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UK National Cadet Class - 2022 Update

by Neil Collingridge 22 Feb 09:32 PST
Cadet sailing in Chichester Harbour © Lee Potteron

The Cadet Class closed out the 2021 season with continuing and renewed optimism. The last two seasons have of course been tough to organise and at times tougher still on the young sailors but they go by the motto "you'll never forget your first Cadet" and their enthusiasm is totally infectious.

Despite Covid-19, 2021 still had some real highlights - an excellent Nationals at Brixham which was decided on countback on the very last race; great open meetings at Frensham Pond, South Cerney and Waldringfield - Bish,Bash,Bosh one day events when Covid demanded but always better than nothing. A new regional structure for Class winter training is now in place and working well and fledgling squadrons being established or growing at Rickmansworth and Pevensey Bay.

So, Covid and Omicron permitting, what does 2022 have in store? For one thing the Class is celebrating its 75th year - quite a landmark - 75 years of sailors having fun, enjoying competitive sailing and making friends for life.

Training in the East, South and West is continuing apace through the winter months with some monster turnouts of new joiners reported and we are hearing good feedback also from Pevensey where the Cadets have moved to their inland winter quarters at Piddinghoe. Latest on the training front was a cracking, windy weekend at Itchenor (it's often very cold but there's always a great Sunday lunch for the Parents which was some compensation for there being too much wind to sail on Sunday) and we have the 2 weekends in March (5/6th and 12/13th) at Grafham Watersport Centre rapidly approaching, where the sailors stay on site and parents go elsewhere! These Grafham "residentials" have always been popular but used to be exclusive to a small group who were in the National Junior Squad: under our new regional structure they are now open to all and we have a great turnout with some cracking coaches.

The Cadet Class has always been active at the RYA Dinghy Show and whilst the venue is moving to Farnborough International this year we expect to be once again pretty high profile (February 26/27th). Please come along and try the Cadet Simulator to see if you can beat the record for a spinnaker hoist, gybe and drop. You have to be Cadet aged to win the competition but you can be any age to jump on board and show off your skills!

The racing season gets off to a bang in March at the second of the Grafham residentials when one day will be a 4 race event to kick off the Spring Championships. The other 2 Spring Champs events are scheduled for Pevensey (April 23/24th) and the National Sailing Academy at Weymouth and Portland (May 7/8th) and when that's all done and dusted we will have selected the GBR Cadet Team that will be invited to compete for the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia at Christmas 2022.

Alongside these events we also have scheduled a number of Open Meetings at the various squadrons, the RYA Regional Junior Championships at Grafham (this year June 18/19th rather than September), and the ever popular Waldringfield Cadet Week (26-29th August).

The undoubted highlight of the Summer will be the Nationals followed by the European Championships at Royal Torbay Yacht Club which run from July 24th to August 5th. This will be the UK Class' first taste of international competition since the pandemic started and is keenly anticipated after not being able to get to Garda last summer. It will be interesting to see where we are at as a fleet but I'm confident we will as always have some sailors attacking the podium positions.

So as always there's plenty to get involved with. With regatta fleet coaching for the less experienced at all the events everyone is very welcome to attend and will find there are lots of welcoming sailors and parents on hand to give advice.

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