so also good places to start. A word for those who had less luck - this is a long regatta and there's huge opportunity to make gains and losses from here. Some may be frustrated but everyone should take heart - this is a World Championship after all and the conditions were challenging to say the least today (26knts recorded on the Committee Boat!). Plenty of road ahead I'd say.

Our Promo fleet sailors had their work cut out too - its chocker block with Aussie boats with 3 GBR boats joining the fray. Gwen Thorogood and Josh Davidson lie 7th overall after 2 top 10 finishes... again a long road ahead.

More information on the event website,

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