Welcome ALL Optimist Sailors to Cadet Week 2016! I am proud to be a very small part of a very big team of people who will be working extremely hard to make your week hopefully one you will remember for a very long time. Our motto for the Optimist Fleets is “Bring them home smiling”

This year we are are going to continue to race all the optimists in the creeks and quarters of Mersea!! Don’t worry-it has been very carefully thought through and will offer something for everyone.

Gold Fleet (The top group for those new to Mersea Cadet Week!) – The pressure is on! Not only will you want to win but you are now ambassadors for the younger and less experienced sailors who WILL be looking up to you. When you can-help them-particularly on the beach in the mornings. You were young once too-remember how you felt!! Simon, your race officer has designed a brilliant course to make the racing as fast, fair and furious as possible.

Ruby Fleet for children in Bronze and Silver Fleets where the racing is as competitive as gold. Great starts are the key for you all and a neat track to the windward marks.

Emerald Fleet over the past few years’ numbers in the Optimist Fleets have swelled as people have learnt how much FUN we have! Emerald fleet if used will be made up from the upper end of Starboard and the Lower end of Bronze. You compete for your own trophies and as with Diamond, Emerald and Ruby ANYONE can win the overall title of best sailor from the Inside fleets (Except Gold who will continue to have their own overall winner)

Diamond Fleet for children who have been sailing on a Wednesday night in Port or Starboard Fleet. For many sailors this may be your first experience of racing but there is nothing to worry about. We use the most sheltered water we can find. Every morning and every afternoon we gather together at the Dabchicks Sailing Club and talk you through what is going to happen during the next race. Explanations are simple and fun!

Racing The Optimist Fleet sailors are made from tough stuff!!We have an enviable record of being able to put on more races than the other fleets. Although we all hope for a glorious week of weather, be prepared to go sailing in what can be changeable conditions-this is England! For all sailors, being organised and prepared are the keys to a stress free day! Get down to the waterfront in plenty of time – there’s always lots to do. Don’t forget to put some water and a snack in your boat, sun cream and a hat if it’s hot and make sure you remember to sign-on, tally both on and off the water and sign-off. There are a couple of things we’d like you to think about before Cadet Week starts: What is the main thing you want to get better at during the week? Do you want to get your dagger board in the right position on every leg, or, to swap hands with the tiller and main-sheet without thinking when you tack? What do you want to achieve in the racing? Would you like to take part in and finish every race? Finish in the top 5, 10? Get really good at starting? Although for some the result is important, the most important thing is to take part, try you best, have fun and to come back smiling!

Chris Burr

Inside Fleet Leader