Stokes Bay Sailing Club Cadets
at the Regional Junior Championships in June 2023
By Nazrin Wilkinson
Congratulations to nine of our cadets who raced in the Regional Junior Championships at Oxford Sailing Club on the weekend of 17 and 18th June. This was the annual Southern Area regatta boasting youth sailing class dinghies such as Optimist, Tera, Feva, and Topper. Our cadets returned home with fantastic results and the South Regional Junior Championship Development Trophy was awarded to the club with the highest increase in entry numbers since 2022.
Charlie Shires, Eve Wealthy, Samuel Wade and Tom Robinson raced in the Topper 5.3 fleet. Lucas Keen, Reuben Wealthy and Joel Keen were in the Topper 4.2s. Sofia Dewsbury and Daisy Charlesworth were in the RS Fevas. The results were: 1st place for Charlie, 2nd for Lucas, 3rd for Tom and Reuben, 5th for Joel, and 6th for Sofia and Daisy. Eve Wealthy was 1st girl in the Topper 5.3s and Samuel Wade was 3rd overall in the same fleet.
SBSC Cadet representative and welfare officer, Andy Wealthy was one of the many parents supporting the cadets, he said: “The event was a fantastic example of the great team we have at our club. The cadets worked together to set up boats, launch and recover, and shared tips for on-the-water-strategy. Our sailors also led some on-the-water pep-talks and check-ins to make sure everyone was ok. The older cadets also ensured everyone was eating and drinking in-between races.
“On the first day weather conditions were varied with some incredibly light winds and a lot of shifts to contend with. On day two, there was a light wind in the morning with some freshening breeze to end the competition in the afternoon.
“After the racing, we had a wonderful stay at the Valley Farm campsite nearby with the other competitors. We had a camp BBQ and a social evening which was a brilliant way to catch up with friends from the other clubs.”
Eve Wealthy, 14, who sailed a Topper with a 5.3 rig, says her pre-race preparation helped her to get the fantastic results of 1st Girl and 9th place overall. She said: “In the week leading up to the event, I studied the course and read the sailing instructions, so that I could plan where I wanted to tack and navigate. I also looked at what the wind was doing because it was really shifty, and you had to take that into account.
“On the day before the race, I was looking at the water and trying to work out where I wanted to go. We had seven-races a day which ranged from 25-50 minutes each and we had four marks to go around.
However, there was a gate in-between the marks which made a difference to whether you did really well or really badly. If you went around the wrong side of the gate, you could end up being below everyone and have a lot further to sail. The highlight of the whole weekend was coming 2nd in the first race. Things went really well for me because I managed to get in the right place on the start line and stay in clear wind all the way round.
“Most of my competitors had already done a year of the regional training group and had been coached by Olympic sailors. So, last winter, I joined the John Elliot Topper Squads (JETS) which is a local sailing squad. I was coached by Para-Olympian gold medallist Helena Lucas who is so inspirational, and the training really helped me.
“Looking back, I would definitely improve my starts because I did quite well even when I had bad ones. If I’d got some good starts, I probably would have done so much better. I would also improve my race strategy and consistency. I got a few really bad placings and if I could have got rid of those, I would have been further up the scoreboard. Overall, I’m happy because I’ve improved so much in the last year.
“My first Open event was last July – I was really far back and could barely get around the course. I’ve worked really hard because I wanted to do better and get to this point. These results have shown me how much I can improve if I put my mind to it. I feel in another year, I can definitely improve even more.
Samuel Wade, 13, came 3rd overall and won two of his races in his Topper 5.3. He said: “I am very happy with my results because that was my first ever win in a race. I could certainly get some better starts and I’ll be trying to improve those but overall, it was a fantastic weekend of racing. My advice is to just go out there and enjoy it but don’t forget to ask for advice. Look at how other people set up their boat if they are going fast than you, and maybe copy them a bit. Everyone is always happy to help you sail better.”
Lucas Keen who sailed a Topper 4.2, said: “I enjoyed racing when the wind filled in and I really want to improve my starts. I hope to sail a 29er in the future.”
Joel Keen, who also sailed a Topper 4.2, said: “Rounding the top mark as the first 4.2 in one of my races was the highlight for me. I want to improve my starts too and try and win every race that I possibly can.”
Reuben Wealthy, 11, who came 7th in the Topper 4.2s, wants to sail a 29er in the future. He said: “The wind was quite light and shifty, but we had some really good racing. The best part for me was when I came 3rd in one race. I could improve on my start by getting to the biased end of the line, but I kept going the whole time, so that I didn’t lose my boat speed. I’m pretty happy with my overall performance but I’m hoping to come in the top three next time.”
Charlie Shires who sailed a Topper 5.3 won the final race on Sunday. He said: “On Saturday, I talked to everyone while I was sailing but on Sunday, I concentrated more, didn’t talk and did better. So, I’d like to improve my concentration when I am racing. I am sailing a Feva at the moment, but I would like to sail a 29er next. It was a fun weekend, I enjoyed the racing, winning, and hanging out with everyone at the camp.
Sofia Dewsbury, 14, helmed on a Feva. She said: “We had seven races over the weekend, and some were good, but the wind was shifty and light. Quite often we would be doing well, but then end up going to the wrong side of the course because the wind had gone. I could have looked out for the wind gusts a bit more or tacked when they changed. In one race we had a really good start but just kept going but the wind shifted, and we lost that race. So, I was quite pleased when we came 6th on our last race. The tip I’d give to everyone is, don’t be scared to go to events if you are new to sailing because it is one of the main ways you will get better.”
Daisy Charlesworth, 13, was the crew on the Feva. She said: “The winds were very light, so I was sat crouched for four-hours on our boat because the races kept getting post-phoned. I would like to improve sailing in light winds. The biggest tip I would give everyone is, don’t be intimidated by other sailors at these events and sit as far forward as you can in the boat. It was a really fun weekend.”
Full results can be found here: https://www.sailwave.com/results/rya/2023RJC/Dinghies-South-OxfordSC.htm