Making a splash

We headed down to the National Combined Regatta at London’s Royal Victoria Docks to chat to some of the cadets, volunteers and staff who were there

Names: LC Akash (left) and AC Archie

Unit: Wandsworth, London Area

Category: Powerboating

What’s been your favourite part of the day so far?

Archie: “Watching the water polo; that was very competitive. And also just being on the water is great.”

What’s involved in a powerboating race?

Akash: “You have one 35-minute slot to do a circuit course.”

Archie: “It’s mainly just based on skills. You have to demonstrate communication, mooring to a buoy, towing a trinity, and you get scored on that.”

How long before the event did you have to practise?

Akash: “Not that long actually, we did the two district and area competitions but we had different crews for those. Our crew for today only trained together for three days, but it went well.” 

Of all the national events, what is your favourite?

Akash: “This one! I like how big it is and how it’s got lots of other sports going on that you can go and watch.”

Archie: “You’ve got rowing, powerboating, sailing, kayaking – there’s so much going on.”

Name: AC Katie

Unit: Bangor Unit, Northern Area

Category: Rowing

Is this your first regatta?

“This is my fourth!”

How did your race go? 

“We won one of them, and came second in the other two.”

Have you had to prepare a lot to take part today?  

“Yes, we’ve been training since the start of May and we haven’t stopped since.”

Have you enjoyed the event?

“Yes, I always enjoy it very much. It’s my last year unfortunately (I’m ageing out) but then I will become a volunteer.”

Name: LC Sandy

Unit: Salisbury, Southern Area

Category: Junior Rowing 

What’s been your favourite part of the day so far?

“The races.”

Have you had to prepare a lot ?  

“Yes. We started rowing last December, so it’s been a long time. I’ve been rowing all year to prepare for this.”

What’s your favourite watersport?

“Rowing is better for racing but kayaking is
more fun.” 

Have you been to any other national events?

“It’s my first event and I’m enjoying it. The atmosphere is positive and supportive. I’m walking around quite a lot to meet other people but mainly spending time with the team.”

Name: Lt Cdr (SCC) RNR Jenny Avill

Role: Area Recreation Officer for Eastern Area

What do cadets get out of this event?

“The teamwork cadets learn here is a huge benefit. It’s amazing to see cadets get on a bus with people they’ve never met before and the immediate camaraderie between them. They’re all together, joining in, supporting each other, comforting each other when they don’t win – it’s an amazing experience. As an ARO and a former cadet, I’ve got the best job seeing talented and passionate instructors train these cadets and help them fulfil their potential.”

Captain Sea Cadets Neil Downing

Name: Captain Neil Downing RN

Role: Captain Sea Cadets

What do you like about the National Combined Regatta?

“It’s the number of people participating, it’s the atmosphere, it’s the fact that we can stand on the waterfront and actually watch all the races and feel like we’re really part of it.”

Names: AC Olivia, AC Florence, AC Bella

Unit: Leamington and Warwick, SW Area

Category: Rowing

What’s been your favourite part of the day so far?

“Winning! We won our first two races.”

What’s your favourite watersport?

“Definitely rowing!”

Name: Lt (SCC) RNR Brian Harvey

Unit: Bangor

Role: Volunteer

What’s it like for volunteers to attend events like this?

“I’ve been a volunteer for 28 years and 10 months! I teach rowing, powerboating, sailing, navigating, seamanship, meteorology and one or two other subjects as well, and regularly attend the Regatta. I get great pride in having taught the cadets and seeing how well they do at events like this and in their lives. One of my former cadets is now a coxswain onboard TS Royalist – I’ve told her that one of these days she’ll need to come back to Bangor to take over my job when I retire! I was at sea for 50 years and the last 30 of which I was a captain, so I know pretty much everything about the sea. I can pass that knowledge on to the cadets.”

Name: POC Jamie

Unit: Fleetwood, North West Area

Category: Rowing

What’s been your favourite part of the day so far?

“Seeing old friends. I’ve met a lot of people through my time at Sea Cadets and seeing everybody together again is one of the best things.”

What are you competing in today?

“I was in the rowing bat handling. It went a lot better than last year, I didn’t crash and conditions have been a lot better.”

Did you have to prepare a lot for today?

“Yes, we’ve been practising two nights a week for the last couple of months so it’s been quite intense.”

Name: OC Lacey

Unit: Twickenham, London Area

Category: Kayaking sprint

Have you had to prepare a lot for today?  

“You do have to prepare a lot – it takes stamina, courage and fitness.”

What’s your favourite watersport activity?

Kayaking is one of my favourite things to do at Sea Cadets and in my spare time as well. I’ve got my own kayak and paddleboard.”

How do you feel before your race?

“Excited but a bit nervous – mixed feelings!”

Name: Martin Coles CBE

Role: CEO of Sea Cadets

What’s your experience of attending the National Combined Regatta?

“What a brilliant day! I’ve been to 12 or 13 National Combined Regattas and I never tire of it. They’re fantastic, you get such a lot of enthusiastic young people and it’s great to be able to mingle with all the cadets and volunteers.”

Photos: Sea Cadets, Nathaniel Rosa

More Features

FSLCs 2024

Be your best self

Every year a cadet from each area is selected to be a First Sea Lord’s Cadet. Let’s meet the cadets selected for this prestigious role for 2024

Speaking at Cadet Conference 2024

Giving cadets a voice

Young people from across the UK gathered to share ideas, bring about change and shape their experience at Cadet Conference

Denhams Sea Cadets

Become a Junior Sea Cadets volunteer!

There are lots of reasons to volunteer with Sea Cadets, from supporting young people to gaining qualifications