On Saturday 7th August Blackwater Sailing Club welcomed 130 cadets aged 8 to 18 for its first post-Covid Cadet Week. There were a few adjustments made due to Covid precautions but all in all, and thanks to the efforts of instructors, bridge team, galley, ramp and lake volunteers and all other helpers, the Cadets (and everyone else) had a great week.
After registration the cadets enjoyed a unique land-bound relay event, retrieving Topper parts dispersed around the lake. This worked very well even with the sudden downpour that drenched spectators and competitors alike.
Sunday was deemed to be too windy and gusty for racing or RYA training on the river so the more experienced sailors went out for a high-octane blast on the river while the newer groups took turns sailing on the lake in the morning, and working on theory in the afternoon. In the evening the Cadet Commodore Kane Gooch and the Cadet Committee organised and hosted a Treasure Hunt and a team quiz.
Monday’s onshore event was games at Heybridge Basin playing field. Cadets gathered in their colour groups to face a number of challenges including a tug-of-war. Rupert Marks was kind enough to give a short talk on the work of the Pioneer Sailing Trust (Cadet Charity for 2021) and how it works, amongst other things, to develop the life prospects of young people. Back at the club, it was again a windy day but not as gusty as Sunday, so all groups went out on the river and lake as planned. The cadets were entertained in the evening with a film show.
Tuesday brought sunshine at last! The traditional Tractor Pull went very well and clearly came as a great (and happy) surprise to many of the new cadets we have this year. Wind and weather were perfect and both river and lake sailors had an exhilarating day’s sailing; followed in the evening by the Cadet Gala Dinner.
Wednesday saw another sunny day and good wind meant that the river racers had an excellent down-river day. In the evening a Covid safe outside disco took place . Parents were encouraged to make themselves scarce and the event went off very well!
The final day on Thursday started somewhat overcast but the mood was brightened by the prospect of the Fancy Dress competition and Cock of the Cadets race. This was followed by the Parents Race challengingly held in tiny Optimist dinghies. In the afternoon as the weather brightened, all 130 cadets set off for a cruise to Maldon , either in their own boats or riding in a RIB, some even sitting on the front of a Topper. They arrived at the Prom and descended en masse upon the ice cream stall. Back at the club at the end of the day, with the sun finally shining, it was time for prize-giving.
This fantastic week was able to take place due to the enormous commitment and enthusiasm of our Honorary Cadet Skipper Paul Trickey and the large team of coaches, instructors along with the Cadet Committee under the leadership of Cadet Commodore Kane Gooch; none of this would happen without them and the myriad of volunteers helping not only Cadet Week but throughout the year. Blackwater Sailing Club thanks every one of them.
Cadet racing results:
1st Ben Haigh
2nd Will Taylor
3rd Jamie Keegan
Laser Radial and 4.7
1st Marnie Aers
2nd Jack Bernard
3rd Hugh Andrews
1st Jess Haigh & Lucy Shelter
2nd Sam Glover & Charlie Bourne
3rd Osea Evans & Isabel Finch
1st Jessica Taylor
2nd Charlie Garlick
3rd Matthieu Bernard
1st Jess Welch
2nd Stanley Johnson
3rd Callum Marshall
Cock of the Cadets: Jess Haigh
Photos © Anna Lau