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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

British Cadet Team at the Cadet Worlds in Melbourne - Overall

by Neil Collingridge 3 Jan 2023 07:23 UTC 26 December 2022 - 2 January 2023

So, whilst we awoke on the final day to the knowledge that Team GBR had the World Champions in Toby and Kemmel, there was work still to be done for the rest. The excellent PRO had moved things forwards by an hour but when we got to the Club it was blowing dogs off chains straight out of the City in the North. 30 knots plus didn't augur well for a final race.

Stephen gathered his team and the coaches - do your guys want to sail? If we can, we will. In the meantime, the Bay Winds website was showing that down at the bay entrance 50kms away the wind had already swung to the south and was blowing 20knts straight up the chuff. So began a drawn-out game of patience. At around 13.00 all the other sites on the website had a southerly except ours... surely it will come? And so it did. As soon as the flags on the clubhouse lawn drooped the D flag was raised and Cadets started to launch.

In the Top 10 Will and Annabel on second held a 5-point lead on the Aussies in 3rd place so they needed to stay close to them. Mish and Rhona (6th overnight) had opportunities to gain or lose - they certainly couldn't afford another shocker, same really for Ed and Alex who'd sat 9th overnight. And elsewhere all the GBR boats wanted a good last race - promo fleet included. For many this was their last ever race in a Cadet after careers which in some cases have spanned 9 years and multiple World Champs. Toby and Kemmel didn't sail (very sensibly) but as you'd expect didn't want to miss out on the action so were afloat in a rib watching on and supporting their teammates of course. Now they know what its like for the Parents!

So, off the fleet went on a straightforward windward / leeward on course Alpha. 2 laps, 12kts at times, tricky shifty and with current pouring out of the Yarra River on the right. Round the windward the Aussies in 3rd overall - Groves and Thomas - were leading by a huge margin. Will and Annabel were in the chasing pack but had work to do still. Mish and Rhona and Ed and Alex meanwhile were really struggling having got pinned to far to the left and then not getting far enough right. Up the second beat all these boats, everyone in fact, were working hard - giving their all to the end. Will and Annabel were through to 4th by the second windward - that would ultimately be enough by the finish to secure a fantastic and well-deserved 2nd overall. And Mish and Rhona and Ed and Alex were taking places upwind - probably around a dozen to round the final windward in the Top 10. They had really had to dig deep but finishing together in 7th and 8th - that was enough to move Mish / Rhona up a place to 5th overall and for Ed and Alex to hold at 9th in the Top 10. GBR Champions and second overall, 3 out of the top 5, 4 in the top 10, all halfway around the world at a foreign regatta where the home fleet had such strength in numbers. Fantastic performances. But everyone played a role here - Sarah and Holly (21st), Amelia and Hettie (23rd), Tom and Ava (25th), Robbie and Dylan (26th), Sofia and Immy (27th) and Amelie and Maddy (28th) - everyone of them should be proud... they all had their moments, and they will all return the better for the experience. It's a marathon not a sprint.

And whilst the attention has been elsewhere, we shouldn't forget the Promo fleet. Also, very competitive and stuffed full of Aussies. Our 3 GBR boats were the only foreign competitors. Again, they all had their moments - perhaps the benefit to them at their earlier stages of their Cadet careers will be all the greater. Gwen and Josh (14th), The "TomToms" (16th) and Oscar and Dom (19th) all again had their moments and Tom and Tom finished their race series with a 9th to boot.

So back to the shore to wait for Toby and Kemmel who had transferred into a spare Cadet so they could come into the dock with Union flag displayed. They have sailed an extraordinary series. They made hay when the wind blew on the first two days but sailed so so well through the rest of the week when their advantage was rather less obvious. At the finish they were deserved champions.

Great speeches from both of them, a wonderful Prize-giving and a team all pulling together to pack the container ready for its ultimate return to the Shotley peninsula. Thanks also to our honorary Pom, Rhett Gowans - he was a great find and loved helping to stick one on the Aussies - he'll be back where he belongs for the Ashes in the summer though! Some of us are finished in Cadets now but for the rest the next World Champs are only just over 6 months away in Nieuwpoort, Belgium - just wait till you see those waves rolling up and down the North Sea... Pevensey on steroids.

More information on the event website, cadetworlds2022.com.au

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