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Cherub UK National Championship at Pembrokeshire Yacht Club

by Emma Pearson 4 Sep 2018 07:17 BST 31 August - 2 September 2018

For anyone who may be unsure of what exactly a Cherub is, you're missing out!

The Cherub is an old class, originating from New Zealand in 1951 where the original boat looked not unlike a Wayfarer or Firefly. Through the years they have gone through various stages of metamorphoses and the most modern designs currently are not unlike a mini International 14 or a gnarly RS800 albeit smaller, lighter and fluently carbon. It's ideal for anyone who is small, light and enjoys sailing in it's rawest of forms.

The majority of the fleet arrived Thursday afternoon/evening from all over the country (and beyond). After a swift rig-up in the boat park, any best made plans for a prep-sail were veto-ed in favour of befriending the bar. There was much debating about chancing going under the piers to get to the race course but I definitely did not fancy that! We had only just had our boat, Green Bananas, back after a near-terminal rock-hunting incident earlier in the year.

Day 1

From the monster size apartment holiday-let we had rented for the weekend you could see a little patch of water in the docks and it didn't look as though it was quite the billed 14 – 17 knots but it was early in the day and sunny – so potential for some "thermal enhancement".

First start was not scheduled until 1pm we rolled over our luminous green hull for rigging and also to clean of the dusty residue from the new repair. With a total of 10 boats arrived and registered we convened in the clubhouse for a briefing and a catch up of cups of tea and bacon rolls. Roland – our most exotic member, "fresh" out of Monaco did a very good job of spreading the fear and as a result, at least half the fleet went out on small/smaller sails.

Race 1: It was a long cruise round to the bay where our initial 4 races were to be held and it did feel quite breezy. This is generally good news for some of the older designs and excellent for the big boys of the fleet: Crooty and Andy in Marmite -a vicious looking new style Cherub. Ultimately, they took the first win of the series in what proved to be the biggest wind of the day after hammering the left side of the course.

Race 2: With left continuing to pay myself and Nick faired a little better in the second race with a brief stint in 1st place but it wasn't to be. The hot favourites, Andy and Jill Peters in Usagi Yojimbo, zipped passed us with Marmite in hot pursuit. At the finish Roland and scratch crew Ben in Ronin had had a swim to ensure both discards were used early and unfortunately this meant all bots crossed the line before them but credit where it's due – somehow they both still had ear-to-ear grins.

Race 3: The wind was now beginning to lighten (not forecast or foreseen!) and the left continued to pay out well. By now, the racing was all about the race to the cliff face and catching a good gust to bring you down to the leeward gate on some decent apparent wind. Usagi continued in their usual manner -fast, high, clean sailing whilst Marmite struggled to get going. Dave and Hayley in Little Chilli put in an excellent performance scoring a 2nd place, well ahead of us in third followed but Marmite, Ronin and The Shiny Beast. The battle further down the fleet was equally enthusing with Martyn and Oliver in King Tubby finishing head of the hybrid rules Squid-Pro-Quo crewed by Jimmy and Guido.

Race 4: The race committee decided to shorten the beat by about 50%, probably after hearing the huffs and puffs from the crews and a mix of shivering and eye-rolling form the helms. There's no doubt that this made for some excellent viewing as all boats spread out across the track, only to converge at the windward and gate marks. Clean and clear as ever, Usagi pulled away with Marmite chasing and on the final gybe Ronin came screaming in on Starboard causing crash gybes from Little Chilli, Shiny Beast, and ourselves in Green Bananas. A brilliant tactical move.

After a good cruise back home in we settled in the club house and were promptly served some hearty hot food.

Day 2

Saturday heralded a bright yet drizzly morning as we arrived to the club. A light day was forecast, and we were keen to get going on 3 scheduled races with the Solution fleet alongside. With our new big jib on the rig GB felt much more comfortable and we were keen to improve on the previous day's "learning points".

Race 5: Sound and flag signals went off and up for race5 countdown. With about 4 and half minutes to go Jay and Greg on Exultant Jubilation (aka EJ, a very tricky E5) managed to have a quick swim not far off the start line causing all sorts of mischief for everyone around them. Fortunately for them this appear to have been a shrewd move as they simply popped up and triggered off the line with one of the best starts in the fleet! Generally speaking, the usual boats chased the usual boats around the racing area, favouring the left again with the exception of The Shiny Beast. Shiny, crewed by my brother Jamie and his mate Joe was sailing exceptionally well today, generating their own wave phenomenon whereby both the bow and the stern of the boat are out of the water when between manoeuvres. Bearing this in mind – I can't be all too upset that he rolled me beautifully on a downwind leg and crossed the line a country mile ahead.

Race 6: Went much the same – EJ didn't quite manage to all over although they did give a suggestion that they would which scared the rest of the fleet into a near raft mid- start-line. Shiny didn't quite manage to get ahead of us but did give us a very good run for our monies and Chilli had a minor slip of concentration that ended in a swim and sadly a lost tiller extension.

Race 7: Chilli valiantly battled on as the wind was now quite light. On starboard tack, heading out to the favoured left we could see Dave sat inboard holding the remains of the UJ and pocket-power house Hayley flat wired, shoulders back and doing everything she could to keep the boat moving.

A few laps later and every one was pleased to be heading in. The club, again had put food on for us which was smashed thorough by some very tired and now hungry sailors after another long day on the water. Once suitably satisfied with BBQ and bar food the AGM took place and afterwards the club pub quiz (infused with all the usual cherub humour of course). Somehow, with our kaleidoscope of participants we didn't do too badly placing a 2nd overall.

Day 3

With a final three race to be held and scores on the doors very tight it was all to play for regarding podium spots. Plenty of jokes were floating around about onshore or alterative way to decide the final overall results. Overnight autumn seemingly arrived and with is a good cherubic ideal wind, cloud-rain and fog.

Race 8: Could have been mistaken for our final running order. In a new closer race arena that gave us flat water and a great 17 knots or so. Electing the big jib again in a "go big or go home" gamble.

We rounded mark 1 in first place but were out hoisted but the mini machine crew Jill and rolled post-gybe by Marmite. Chilli, now with a borrowed spare tiller extension was just behind us followed by Shiny, Ronin and EJ with Martin bringing up the fun end of the fleet.

Race 9: Chilli excellent start and pulled away looking both higher and faster than the rest of us but unlucky kite-based problems pushed them down the fleet. On the final lap we were second around the top mark and chose to keep it safe by following Usagi down the run. Marmite, however gybed off early and, for a second time this weekend we fell victim to a port/starboard metres from the finish. Having said that we're happy to be third and I did see it coming... EJ somehow managed to shoe-horn themselves a tidy 4th, displaying some great improvements despite having such short notice on the crew-swap.

Race 10: After a lengthy postponement to allow the 12 o'clock weather beaten Irish Ferry to go passed the wind seemed to have lightened a little. Having pulled off a good start Marmite appeared to have eased off, happy to settle for 2nd over all and leave us to tussle for the final race win. We were ahead by the final windward mark due to a few spinnaker situations from both Chilli and Usagi and a slick couple of gybe drops we had in place on previous laps. Our plan was to split from the left to enter the corridor of choice and gybe in thorough the gate and across the finish line. All was going well, good speed, great angle to the gate, shot the gate well but on the final gybe to victory a force known by many helms as an elbow knocked me backwards and planted me between the wing and gunwale of the boat with a slow motion roll in to windward. Disaster! By the time we were upright we limped across the line in 3rd... never mind!

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

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Pts
13202Usagi YojimboAndy PetersJill Peters-2111-21212110
23212MarmitePaul CrooteAndrew Whapshott12-4212121-412
33217Green BananasEmma PearsonNick Pratt-433-643333325
43214Little ChilliDave ChingHayley Trim342355-114-7228
52676The Shiny BeastJamie PearsonJoe White55-6534455-1136
62698RoninRoland TrimBen Hawkes-6-105466566644
73206Exultant JubilationJay WilliamsonGreg Brown-76-7777674549
82850King TubbyMartyn DenchfieldOliver Goolden-9-98888788762
92677Squid Pro QuoJimmy RuddimanGuido Blee889-11-11111111111180
103201The AmbulanceRobin JonesJosh Haynes-117-111111111111111184

Additional Prizes:

  • Didgeridon't (Most Promised, Least Achieved) – Joe White
  • The Davey (Most Spectacular Swimming Incident) – Green Bananas, Emma Pearson & Nick Pratt
  • The Ashes (Best Breakage) – Squid-Pro-Quo, Jimmy Ruddiman & Guido Blee
  • The Spanking Paddle (Best Performance Off-Water) – Robin Jones & Josh Haynes
  • 1st 97 Rules – King Tubby, Martyn Denchfield & Oliver Goolden
  • 1st Lady – Jill Peters

The class would like to extend a warn and friendly thank you to the race committee for an excellent weekend's boat racing; Christian, the man, the machine and organiser extraordinaire who is now also Solution National Champion; the Solution Class Association, Pembrokeshire Yacht Club for having us (and having such a great bar) and also to Andy for all the hard work rearranging our nationals.

If your keen to see cherub racing or try your luck at pulling off a gybe-set in 20 knots please get in touch. Our next event is the Inlands at Queen Mary SC in a few weekends' time but we are active.

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