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Two Dartmouth sea cadets race in Kingston National Regatta

Sea cadets Nicholas Kelly and Yvonne Snow are shown competing at the recent Kingston National Regatta.
Sea cadets Nicholas Kelly and Yvonne Snow are shown competing at the recent Kingston National Regatta. - Contributed

Two young sea cadets from Dartmouth raced and placed in a national sailing event this summer. Kale Chase and Nicholas Kelly both raced at the National Sea Cadet Regatta in Kingston, Ont., in August. Chase ranked first with sailing partner Skye Watson-Campbell, while Kelly placed 16th with his sailing partner, Yvonne Snow. Teams competed in Club 420 Class sailboats.

Chase, 15, raced in Kingston last year and placed second overall.

“I want to improve on sailing overall,” Chase says. “Kingston is a great place to do that.”

This was 18-year-old Kelly’s first time at the National Regatta.

“The waves were bigger than I expected,” Kelly says. “It’s definitely more fun. I was thinking it would be serious.”

The top 50 sailors from across the country took part in races over four days in Kingston. Each sailor won races locally and regionally to get to this level. Team Atlantic headed to Kingston with 12 sailors and six boats. Ten coaches joined all the sea cadets across the country, including Carissa Dort, who coaches Chase and Kelly. Dort says both cadets are both very coachable. Other members of the Atlantic team included Thomas McNeil, Ethan Larkins, Drew Briand, Matthew Stojak, Caitlin Taylor and Kaileigh Waugh.

At the National Regatta in Kingston, sailors compete in teams of two. Dort says there are specific challenges to this regatta. While Chase and Kelly train in saltwater in Halifax, Lake Ontario where the National Regatta is set has higher winds and choppy waves they have to deal with during the races.

“It’s an experience but it’s something they learn from,” Dort says. “Once they get there, they have to re-establish their goals.”

Local sea cadets Kale Chase and Nicholas Kelly take a break from competition during the recent Kingston National Regatta. - Contributed
Local sea cadets Kale Chase and Nicholas Kelly take a break from competition during the recent Kingston National Regatta. - Contributed

Despite the challenges, Dort says Chase, Kelly and the other sea cadets were always excited when they reached the finish line.

“It’s very easy to have a bad day, a bad leg in the race,” Dort says. “They’re trying to stay on the positive side. And they’re a great group of cadets.”

Chase joined sea cadets about three years ago and belongs to the 339 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Iroquois. His parents, Doug and Helen, and sister, Katie, were both involved. He started sailing about two years before that, again inspired by his family’s sailing.

Kelly signed on with sea cadets six years ago and took up sailing the same time. He’s from the 24 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Magnificent and heard about sea cadets from peers in his neighbourhood.

“They were telling me stories about it, so I decided to join,” Kelly says.

Kelly spent the summer coaching sailing for a program in Conrwallis, N.S,. Chase, meanwhile, headed to Kingston early for training in an advanced sailing program.

Chase describes Kelly as a “fun, competitive” sailor, while Kelly says, if you’re looking for Chase, “he’s always at the front.”

The young sailors and coaches also had time to take in the sites of the city and had some fun. There were activities planned including go-karting, mini golf, movies, and an ice cream night.

Dort says potential new sailors can often find a mentor at a local yacht club where they are always sailors looking to train others.

“If you want to learn, just jump on a boat and people will teach you,” Dort says.

This story appeared in the Halifax City Voice.

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