Please select your home edition
leaderboard with question mark E6 launch 2021

Deben Cherub fleet re-start racing in 2022 at Woodbridge Boatyard and Deben Yacht Club

by Matt Lis 6 Dec 2022 15:25 GMT 13 November 2022
2022 sees a fleet of Deben Cherubs race for the first time in 70 years © Charmian Berry

Deben Cherubs first raced in Woodbridge almost a hundred years ago, back in 1924 when Mr Rhys Curjel's and Captain Pitt-Miller's boats, 'Cherub' and 'Etonia', were first built and launched by Everson & Sons Boatyard. The fleet grew and through the 1920s and 30s Everson's built 17 of the pretty pocket cruisers that they and Mr Curjel had designed together.

The Deben Cherubs competed regularly, starting and finishing their races from the neighbouring Deben Yacht Club or from Everson's own jetty where Alfred Everson would use his shotgun to signal to the racers.

Over the years the racing fleet of Deben Cherubs waxed and waned until it eventually died out around 1950. Individual boats were still active and raced or cruised actively amongst other little wooden boats but the home fleet in Woodbridge had been dispersed and lost. In mid-November 2022 the fleet was re-born.

On the 13th of November, following the local Remembrance Sunday Service, crews headed down to Everson's, these days known as Woodbridge Boatyard, to race a fleet of Deben Cherubs for the first time in 70 years. With paint and varnish gleaming the little boats pushed away from the jetty gliding gently across the mirror-like calm waters.

The glassy waters were the result of the almost complete lack of any wind but with occasional, barely discernible breaths of breeze and considerable focus and patience the race was begun.

'Lindy Lou', built in 1931, got the best start but quickly had 'Lynette' (1937), 'Cherub' (1924) and 'Jubilee' (1935) hot on her heels. Unfortunately 'Ariel' (1934) never recovered from a slow start and spent her afternoon very leisurely pursuing the other four boats who all had a very close race with positions regularly changing.

The boats headed downriver from Woodbridge, around Loder's Cut Island, past Kyson Point and back in to the town by which point 'Lynette' and her crew had managed to break away slightly, a lead that the others could not quite recover.

Competition for second, third and fourth was very tight with changes right up to the line resulting in 'Cherub' leading 'Jubilee' and 'Lindy Lou' all within a boat's length of each other. There was some concern that 'Ariel' may have run aground such was her relaxed pace at the back of the fleet but when Tam Grundy's tugboat 'Fury', acting as a press-boat for the day, went to check upon her they found her afloat and her crew to be enjoying freshly brewed coffee and sandwiches.

All boats finished and their crews headed back to the Woodbridge Boatyard and Deben Yacht Club for refreshments and the awarding of a winner's plaque to 'Lynette's crew who thoroughly deserved their win.

Such was the success of the day that all five boats have committed to a quarterly race series in future and plans are already being made for more classic and traditionally-rigged boat racing from the Deben Yacht Club in collaboration with Woodbridge Boatyard in 2023.

Once plans are finalised information will be available via

Related Articles

Deben Hadron H2 Open
Four back-to-back races in a gruelling, gusty breeze The eight sailors who came to the starting area for Deben Yacht Club's Hadron H2 Open on Saturday 2nd July certainly knew they had a day of racing. Posted on 4 Jul 2022
First open meeting for Hadron H2s at Deben
Visitors did not travel to East Coast just to follow the local experts around Situated at Woodbridge at the head of the beautiful River Deben in Suffolk, the Deben Yacht Club is now the premier H2 club on the East Coast. Their first H2 open event was therefore looked forward to with anticipation. Posted on 13 Jul 2021
Enterprises at Deben
Sailing down the river towards Felixstowe Five visiting Enterprise entered the Deben Open on a bright sunny day with a moderate north wind. The wind direction gave the race officer a difficult decision as to where to take the racing. Posted on 18 Sep 2013
Enterprises at Deben
Fantastic conditions at Woodbridge in Suffolk Blue skies, a steady force 3 and 20+ degrees made for champagne sailing conditions on the lovely Deben at Woodbridge in Suffolk. A sign of the current times was only 3 visitors joined one home boat to contest the event. Posted on 26 Jul 2012
Enterprises at Deben
Race officers prediction spot-on Visitors from six clubs joined two home boats for an event which qualified for both the Broads and Eastern Areas aggregate trophies. After the poor weather conditions of the past two seasons we were greeted by wall to wall sunshine and no wind! Posted on 4 Jul 2011
Enterprises at Deben
Only two boats manage to finish For the second year in succession blue sails returned to the River Deben in Suffolk and for the second year in succession the weather was awful! Posted on 30 Aug 2010
Enterprises at Deben
Driest part of the country?! After an absence of many years Enterprise dinghys returned in force to the River Deben in Suffolk for an open meeting counting both to the Broads and Eastern area aggregate trophies. Posted on 11 Jun 2009
Streakers at Deben
Shifty conditions and a big turnout 17 sailors turned out to find bright sunshine and a light breeze at the Adnams sponsored Streaker open at Deben Yacht Club. Posted on 28 Apr 2009
RS Visions at Deben
Family important in the class The RS Vision is called a Family Cruiser Racer. Those who attended this weekends Open Meeting at the Deben Yacht Club found out that the family bit is important but it also helps if youre called Dan. Posted on 28 Apr 2009
Streaker Southerns at Deben
Near gale force winds The Streaker Dinghy Southern Championships were held at the Deben Yacht Club this Sunday 22nd June. The Adnams sponsored event endured a week of extreme forecasts ranging from virtually no wind to near gale force. Posted on 24 Jun 2008