A dozen Frensham Pond Sailing Club junior sailors are off to Australia to represent their country at the Cadet World Championship this winter.
They were chosen after a hard-fought selector series of 16 races over three weekends in Weymouth, Pevensey and Grafham in sometimes very tricky conditions with high winds and big waves.
It means Frensham will make up almost half the squad travelling Down Under.
The Frensham sailors who triumphed and were chosen to join the UK team are Sarah McEwan and Holly Jones, Will and Annabel Shepherd, Sofia Sfaxi and Immy Sherwood, Tom Walker and Ava Stoddart, Amelie Whitehouse and Maddy Sherwood.
Tom Shepherd and Tom Stoddart will be sailing in the promotional fleet.
Sarah Northey, chair of the United Kingdom Cadet Class Association, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these junior sailors to sail for their country.
“The World Championship takes place in a southern hemisphere country only once every four years, but because of Covid, this event is two years overdue.
“The whole team is thrilled to be travelling to Australia to sail against the best Cadet sailors in the world.”
The Cadet is the world’s most successful two-person training dinghy, specifically tailored towards young sailors aged eight to 17 years old.
The Cadet is an International Class, which is the highest status awarded by World Sailing. Originally designed by Jack Holt in 1947, there are around 900 Cadets actively sailed with fleets in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
Frensham Pond Sailing Club has a history of success at the Cadet World Championship – Antonia Wilkinson crewed in the winning boat at the 2016 World Championship in Argentina, and Charlotte Videlo and Tom Shepherd were third in Germany in 2018.
The pairs selected this year are hoping for victory too.
Amelie Whitehouse said: “I am so happy to get chosen for the world team and compete against sailors from all over the world. It is a dream come true.”
Will Shepherd said: “Being selected for the world team has been my goal since I started as a crew at eight years old. Achieving that goal has been fantastic and we will be giving it everything in Australia to try to bring home the world title back for Team GBR.”
Sophia Sfaxi said: “I’m excited as I know I will make everyone at home proud and I feel honoured to have been selected to represent GB.”
Tom Walker said: “It is my last year in a Cadet and is the highlight of my sailing career so far. It’s something I’ve been thinking about even when I was racing at the back of the fleet at the age of seven.”
Sarah McEwan said: “Being in the world team makes me ecstatic – I get to sail with a great group of people and compete with them in Australia, which is very exciting.”
The 2022 Cadet World Championship is taking place at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Port Philip, Williamstown, Melbourne from December 26 to January 2.
It is no small undertaking to transport 26 sailors and their boats halfway around the world. The boats will travel in a container that will leave months before the event. The team has set up a JustGiving page to help with transport costs.
See https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gbr-cadets-australia? utm_term=p95AZNYag to find out more and make a donation.