Wrap up from the Cadet World Championships


The International Cadet World Championships in Bodstedt, Germany turned out to be the best one of the three that we have now attended, especially for the surprisingly beautiful location and people in this out-of-the-way part of Eastern Germany. Perhaps the best outcome for RYCV was that skipper Peter Allen and crew Ashton Rawstron placed 5th overall and they were the best placed among a talented Australian team! According to Cadet class oracle (Peter Roberts) this is the best result in his long memory for an RYCV Cadet crew. What is more extraordinary about this feat is that it was exactly a year ago this weekend when Peter Allen met Ashton at the Discover Sailing day at the club!

Peter is no stranger to competing in world championships, coming in 13th place as crew with Louis Schofield in Weymouth in 2014, when Tom Alexander from RGYC won the title.

Ashton had recently completed Tackers 2 at the club and wanted to chance to do some more sailing. When Peter told parents Amanda and Lee Rawstron that he wanted Ash as his new crew, and he wanted them to qualify for the World Championships, the Rawstron’s made an immediate commitment to fully support the mammoth amount of training and competition required to make that grade. Pete took Ash under his wing and on each day of almost every weekend for the coming year the two boys coordinated as much training time on the water as they could. Initially, they didn’t receive any formal coaching just sailing to gain experience in handling the boat through the normal manoeuvres.

After little more than month or so of initial training, Ash and the family went on a European holiday for several weeks. Pete was worried that Ash would forget everything about how to crew the boat. However, the day after they returned Ash was super keen to jump into the front and blow away any jetlag at the Sail Sandy regatta. This would be Ash’s first race. The boys were very satisfied with their performance when they took the third place trophy.

Training intensified and the arrival of Tom Alexander as the new RYCV coach for the summer season was a big boost for their preparations. Tom was one of the very few Aussies to become world champion skipper in the Cadet class. Tom helped the Pete and Ash, and all the RYCV crews through thoughtful training and encouraging total commitment to the task if they wanted to succeed at an international level. As the weeks ticked along, they achieved 5th place at the Australian titles in Metung, earning a place on the national team, and then taking victory Victorian State Champions to give them confidence when they started winter training ahead of travel to Bodstedt.

The Club will soon have the honour of hosting this amazing sailing event in December 2020 with so many international sailing families who are deeply devoted to the class already excited to come.  But what is clear is that the kids sailing in the world championship fleet practice the art at a very high level of proficiency. The Cadet class has supplied a legion of Olympians and professional international sailors in the various countries that compete in this two person training class.

During the event Pete and Ashton sailed a very composed and mature regatta securing top ten finishes in most of their races and showing maturity that can only come with the knowledge that all the preparation had been done.  The event had many challenges with much lighter winds than were expected and some races and race days abandoned along the way. There was also the severe lacerations Pete sustained when he went over the handlebars of his bike on the day before the racing commenced. Ash also developed painful blisters on his feet. Nevertheless both boys refused to focus on their wounds and went out with determination to sail at their best. They aimed to perform as they said they would at our OTB presentation night back in June – “We will do our best”, with the belief that they were serious contenders.

Now they’ve returned, Pete is satisfied that he has succeeded with what he wanted to achieve for himself. He will now step out of the Cadet and his boats have already been sold. R&R is going to his former crew, Ollie Grieve, who will now return to RYCV to make his personal journey as skipper, setting his own goals and ambitions.

Pete’s goals and expectations of himself with his racing are certainly not for everyone. But the big win has been that he has been able to take his now best mate, Ashton, with him on that journey.  Ashton will now have this incredible experience to calibrate his own goals and aspirations in sailing and life. Ash will crew again this coming season and will be well placed to understand the opportunity that the RYCV world’s event presents.

We all recognize that none of this is possible without the amazing volunteer efforts of all the OTB families who front up every week to make things happen safely on the water and ensure the kids are well fed and happy upon return to land. So thank you for making it all happen!


By Damian Purcell