The Cadet is a junior class of boat which is sailed by
two children in the age from 7 to 17 years. With its wide distribution
over more than 18 countries and 4 continents, the Cadet is a truly
international racing dinghy. The boat provides a three sail experience
where the helm and the crew must work together as a team to obtain the
The Cadet dinghy
The first Cadet was designed by the British boat builder Jack Holt
in 1947. Originally intended for self-assembly, the boat soon became
very popular and spread over the whole world. Through the years, the
Cadet evolved from the wooden MK I to the modern MK IV, that is made of
glass fibre. Today it has all the attributes of a racing dingy and even
includes a spinnaker. In its more than 60 year old history, the Cadet
introduced thousands of children to the joy of sailing, and also
afforded several Olympic Sailing medallists.
The Cadet is a one-design boat and therefore all Cadets have the
same, strictly controlled, measurements. While material and appearance
changed over time, the hull shape remained the same. Today, wooden MK II
and GRP MK IV compete in the same races. The boat itself is 3.2m long,
weighs 61.2 kg and has a sail area of 4.65 square metres.
Sail emblemMeasurementsLength over all:3.22 mBeam:1.27 mDraft:(without centerboard) 0.16 mMast height:5.22 mHull weight:54 kgSail areaMainsail:3.9 m²Jib:1.26 m²Spinnaker:4.25 m²
Typically, crews start sailing the Cadet at the age of 7 or 8 years.
They quickly learn to sail under the guidance of an older and more
experienced helm and finally begin to helm themselves at 11 or 12 years.
Since it is a junior class of boat, children can sail the Cadet only
until they turn 17 years.
The Cadet is not just about learning to sail. A racing day is
physically exhausting and demands a great deal of concentration from the
sailors. Furthermore, the helms have to learn very early to take on
responsibility for their decisions and their younger crews. The crews,
in turn, benefit from the knowledge and experience of their helms and
therefore learn very quickly. Both sailors have to work together as a
team in order to win a race.
Races all around the world
As soon as helms and crews are comfortable with the basic skills of
sailing, they can try their hand at racing. Depending on the country,
races range from small regional regattas to National Championships and
international events like the Central European Cadet Cup. Besides the
opportunity to practice racing, these regattas also provide a fantastic
chance for the children to meet new friends and enjoy the various social