Over 80 Cadets took part in Marconi Sailing Club’s annual Cadet Week 2015 last week to enjoy 6 days of fun and training on the River Blackwater.
The club caters for sailors of all ages and experience levels and tailors the tuition accordingly. This year a number of new members took part for the very first time, after having signed up to join the sailing club after its successful Open Day back in May. Non-members were also welcomed to join the fun.
Heavy winds at the beginning of the week saw a baptism of fire for many. On the Monday, most of the cadets took part in the Capsize Drill. With the winds as they were, many on the water needed no assistance with capsizing their boats!
On Tuesday and Wednesday the groups separated in to different fleets which allows the volunteer Marconi tutors to provide specific training and guidance in smaller numbers. Lighter winds ensured everybody was able to enjoy a full day on the water.
Cadets who were interested in multi-hull sailing also had the opportunity to take part in one of the pre-arranged Catamaran Clinics which saw club members in a host of catamarans including Topaz 14’s, Sprint 15s and Dart 18s fly up and down the river to give, for many, their first experience of trapezing.
The traditional Long Distance Race was held on Thursday, with the destination this year being Thirslet Spit, the shingle sandbank that appears off of The Stone. The moderate winds saw the first boat complete the race in only 45 minutes. Once everybody had safely arrived at Thirslet the party enjoyed a picnic lunch on the sandbank. A rising tide sadly cut the lunch short as everybody scrambled back to their boats to re-start the second race before Thirslet was reclaimed by the sea. The last boat managed to leave the bank just as the river covered the last section of land!
The fancy dress theme for this year was “Wild Animals” and in keeping with previous years, the group event held on the Friday followed the (slightly protracted!) story of Noah’s Ark or Noah’s Laser Pico in the case of Marconi, whereby the teams of 10 Laser Picos had to help each other build their arks and then embark upon their boats one by one to take part in a race on the high seas for forty days and forty nights until the rain had stopped. Although we were fortunate enough to have blazing hot sunshine, the rainfall was provided by a hose and a number of water pistols which ensured that everybody got a good soaking!
The Cadet Regatta was held on Saturday with the beginner groups and advanced sailors being catered for separately. Race Officer Jenny Ball set two races for the Regatta with only the advanced cadets taking part in the afternoon race due to challenging conditions and stronger winds.
The week was rounded off on the Saturday evening with a prize-giving event and thank you BBQ for all the volunteers and helpers.
Follow up sail training days are expected to be held for the remainder of the season and next year to help the cadets further improve their skills ready for next year’s Cadet Week!