by Ray Smith
The 85th Stonehaven Cup Regatta is being held at Royal Brighton Yacht Club, from January 4th, 2014. The Stonehaven Cup Regatta is the national championship for the Australian 12 Foot Cadet Dinghy and is the longest continuously contested junior/youth one-design dinghy trophy in Australian yachting. This season this annual regatta will be managed by the Trustee club of the Stonehaven Cup, Royal Brighton Yacht Club, where the Australian 12 Foot Cadet is the basis of their hugely successful youth sail training program for teenagers typically between the ages of 12 and 18 years. Indeed, no other youth sail training program compares.
Stonehaven Cup Regatta
A special characteristic of the 12 Foot Cadet dinghy is its capacity to carry a crew of three teenage sailors. Most crews are made up of a competent and skilled skipper, a moderately skilled forward hand, and in some cases, a beginner main-hand. Not all young race crews are of high performance standard. Crews are coached over many years to steadily build their skills to a regatta winning standard. This process makes our program more available to the average young club-member/sailor, particularly those with little or no previous sailing experience.
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.
The dinghy itself has been substantially modernised to current standards. Optional modifications approved by National Council include a bermudan rig, side buoyancy tanks, a swing blade rudder, an alloy centreplate, and a beach trolley, with the rules of the Stonehaven Cup permitting any combination of the old and new equipment to be used in competition.
At the time of this release, entries have been received from five clubs which will result in over 60 young sailors on the start line in race one on January 4th, 2014.
The accompanying photograph shows several RBYC crews practicing their spinnaker work in preparation for the regatta. Any clubs wishing to know more about the youth program at RBYC are encouraged to contact the program manager – Ray Smith 0418 391 324.
After nearly 90 years, the Australian 12 Foot Cadet Dinghy youth 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.