The International Cadet is renowned around the world — especially in four Australian states — as a great class for kids to learn the sport, for them to compete at international level and as we’ve also seen it’s quite often a chance for them to experience sailing two-up for the first time.
Throughout the International Cadet National Championships at the Largs Bay Sailing Club in January, Down Under Sail took a look at how each state was represented and how they go about their business in teaching the next generation of sailors.
Early on in the regatta, we took a look at how the Tasmanians worked their training out of the Sandy Bay Sailing Club on the famous Derwent River with the help of parents and team coach Eliott Noye.
The Tasmanian duo of Will Cooper and Hugo Allison won the regatta overall and other teams from Tassie also filled a number of the other positions in the top 10 and in the next World Championship team. Although their state fleet is very successful, the overriding message we heard from Coach Noye and from the rest of the states as well was a large focus on participation and up skilling sailors from the middle of the fleet in order to maintain enjoyment and bring the next group through to the top.
NEW SOUTH WALES
We also spoke to the New South Wales team, which has a very different structure to the other states. They recently shifted their base from Balmoral to Middle Harbour a couple years ago to act as a good boat for smaller Optimist kids to gain experience without having to stay in the smaller single-handed dinghy for too long.
The kids then graduate through to 420s and 29ers when they are big enough or go straight into local senior classes. The New South Wales team also has a heavy school involvement with the Redlands School in North Sydney providing huge back up support. This has been a successful partnership over many years and may be something other states may look at going forward as this class continues to grow in large numbers.
We then had a chat with the extremely strong Victorian team, with 34 boats they are incredibly strong. They span across four clubs around the state and are always looking to push into different areas and clubs where possible.
Head coach Tony Bull (also the Australian coach), said the key to group training and making sure all the kids get the best support was a good coaching structure around the team. Each club provides fantastic coaching support who then report back to each other to keep everyone on the same page and accountable.
Bully then went on to say that participation is the key and no kid should be left behind, he said it gets harder with larger numbers, but is confident the structure in, especially at club level, will ensure everyone is looked after.
We spoke to Harry and Elsie Pearce from Metung Yacht Club, the newest cadet fleet in the state. Metung will also be the host of next years national championships and the kids have been excited to get out and sail in the wind and waves off Largs Bay Sailing Club. They have also enjoyed the big fleet experience and are very excited to have a big fleet attend next years nationals in Metung.
The final state we looked at was South Australia, which was the home state for this season’s national championship at the Largs Bay Sailing Club.
State coach Stuart Templeton said it was awesome to have a home regatta to build enthusiasm in to the home fleet and give the kids that normally wouldn’t travel to get the “big fleet experience”. The home team had 25 boats competing, which was a really high number and included kids from a number of clubs and classes.
He said with a growing fleet in SA, the structure now focused around communicating with club coaches so the same messages are being spread through the entire group.
For more information about International Cadet sailing in South Australia, visit the CLASS WEBSITE.