Two young sea cadets from Sooke have made their mark at the National Sea Cadet Regatta being held in Kingston, Ontario last week.
Andrew Irvin (16) and Cambden Warwaruk-McKay (17) went to Kingston to represent the Pacific Region at the national competition that ended on Saturday.
The pair are amongst the top 50 sea cadet sailors from across Canada and Irvin competed in four race days that ended on Saturday afternoon.
“They started competing after two training days with an Olympic-level coach,” explained Maria Granados, Maritime Affairs and Communications Coordinator for the Navy League of Canada.
“To qualify for the National Regatta, cadets must compete in their home regions and individually qualify with high enough results. They are then paired with another cadet of equal calibre from their home region for the national competition.”
Irvin recounted how he started to sail about four years ago as part of the sea cadet program and fell in love with the sport.
“There’s just something about sailing that is hard to explain,” said Irvin.
“It’s just a thrill and when you get to the point where you’re out there with higher wind speeds, the feeling is incredible.”
Irvin said that he hopes to buy his own boat soon and intends to continue with the sport well into the future.
The road to the National Regatta was not an easy one to navigate.
“We started at the Provincial level with 40 competitors and went through six races to qualify for the top 20 competitors. Then, after more competition, the top eight got to go to the National Regatta,” said Irvin.
Warwaruk-McKay was working in a staffing position at the regatta, making certain that all the equipment was prepared and that the boats are at their peak performance before the competitors took to the water.
A sailor himself, he started sailing several years ago and hopes to qualify for the next National Regatta.
“I didn’t get in this year, but it’s great to be here and working with the team,” he said before joking that, without him, “these guys would be lost”.
While Irvin ended the competition in the middle of the pack, he is still happy with his performance.
“There are people here who have been sailing since they were seven years old. Some of them have enough experience that they can almost predict the wind shifts before they happen,” he said.
“But I’ll get there. Wait until next year.”
For both boys, the thrill of sailing transcends the actual competition and Irvin is philosophic about why he loves the sport.
“What I love about it is that there’s nothing high tech out there. It’s just you, the wind, and the water.”