Words: Liz Rountree
Photo: Colleen Darcey
The 67th International Cadet National Championships begin Saturday, with races running through 4th January. And according to recent Sydney to Hobart winning crew member, Sam Tiederman says that for Cadet sailors it is “the best time of the year.”
Tiederman himself was a national champion Cadet skipper back in 2012, and now he finds himself overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart as a member of the Tasmanian team Alive.
“I still see and talk to people I sailed with and against, almost 10 years ago, every day,” says Tiederman. “[The Cadet Nationals] creates a bit of a family, all while you learn the basics, as well as the serious and competitive parts of sailing.”
Among the 40 plus entries of sailors aged 7 to 17, nearly half are Tasmanian teams, including skipper Faye Read who represented Australia back in July, finishing 4th overall at the World Championships. A few other competitors from the recent Worlds return, including two local crews who are now stepping up as helms, Olive Hooper and Alex Ashbolt.
The Championship is one of the longest running dinghy sailing events in Australia and has produced generations of life members in the sport, including champions, pro sailors, commodores and club volunteers. This is the first year however, that half the competing skippers are female.
Sandy Bay Sailing Club, who is hosting the event, wears this badge with pride. The club has made a commitment to becoming 50-50 gender balanced in all aspects from participating sailors through to board-member engagement by 2025.
“The Cadet is well suited to the variable weather of Hobart,” says Australian Sailing Future’s Squad member Amy Potter. Potter is a Cadet skipper graduate who went on to sail 29ers and currently sails Olympic classes Nacra17 and 470.
“It’s also a boat that suits a lot of young sailors,” she continues, “It’s extremely competitive, and with having two people on board, it can be nice to have someone to share the highs and get through the lows, especially when you are just starting out.”
Racing will take place mid-river, off Lower Sandy Bay until Thursday.