Otters at the Cadet Nationals

»«9th to 12th August 2014

August was a busy month for the Otter Cadets. After a great Otter Week four crews travelled to Weymouth for a fortnight of great sailing and socialising as only the Cadets can do. The National Championships began on the 9th in near perfect sailing conditions and our four crews of Scarlett Anderson & Amy Shepherd, Joe Barr & Jamie Rashbrook, Ben Barr & Josh Bennett in the Gold/Silver fleet and Dom Moon & Felix Wallace in the Bronze fleet left the Harbour along with 84 other teams full of anticipation for what lay ahead.

With the forecast likely to be a blow out on Day Two, the decision was taken to try and sail three races on Day One, and with such great conditions this proved to be possible. Scarlett & Amy opened their account with a well-deserved 5th in Race One, Ben & Josh achieved their best result of the day with a 24th in Race Two and the new pairing of Joe and Jamie (who had only sailed a cadet a couple of times before this event) equipping themselves well with three mid fleet finishes.

Day Two saw the arrival of ex-hurricane Big Bertha and after a lengthy postponement the sensible decision to can racing for the day was taken.

Day Three saw the remains of Bertha providing conditions that were at the very top of the range for junior sailing and this was born out by the fact that only 25 boats managed to register a score in both races. Ben & Josh were one of these boats and their sterling efforts moved them up the leader board.

After the survival conditions of Day Three the Force 4 breeze that greeted the competitors for the final day seemed positively benign. Ben and Josh had the best of it with a well-placed 11th in Race Six which helped them to an overall finish of 24th. When the foreign entries were discounted they finished 18th British boat – a fantastic achievement in only Ben's second year of helming. Scarlett & Amy finished 27th ( 19th Brit) and Joe & Jamie finished a creditable 49th.

Dom & Felix (also together after a very short time) along with all the Bronze Fleet had a torrid time. The conditions meant only six races were sailed on two days of sailing, the boys' best result being a 5th in Race Four. They finished 11th out of 17.

All in all a great if testing event and a great way to whet the appetite for the World Championships the following week.

Matt Barr