Two members of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Sea Cadets Unit have achieved gold and silver medals in a national regatta.
The sea cadets represented 90 units from across the south west area at the UK Sea Cadets’ National Combined Regatta held in London earlier this month.
Two of the unit’s area champions, able cadet Oliver (15) and cadet Felicity (13), were pitted against the best cadets from six other areas in the solo canoe and tandem canoe events. It was the first time that either has experienced the pressure cauldron of a national event.
Both AC Oliver and Cdt Felicity earned silver medals in their solo competitions. In the mixed tandem event, they kept their cool and concentration to win gold medals.
Their efforts, plus that of their colleagues in the kayak categories, earned them the Admiral Bell Davies Cup, which is given to the overall winner of the cross stream event, and was shared with the southern area cadets.
AC Oliver said: “I didn’t know when we started training for this how much effort it would take but holding this trophy makes it all worthwhile.”
Cdt Felicity added: “I’ve not been canoeing very long – around six months – so I didn’t expect to do so well. And on my birthday as well!”
This year’s course was especially challenging, with several tight turns that demanded great skill and – in the tandem category – communication.
The cadets’ canoe coach and commanding officer, Lt (SCC) Dom Gregory RNR, said: “Right at the start of this competition season we had a really high-quality district event and we knew we had to raise our game going forward to Area and Nationals.”
“Given the inexperience of our team, we kept our training simple but made sure that the cadets were really, really good at it. We can add fancy stuff next year!”
“I tried to make it clear that to the cadets that I wanted them to feel no pressure from me to succeed. I wanted them keen but relaxed and confident as they paddled round the course. Their solo runs were excellent, but their tandem rounds just sublime.”
“It was nail-biting stuff for those of us supporting, but a joy to watch nonetheless.”