What is the Cadet?

The Cadet dinghy was designed in 1947 by Jack Holt as a specialised design for the sole purpose of training young people in sailboat racing. That’s why it’s too small for adults to sail in and the class rules specifically exclude people over 17 from taking part. In order to make it a better trainer it was purposely designed as a two-person boat so that children would learn the complexities of working together as helm and crew. To prepare children for adult racing boats that may have mainsail, jib and spinnaker, it possesses all three, so that there are no fundamentally ‘new’ sails when children move on to other boats. The hull design is particularly sensitive, giving lots of feedback, and this means that learning is fast compared to boats which may still work fairly well when mishandled.

The result is a boat that some consider to be the best youth training dinghy for the 6 to 17 age range in the world. It has produced a remarkably high proportion of champions in adult fleets. A number of the leading names in British competitive sailing have sailed the Cadet in their youth - Rodney Pattisson, Harold Cudmore, Chris Law, Keith Musto, Phil Morrison, Matt Humphreys, Francis Elkington, Storm Nuttall, Sally Cuthbert, Richard Sydenham and Ben Vines to name but few.

FGSC is an RYA Champion Club, and since its formation in 1999, the FGSC Cadet Squadron has been among the most successful in the country.

What is a Cadet Squadron?


Cadet fleets are organised within their clubs as squadrons of the UK National Cadet Class Association, which in turn works to the rules of the International Cadet Class. Members of the squadron consist of the children and their parents who sail the boat at Fishers Green Sailing Club.

The Cadet squadron organizes regular training and competition between 10am and 4pm on virtually every Saturday from February to the end of November. Additional events are the Eastern Zone Cadet training, our own annual Cadet Open Meeting. Away events supported include the more advanced Cadet crews taking part in National Squad training and Open Meetings. These are usually timed for holiday periods and run through most of the sailing season.

Who can join in?

Children range from around 6 to 17 years old, usually starting off as a crew and moving on to helm as they get more experienced. Typically, one or two years will be spent crewing to get to know the basics of sailing and boat handling before moving on to helm. Crewing for a good helm also offers the opportunity to gain experience at advanced events such as squad training, National Championships and Open Meetings.

As a parent of a Cadet, you will be expected to get involved in a co-operative way in helping to support the Cadet squadron’s activities. You will help to organise and operate the facilities that the Cadets need, and this can include everything from running the canteen to giving coaching on the water. Parents are responsible for looking after their children while they are at the club and need to be around to do so. Training is also provided for parents where necessary and, as a full member of the club, it is hoped that you will also take part in all aspects of the FGSC sailing and social programme.

What equipment and clothing does my child need to take part?

All children must wear an adequate buoyancy aid when they go on the water and they will need appropriate clothing to cope with wet and cold. On a hot summer's day shorts, t-shirt and trainers may be OK but for regular sailing they will probably need some sort of wetsuit and sailing shoes. In colder periods a drysuit over thermal clothing is almost essential. The purchase of a boat is not essential, as there are Club and Association Cadet dinghies available at FGSC.

About membership

Family Membership of Fishers Green Sailing Club, which includes both parents and all children still in full-time education, entitles you to full participation in all the Club events including the Cadets. For membership information contact the Membership Secretary, via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Who should I contact to find out more about the Cadets at FGSC?

Please contact the Squadron Captain, via email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.