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Cherub National Championship at Stone Sailing Club

by UK-Cherub 29 Aug 2017 16:42 BST 19-22 August 2017
Cherub Nationals at Stone © UK-Cherub

Stone SC on the Blackwater is only an hour or so by slow train from London but it feels a world away with its opens spaces, wide horizon and lack of planes overhead.

The pace of life seems slower here, the only thing that moves quickly is the tide and that could give Usain Bolt a good race. There was a chilled out vibe about the recent Cherub Nationals, the sort of in touch with nature that makes you want to run naked through the club like the winner of the infamous Spanking Paddle. With plenty of gently sloping beach to rig, a good area to camp on site and a nearby house rented by the Cherub committee things looked set up for 4 days of competitive racing and BBQ's.

Some doubts were expressed before the first race if the river would allow a long enough course. With a good force 4-6 blowing straight down the channel against the tide those doubts were swiftly erased with a 45 minute race consisting of just 2 laps. Thankfully we had trapezes or the mile beat against the tide could have finished peoples regattas there and then. Talking of which the old adage is you can't win a regatta on the first day but you sure can lose it. Clive and Alex Everest cane to Stone with high hopes of being the first foiling Cherub to win a Nationals. Significantly faster if the conditions were right the weather forecast was looking promising. What wasn't so promising was the wind against tide chop and then an ebbing spring tide full of weed. Enough weed to entrap a foiler and drag it down to Davy Jones locker. One broken mast later and the only prize the unfortunate Everests took home was the Ashes awarded for best boat destruction.

So what did we learn on the first day? We learnt that previous National Champion crew Eddie Bridle has become older and quicker and teamed up with Sam they outpaced the normal Princes of heavy weather Paul Croote and Ed Higham. We also learnt that Phil and Carol Alderson 97 rules Cherub is fast, in fact the fastest seen in years, those years being the ones since Phil and Carol last came south from Largs. A few of us learnt that a river has unseen edges well before dry land, usually a painful learning experience involving a trip around the forestay and some daggerboard bimbling in the evening. At the close of play Eddie and Sam had a clear lead over Paul and Ed and other title hopefuls such as the Peters and the Harrises had a mixed day with a lot to do if they could claw back for a series win. The day finished with the biggest lesson of all – Clive Everest can feed the Cherub fleet with a BBQ at the committee house (ably "assisted" by Jo Pratt and Jill Peters). One Commodores Reception and a late bar later the final lesson was learnt by Greg Paton-Kerr. Unless you like late morning hangovers don't stay up drinking with Clive.

Day 2 dawned with a more moderate wind to the relief of some. 3 more decent sized races were held and a few more lessons were learnt. We learnt that although Eddie has now finished school he still can't count to four, handing the first race to Jill and Andy Peters and we learnt that although the Peters can count they can confuse an anchored cruising boat for the committee boat and try and finish off that. We learnt that as the wind moderates Dave Ching and Haley Trim are quick but prone to the odd race losing moment, however don't cross them as they will rip you off your boat as the Davy winning Dean Ralph found out to his cost (and several large bruises). We also learnt that Eddie and Sam lose no speed as the wind moderates retaining their lead overall. The big movers of the day were Andy and Jill with a 1,1,2 scoreline propelling them upto 3rd. Phil and Carol were still dominating not only the 97 rules but a few newer boats as well. Our final lesson of the day was that Stone SC can knock up a very decent roast dinner for hungry sailors.

Day 3 and with a lightening forecast the race officer had altered the SI's to run a 4th race. The wind was cross tide giving a new challenge for the fleets mental melting pots. A few of those burnt out resulting in a bit of mark loving, some committee boat loving but happily a lot of very close racing. We learnt that getting the first beat right was crucial and propelled a few new faces to the front with Jamie and Rosie in Shinny Beast making a few appearances near the front, Jay and Sven having a better day with terrifically illegal downwind speed (allegedly until proven later) and some others having a day they would rather forget. Andy and Jill were again just the fastest but not fast enough. A crucial last bit of defending by Eddie and Sam in the final race saw them go into the closing day with a 4 point lead over the Peters. The day was rounded off by another great meal from Stone, this time their take on a barbecue, followed by Cherub games night unfortunately won by a 4000 sailor. In true Cherub style there was some betting on favourites and unfortunately some lost their shirts, no wait, their trousers.

The final day dawned with a mirror over the surface of the river Blackwater a fitful breeze did fill in but not enough to ensure fair racing and so the final day was cancelled. The Cherub class would like to thank Stone SC and all who gave up their time to run our event (and in particular Caroline and Wendy) for the brilliant hospitality from the club, the food, the 2 bars, the race management, the rescue cover (tested on the first day and not found wanting) the camping, the perfect length Commodore's speech, I could go on but in short they did us proud. I would also like to thank the 4000 class for being such genial co-competitors.

Full results below however the Cherub fleet has been in existence for over 60 years and we have a few special prizes:

  • 1st 97 rules boat – dominated by Phil and Carol Alderson from Largs SC in Pocket Rocket
  • 1st Lady – for the 6th time in the past 7 years Jill 'the teapot' Peters from Queen Mary in Usagi Yojimbo
  • The Ashes (best boat destruction) Alex and Clive Everest in A&E for their foiling mast breaking efforts on day 1 and for then selling their boat (minus mast which they have to fix)
  • The Davy for best capsize – Dean Ralph from Isle of Sheppy in (or rather not in) Eleanor. Never mess with Dave Ching or he will rip you from your boat, toss you in the air and put you in the tide!
  • Didgeri don't (for the team that promised so much but delivered so little) Nick Pratt and Andy Whapshott in Green Bananas, with the most pimped boat and a crew specially recruited for the event hopes were high after day 1. Unfortunately as the wind faded so did those hopes.
  • Best improver – Dave Ching and Haley Trim in Little Chilli – devastatingly quick in the light and a number of strong races pulled them up the leader board from last year

And last but not least the Spanking Paddle for worst behaviour at the regatta. Awarded to the posterior of the winner by last year's winner. The chilled nature of Stone dulled competition a little but there were several worthy entries. After several years of trying finally won by Robin Jones for his 70's porn star look whilst streaking through the club after one too many shandies. The fleet expects worse next year.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Cherub nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Pts
53208DEAN RALPHSIMON JONESI.O.S.S.C.33(DNF)4869‑104340
112648GREG PATON‑KERRJAMES ???NETLEY S.C9951011‑1311‑12111177

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