Photo by Lieutenant Theresa Naluz -- Tim Wypper (left) and Shamus McMillin (right) sail out to the start of the race in Kingston for the Sea Cadet National Regatta on August 19.

KINGSTON, ONTARIO: Cadet Tim Wypper from Cape Breton is one of the top 50 Sea Cadet sailors in Canada and is competing in the National Sea Cadet Sailing Regatta at Portsmouth Harbour in Kingston, Ontario.

Cadet Wypper is a part of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Program, for young Canadian’s aged 12 to 18. Cadet Wypper is currently 18-years-old and joined when he was 12. There are over 8,000 Sea Cadets across Canada, with youth from 236 Sea Cadet corps introduced into the Sea Cadet Program. It aims to develop attributes, such as leadership and physical fitness. They’re also trained in sailing, nautical activities, naval communications and shipboard life.

“I am very proud of the work that I have done with the Cadet Program and the competition itself,” Whypper said. “There are many skillful people here so it makes it a lot harder to compete. It is a great learning environment and place to figure out what you want to do with your sailing career.”

The program has roots in 1918, towards the end of the First World War. It started as the Boy’s Naval Brigade to train young men to support the Canadian Merchant Marines. In 1923, it was changed to the Sea Cadet Corps. In 1975, young girls were officially allowed to enroll.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sea cadet program in Canada. The National Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Regatta is an opportunity for Sea Cadet sailors to test their sailing skills, and work together in teams. The teams compete for the title of Top Sea Cadet Sailors.

Before getting into the National Regatta, Sea Cadets selected have competed in local and provincial regattas.

“Cadets compete at the regional regatta to qualify for a spot at nationals,” Captain Nicole McKay wrote. “Many of the cadets have competed in other regattas to hone their skills as sailors but it is the regional regatta placement that determines their ability to race at this level.”

The program has support from the Department of National Defense and the Navy League of Canada as joint partners. They also receive support from the community, including the City of Kingston, The Ambassador Hotel, and the Merchant Navy Veterans’ Association.

The regatta went from August 21-24, with an award ceremony in the evening. During the regatta, sailers participate in three races per day, and a fourth depending on weather.