by Ray Smith
The 84th Stonehaven Cup Regatta ended another successful staging of the famous sailing event that featured some of the finest Australian 12ft Cadet Dinghy sailors in a weeklong competition hosted by the Largs Bay Sailing Club.
Stonehaven Cup Champions for 2013 – the crew on board C175 ‘John Nielsen’ - 84th Stonehaven Cup Regatta
After a huge effort by all the volunteers and crews from King Island, Cairn Curran, RBYC and RMYS the fleet arrived safely in Adelaide. The boats were manhandled off the truck or out of shipping containers at the Largs Bay SC car park, and then rigged on the SC lawn. Strong winds kept us off the water for a shake-down sail, but we tried.
Billeting families picked up their kids and the rest went to the Seahaven Sea Scouts camp aka RBYC Cadet HQ1. Everyone settled in quickly and were extremely happy with their accommodation.
The Invitation Race was an opportunity for all the boats to get on the water, check gear and get into racing mode. We had 20 boats and 60 kids at the start line in light south-south easterly winds. The Gulf was almost flat like a lake and this was a great start for all the crews. The sea breeze built to 15-20Kn for the second race which gave everyone a taste of how conditions change (predictably) at Largs Bay.
With two invitation races and two races sailed, the competition for the 84th Stonehaven Cup was strong with a wide field of contenders positioned well after the two races.
Invitation Race 1 - The Richard Memphrey Memorial Trophy - first place was V174 Catani (RMYS), skippered by Leroy Addison, second place V186 Dorothy Linacre (RBYC) skippered by James Lapthorne, and third place V175 John Nielsen (RBYC) skippered by Pablo Borboa.
Invitation Race 2 - The Andrew Linacre Memorial Trophy and Medallions - first place V186 Dorothy Linacre (RBYC) skippered by James Lapthorne, second place V187 Cry Havoc (RBYC) skippered by Cliodhna Healy, third place T162 Aussie II (KIBC) skippered by Patrick Johnson.
Day one of the Stonehaven heats saw light winds again for the first heat building to 12Kts for the second. The crews were more familiar with the layout of the course and local conditions by this time with all our crews sailing very well.
Day two was another outstanding day on the water. Very close racing from all crews and it must be said that after 4 heats, everyone was about where they were expected to be in the standings – with a stand out exception – Pablo Borboa (RBYC) and his new crew on C175 John Nielsen. The results and progressive score had C175 John Nielsen in first place on 7 points, C160 Molly G (RMYS) equal second with C174 Catani (RMYS), C186 Dorothy Linacre on 16 points.
Outstanding work from all sailors and a wonderful day of sailing. All the kids got onto the water, even those not racing. Even our reserve kids went sailing each day on the spare boats sailing each day with a coach – an outstanding opportunity for these kids, each getting a personal sailing clinic. They will become ‘in-demand’ crews in the future after this outing.
Day's End - Shared with friends - 84th Stonehaven Cup Regatta
At the start of the last racet, Race 7, the result was between C175 'John Nielsen' and C186 'Dorothy Linacre' skippered by James Lapthorne with experienced Stonehaven crew of Rebekah Raven and Joe Hennessy (they were the winning crew last year). With just four points separating first and second, James had to be at least 5 places ahead of Pablo at the finish. James won the last race, so he couldn’t have done any better, but Pablo maintained his cool and finished second, sealing the outcome in his favour to become the 84th Stonehaven Cup Champion crew.
The race for third place was also watched keenly by the very large spectator fleet as there were five crews that could pick up that position in the final standings. At the finish line it was Stephen Everton and his crew of Josh Lord-Crisp and James Moeller from RMYS on C160 'Molly G' that held out all other contenders to take out third place in the race and third place overall the regatta.
He lead for the whole race and deserved to win, but as so often happens in sailing, a wind shift on the last upwind leg and sailing into the outgoing tide allowed the RBYC crews on 'John Nielsen' and 'Dorothy Linacre' to sail past and cross the line ahead.
This regatta will go down in Stonehaven history as one that was blessed with the best dinghy sailing weather and flat water that anyone could have wished for. While the wind direction was a bit fluky, it was mostly steady and with no extremes to contend with. This resulted in very close racing from all crews with the final race required to seal the result.
Immediately after the last heat, all crews changed up a gear, swapped boats and skippers and three short sharp up and back races were held for the Australian 12 Foot Cadet Open (adult skippers and or crews). This also provided an opportunity to showcase the classic wooden boats who sailed in the fleet as well.
We had 22 Cadet dinghies and 70 skippers and crew at the start line for the Cadet Dinghy Open (a couple of boats sailed four up) and the target next year is for thirty boats at the start. A wonderful fun series of races that allowed everyone to let their hair down after another outstanding Stonehaven Cup regatta.
The Stonehaven Cup regatta is the high point in the Cadet Dinghy Youth Sailing Program calendar. It is a unique program because the proven displacement hull design allows three kids or an adult coach and a couple of kids in each boat during training.
Close Racing at the wing mark - 84th Stonehaven Cup Regatta
The program uses a mentoring based instruction system which means that each boat has a mix of experience onboard also providing the experienced skippers leadership and team development skills. Crews learn to manage themselves as well as their mates and look out for each other in a way that good crews do on much larger boats.
While seamanship, boat handling, race-craft, teamwork and leadership are important, so too are inclusiveness and respect – all important values that need to be reinforced in the electronic age we live in.
The control systems on board a 12 Foot Cadet are very similar in complexity to much larger yachts which means that once the Cadet crews master the equipment on board they are competent on just about any other class of boat. The teenage participants also learn about boat care and how to look after the club supplied boats with an instructor guided maintenance period typically during May.
As a strictly controlled one-design class all boats are virtually identical in performance and the real sailing skills are emphasized as the crews learn the finer points of sail and boat trim. These skills are recognised pre-requisites for sailing in many other classes from 29er’s to keel boats.
The Cadet Youth Sailing Program ,/b>
The club owned boats are just the starting point for the youth program developed around the Cadet. The beginners go racing on their first few times out, with an experienced skipper or (typically with an adult) on the helm.
Under the guidance of YA accredited instructors, the club owned Cadet dinghies and their crews race and train from August to April each year. The first half of the season focuses on getting back onto the water with basic training and preparation for the annual national championship, the Stonehaven Cup. The second half of the season focuses on basic and advanced sail training, crewing and seamanship.
As a recognised one design training class, the specifications of the Australian 12 Foot Cadet dinghy are tightly controlled. This ensures competitive racing and controlled cost of ownership and maintenance. Close adherence to the specifications also allows parts and rigging to be interchanged in the unfortunate event of breakage or damage and keeps fleet management simple and low cost.
In a one design class of boat with such a heritage as the 12 Foot Cadet, the history of the development is interesting in its own right. Originally fitted with a dipping lugsail rig, the bermudan rig was developed to simplify sail handling, and side buoyancy tanks were added to increase safety and ensure a fast recovery to stay in the race in the event of a capsize. To sail the new generation 12 Foot Cadet is a delight for all sailors; simply put she is a beautiful boat to sail. The boats are maintained as a fleet with no exotic materials or expensive parts – everything is standard and low tech.
Return on Investment for the Club
The program delivers competent crews for their keel boat fleet; the juniors learn seamanship and competition racing; and they are developing club members for life. The Cadet youth sailing program is a ready-made program fully documented with policy, protocol and specifications, recommended parts lists and build notes. It is about as optimized as a youth program can be and after 88+ years, looking as good as it ever did.
Some of Australia’s foremost sailors have made their start in sailing through the Cadet programs at their respective clubs. Respected elder statesmen of Australian sailing such as Andrew Palfrey, Jock Sturrock MBE, Sir James Hardy KBE OBE, Nick Chapman, Ian Quartermain, Tony Manford, Warren Young, Howard Pigott, Glenn Stanway and just about every one of the Muir clan from Tasmania.
The target group for the program is teenagers, boys and girls, typically about 12 to 18 years old. It serves to introduce young people to sailing that engenders a lifelong love of the sport, at whatever level they choose to be whether cruising once a year or to aspirations of Olympic competition.
Cadet Fleet at Largs Bay SC - 84th Stonehaven Cup Regatta
The program encourages active participation in racing at senior level through one design and keelboat supporters. It promotes engagement the broader club community and hence long term membership of their club. At host clubs, Cadets are encouraged to progress into keelboats and can also participate in the club’s performance classes.
Parents enjoy the program too. They get to see their children develop as they learn to manage risk in their adventures. Their self esteem and confidence grows under the guidance of different role models from their home or school. They learn to respect their friends and the equipment they use. All crews are expected to participate in the annual maintenance period during the month of May when all spars are rubbed back and polished; timber bright-work is sanded and varnished. There is always the look of pride in a job well done at the end of May as they take a couple of months off.
After 88 years, the New Generation Australian 12 Foot Cadet Dinghy youth sailing program is well and truly time tested and still produces a strong teenager engagement. It is all about fun, adventure, excitement, teamwork, physical challenge, leadership and of course, social.