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Cadet Regatta Fleet open meeting at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Christian Hill 28 Mar 19:55 GMT 23 March 2024

The future is bright

14 boats arrived at a very windy Fishers Green SC for the regatta fleet open, an open meeting for young Cadet sailors to learn their craft without the added pressures of sailing in a big fleet.

Conditions on the day would best be described as challenging, with trees bending to breaking point and white horses streaming across the lake at times. While your author and RO considered if the event should go ahead due to the conditions, the courageous "no fear" Cadet fleet were scoffing bacon rolls and hastily rigging up their vessels, asking "how many races", "are using the whole lake", "what's the starting sequence" - not one question of "if" we are racing but when!

After a short briefing explaining if you're going fast you must give out "wa-hoooo" - it's the rules - coached racing would be offered and assistance for capsized boats given, without fear of being DSQ'd. The young racers kitted up and like the warriors they are marched into battle with the elements never taking a backward step.

Under the watchful eye of the rescue team full of ex Cadet sailors and parents - Clauida Mancini (7686 Snitch), Paul Buckley (8512 Otazel), Roberto Mancini (9026/7686) Lance (not an ex-Cadet but now part of the extended family) - the fleet took to the water, a simple triangle course was set, with a troublesome gybe mark to really test the nerves and boat control.

Race 1 was under way 8855 Hugh Voysey & Hannah Muir-Wood from Frensham Pond executed plan "A" perfectly to win the start and lead start to finish, with second going to 9243 Emily Buckley & Isla Kennedy from Corinthian Otters, and third to 9026 Imogen Bush & Jasper Bush from Waldringfield SC.

Race 2 got under way with the conditions slightly easing, but still with gusts that could swat anyone over. It was another clean start, and hitting the front on this occasion 7279 Anna Thomas & Amelie Pedley of Rickmansworth SC, closely followed by 6842 Jemma Berry & Daisy Cox joining forces of Frensham SC and Fishers Green SC, with third place going to 9297 Anthony Ward (who missed the first race due to a swimming competition) crewed by Alvy Jones.

As fatigue set in and energy levels were dropping, the rescue teams became over-worked in such strong conditions, 7012 Patrick Salvini & Carlos suffered a snapped centreboard, while 9360 Jo Mycroft, crewed by the youngest sailor on the water Hugh Muir-wood, did amazingly well keeping the boat upright for as long as they did.

As the fleet returned to the clubhouse to top up the energy levels, lunch was served by ex Cadet parents Jane & Kevin O'Brien (7337) and Jessica Mancini (9026).

With impeccable timing by the race team of ex Cadet Christian Hill (8419 Cadilac) and Edwin Buckley as a squall of unbelievable intensity came through, thankfully we were all inside at the time.

After lunch and no real change in the conditions, the fleet took to the water once again, 8855 Hugh & Hannah fully refreshed hit the front again and took the win, the ever consistent 9243 Emily & Isla second, and third went to 7279 Anna & Amelie.

Top speed record of the day went to 9385 Joseph Bowd & Matthew Corrigan of Corinthian Otters, possibly not always under full control or in the right direction at times, but certainly the fastest and possibly the most exciting to watch, and the ones with the biggest "Wa-hoooo".

Several spinnakers had been popping up all day, confidence was now soaring through the fleet, everyone was much closer together and every kite making an appearance. There were boats hurtling towards the gybe mark with youthful fearlessness exuberance, and superb kite work by 9576 Sammy Buckley & Orla Bowd.

Race 4, all to play for, the fleet all jockeying for position at the pin end - after a bit of coming together 8855 carried out a 720, while 9456 George Corrigan & Gracie Jones of Corinthian Otters, took the decision to leave the pack to it and take the clean air, which paid dividends as they hit the front.

You could throw a sheet over the chasing pack, so closely packed together were they - 8 boats rounding the leeward mark in +20kt gusts while completing kite drops, shows how far the Regetta fleet have come.

A final short beat to the finish line for our weary racers. Taking their maiden Cadet race win 9456 George & Gracie with a big cheer and a high five, 6842 negotiated the tricky leeward mark round to take second, with 9243 Emily & Isla taking the final podium position, then a close fourth for Zoe Thomas, teaming up for the final races with Joe Mycroft, as Anna Deywer had used all her energy in race 1 and 2 understandably.

Special mention to the happiest boat on the water 9358 Archie Hutchinson & Arthur Bullen in their first open meeting, and Arthur third time in a Cadet, still laughing as they swam after their capsized boat late in the day, and finishing every race - a great effort.

The standard and enthusiasm shown by entire Regatta fleet was amazing to see in such strong conditions that others (me included) would possibly not have gone out. The young racers didn't wavier or complain, kitting up and committing without question; it took great courage.

The clubhouse was buzzing afterwards, talk of epic capsizes, gear breakages, near misses, supersonic speed, 100% fearless gybes.

There were three different race winners, and four different clubs in the top four positions. Good luck for the rest of the season.

Podium positions: (full results will appear shortly on club website)

1st 9243 Emily Buckley/Isla Kennedy, Corinthian Otters
2nd 6842 Jemma Berry/Daisy Cox, Frensham/Fishers Green
3rd 7279 Anna Thomas/Amelie Pedley, Rickmansworth
4th 9456 George Corrigan/Gracie Jones, Corinthian Otters
5th 8855 Hugh Voysey/Hannah Muir-wood, Frensham

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