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Cadet Coaching and Racing at Solway Yacht Club

by Emma McRobert 29 Apr 13:50 BST 27-28 April 2024

There was quite a buzz about Kippford at the weekend seeing the start of the cadet coaching and racing. Whilst there has been some club racing over the last few weekends, this weekend was all about the cadets.

The fair winds and sunshine made for great conditions for a group of five 9-11 year olds. Under the watchful eye of RYA Senior Instructor April Whiteley, the cadets took to the water in Picos; two in a boat to build on last year's skills and blow away the cobwebs. They progressed well over the course of the weekend all sailing by themselves on the Sunday. One cadet said, "I capsized the boat, but it was fine, April believed in me, which gave me the confidence and determination to get the boat upright myself".

The sun continued to shine on Sunday and the racing kicked off for the more advanced cadets. It was great to see the friendship forged over the last few years, rekindled within minutes. Organised by Training Officer, Emma McRobert, the cadet series is aimed as a steppingstone towards the main racing series and to ensure there is an element of fun to racing. A "buddy" system was introduced where cadets had to work with each other, thinking about the course, their start, talking tactics, learning and supporting each other on and off the water. After a short briefing 12 boats made their way out to the start hut. The coaches were able to observe and take notes during the racing to provide a valuable learning debrief back off the water.

There are four dates in the series and a theme for each. Sunday's theme was mark rounding with ribbons and Haribo's attached to one of the marks; making cadets focus on their approach and rounding. With a variety of boats taking part there is a handicap system, so even if you are first over the water, you must wait for the race results! But there is more to sailing that just winning the race, so a points system has also been introduced for sportsmanship, putting their skills into action and progression... points could also be deducted! Making sure there was the fun element, and all can be played for, even if you aren't having your best race. A fantastic start to the series, and we can't wait to see what the season brings for these fantastic kids. A huge thanks to everyone who made this happen. Next race day is 8th June, more sunshine please!

In the meantime it's the Club's Open Day on on Saturday 11th May when the Club looks forward to welcoming the local community to sample the delights of all types of boating in our beautiful surroundings.

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