The Cadet Squadron

A UK Cadet Squadron is a club based group of Cadet sailors of 3 or more boats. This is usually the first place to try sailing a Cadet. At your local club you will find a Squadron Captain who manages the sailing with other parent volunteers. When you make your first visit to explore your nearest club it’s a good idea to contact them first. This will ensure you get a more complete picture of what’s on offer and how easy it is to start. The Class Association will support the Squadrons with help on training and can loan association owned boats for those wanting to give it a go. – See the dropdown menu for information on your nearest Squad.


The Cadet Class is a fully recognised class by the RYA. They will help with coaching support for our World Team and International events and also encourage and support the growth of the class. The Cadet is an ideal pathway to the RYA Supported Youth Classes. Ideally placed to train youngsters in true double-handed sailing leading to either the 420 or 29er.


The International Cadet Class was formed in 1947 after Jack Holt who was a junior race trainer designed the first Cadet boat. Since then, thousands of children have had their first introduction to sailing via the Cadet including several past and current Olympic Sailing medallists.

The Cadet boat is uniquely the double handed three sail dinghy sailed and raced worldwide by Juniors ONLY. Nobody over the age of 18 can compete in a Cadet event. In UK it is a RYA Junior Pathway class of boat sailed by two sailors, a helm and a crew. The big advantage of this is that the crew can get to sail straight away under the guidance of an older and more experienced helm. The helms will often have a great deal of experience and knowledge which they then pass down to their new crew and therefore ensure rapid progress for beginners. Typically every helm started as a crew so the helm knows the help and guidance their young crew needs. The Cadet provides a three sail experience where the helm and the crew must work together as a team to obtain the best results. Crews will start at 8 or 9 years old and then begin to helm at 12 or 13 but this is largely dependent on size and ability. The class finishes for children when they turn 18.

The Cadet Dinghy

The Cadet is known as a one-design boat and therefore all Cadets have the same, strictly controlled measurements. The boat itself is 3.2m long, weighs 54 kg and has a sail area of 4.55 / 4.65 square metres.
The boat was purposely designed to be too small for an adult to sail but with all the attributes of a racing dinghy, including a spinnaker. For many years all Cadets were made of wood but for some time craft have been made of glass fibre which of course means low maintenance. Both wooden and glass fibre are sailed competitively.

International Cadet

The Cadet Class is not just restricted to racing in the UK.  Each year a team is selected following a series of Selector events to represent the UK by competing in the World Championships.  Non-selected boats may attend and compete in the promotional fleet.  The World Championships have taken place in Australia, Argentina, India, UK, Holland and many other European countries. The 2014 World Championships are due to be hosted by the UK at the 2012 Olympic Sailing venue of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour. The International rules and regulations of the class are run by the International Cadet Class Association (ICCA).
As soon as helms and crews are comfortable with the basic skills of sailing, the clubs and the UKNCCA will encourage them to try their hand at racing.  Firstly most clubs will host an Open Meeting with visitors arriving from all over the country. Then there are the UKNCCA run Selectors, including Inland Championships and National Championships,  where around 70 cadets will gather to compete for the many trophies and prizes. These events provide a fantastic opportunity for children and their parents to meet new friends and enjoy the various social activities while participating in a lively outdoor sport.

Cadet racing is not just about sailing, it is about being part of a team and learning transferable life skills. Cadet sailors not only go on to do well in sailing but become successful in their chosen careers too.  Sailing Cadets is about fun, friendship, teamwork, fitness, building confidence and accepting new challenges.
Join us and be part of the most successful junior sailing class in the world.

You never forget your first Cadet!

Corinthian Otters
Corinthian Otters

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