After months of meticulous planning which became a seemingly never-ending series of hurdles to jump and sometimes felt like we might never get there, Waldringfield’s Cadet Squadron hosted a joint Cadet and U21 RS200 Open Weekend over 3 days from 28th to 30th August.
The Squadron’s parents have been running racing since the start of the lifting of lockdown, initially with Cadets sailed single-handed adorned with milk bottles at the tops of masts, and then moving swiftly to double-handed sailing as soon as the guidance permitted. Often run informally by parents from the back of a rib, this became known as “Better Than Nothing Racing” although as it happens sometimes it was very much better than that – our Cadet Weekend was a case in point.
With the focus on running safely and responsibly in this new Covid world the weekend was all about the sailing with shore activities curtailed, briefings, registration etc all done online and a big emphasis on “Disperse don’t Congregate”. Most of the time, most of the competitors and their supporters rose wonderfully to the challenge.
22 Cadets entered including visitors from Frensham Pond and South Cerney in The Cotswolds and they were joined by 10 RS200s sailed almost entirely by Waldringfield’s ex-cadet sailors.
Friday was light, shifty and a race officers nightmare so just 2 races were sailed – in the cadets Isobel Stewart and Tom Krailing won the first by pipping a bunch of boats right at the finish, and Sam Goult and Sarah McEwan won the second. The RS200s were dominated by Archie Penn and Alex Bell Jones with 2 bullets.
Saturday was an entirely different kettle of fish – Breeze on – reaching a solid 25 knots at one point with plenty of thrills and spills. Hannah Carruthers and George Cox Oliff won the first cadet race with Ethan Davey and Alex Enkel the next 2. In the RS200s the rather taller Harry Chatterton and Aaron Chadwick came to the fore with 3 dominant displays in the breeze. What a sight – 30 plus boats charging downwind flat out, kites up, avoiding each other and blowing away the cobwebs accumulated over too many weeks of lockdown. That the young sailors were managing so well was underlined when we learned that adult club racing had been abandoned for the day because of the boisterous conditions.
Sunday more of the same really. Still dogs off chains, still challenging to all but some more great racing. Ethan and Alex took two more Cadet wins to secure first overall. Hannah and George took the third win and Mish Collingridge and Rhona Enkel the fourth race in marginally more moderate conditions. The series was complete and the sailors were knackered! Harry and Aaron continued to the boss the RS fleet with 3 wins; Archie and Alex prevailing in the last.
Joint Waldringfield Cadet Class Captains Libby Bush and Mish Collingridge commented:
“As the cadet class, we have just finished our first event of the year. The conditions were very challenging and were surprisingly cold for the August bank holiday weekend. Despite the cold northerly wind we had, it was a massively successful event. It was great to see so many boats on the water, from new sailors to even some visitors from South Cerney Sailing Club and Frensham Sailing Club.
The event started on Friday, where we had very shifty and light conditions which were accompanied with lightning and heavy rain, this was a struggle for the race committee. Fortunately, after the 180 degrees shift, we managed to squeeze in two good races before the wind died. Saturday was very windy with strong gusts of 25 knots, we managed to complete 3 races and came in with a much needed hot chocolate. Then came Sunday, as we launched it was proving to be another windy day, however as the day went on the wind started to ease off. Thanks to the quick and organized race committee we managed to complete 4 races to finish off the series which was tiring to say the least.
It was great to be back on the water despite the lack of social events. Thank you to everyone who helped organise the event to follow government guidelines and to make it lots of fun. Waldringfield Cadets in 2020? It’s certainly been better than nothing!”