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The 12 Foot Cadet (or Cadet Dinghy) has a history that stretches back over 90 years. It was designed as a training class for junior members of the Royal Prince Alfred YC on Pittwater in 1922. By the mid 1920's it had spread to every state and the first national titles were held in 1925.
In 1927 the then Governor-General, Lord Stonehaven presented a cup for interstate competition and the Stonehaven Cup is still the trophy that is presented to each new national champion. It is the longest running junior sailing competition in the southern hemisphere.
The class has carefully adapted to modern trends while preserving the heritage of the design.
Current boats can be built in fibreglass and have large bouyancy tanks unlike the older boats. The lugsail rig has been replaced with a bermudan rig and the wooden spars with aluminium although some boats still sail with the original rigs. It sails with a crew of three up to the age of nineteen.

The 12 Foot Cadets still race nationally and have fleets in Victoria at Royal Melbourne YS, Royal Brighton YC and Royal Geelong YC. 
An interesting feature of the class is that most boats are owned by clubs and are lent out as part of a training program. 
A good opportunity to see them in action is at the annual RGYC Festival of Sails over the Australia Day long weekend.
Click on the link for the Royal Brighton YC website which has a comprehensive history of the 12 Foot Cadet plus specifications and notes on building one.