It’s a small team, six members strong, but it had one heck of a sailing season.
The crew from the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps 137 (Kamloops) has wrapped up its sailing season, leaving in its wake a bunch of excellent results.
Riis Ingalls, 16, went to the Cadet National Regatta in Kingston, Ont., and also to the Canadian Yachting Association under-19 championships in Gimli, Man. In Gimli, a coach approached Ingalls to offer some praise.
“The coaches said after the summer that we were the most geared up sailors in B.C.,” Ingalls said. “We really worked hard — it’s not just a walk in the park.”
The Kamloops team comprises Ingalls, Adam Newman, Steven and Roger Pomeroy, Emily Roberts and Erika Spijksma. These six cadets travelled throughout B.C. — and, in some cases, Canada — to compete at regattas.
But it’s not a big sailing town. The cadets often go to Nicola Lake to get in some sailing, but sometimes have to be creative.
“We train hard,” Newman said. “In the offseason, because we’re in Kamloops and we’re not by the ocean, we do a lot of mental training and reading up and watching techniques, even on YouTube . . . watching sailing techniques.”
It seems to be paying off.
Roberts had an excellent season, as she and Steven Pomeroy qualified for the National Qualifying Regatta, which will be held over Easter weekend. She also won a silver medal at the B.C. Summer Games in Surrey, teaming with Gabrielle Johannsson of Ashcroft to finish second in the female 420 class.
Roberts also competed in Gimli, as she and Ingalls finished eighth.
As the sailors gain experience, they earn certification to teach. Roberts ended up doing a little teaching at the Summer Games.
“We got silver medal . . . but it was the most wind (Johannsson) had never sailed in, and I was teaching her things while we were racing,” said Roberts, who was skipper for the race. “It was so much fun.”
In talking to the sailing cadets, the word “fun” comes up quite often. The local corps meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., and is open for anyone between the ages of 12 and 18.
Each of the cadets takes part in sailing weekends, and also can attend sailing camps in Comox over the summer. As much fun as sailing can be, it’s also a little intimidating at the start.
“When I first started, I was scared,” said Steven Pomeroy. “The winds started picking up right when we went out, and I was with a person (with more experience), but sometimes he didn’t know what he was doing.
“We got stuck on a big cement wall that was holding up a bridge. It was scary.”
But Pomeroy survived, and now loves sailing.
He had a fine season — along with qualifying for the NQR alongside Roberts, he also joined Roger to finish in the top three at the Jericho Regatta in Vancouver in June.
The sailing Pomeroys — they are two-thirds of a set of triplets, with brother Brandon not involved in sailing — have done well for themselves, although sailing isn’t Roger’s trait.
Each cadet chooses a trait — either music, range (shooting), sailing or seamanship. Roger Pomeroy chose range, but still loves sailing.
“You’ve got to think fast in races,” he said. “Usually there are a lot of boats around you, so you have to pay attention.”
Spijksma is the same way — as an avid flutist, her chosen trait is music. Along with the flute, she also is involved in percussion.
And, like the rest of the sailor cadets, she loves sailing and racing.
Newman has an interesting theory as to why.
“The thing I like about sailing is that it’s never the same two times,” he said. “The best way to compare it would be like having a basketball game, and every time, the number of players on the court changes, the floor’s constantly moving and is a different size every time.
“Each variable is different every time you’re out on the water.”