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Cherub class at the Skiff open meeting at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy

by Jamie Pearson 16 May 14:23 BST 11-12 May 2024
Cherubs at the Weymouth skiff open - Marmite © Tim Olin /

The fleet amassed at Weymouth Portland National Sailing Academy for the 4th annual skiff open; could this be the first year where all races are started?!

Race 1

Poppy did a port end flyer due to a late wind change that caused a rather wonky start line for race 1. Marmite had a great start and led to the windward mark in clear air ahead of the rest of the pack, extending that lead to the end with Poppy not too far behind.

Race 2

Marmite had a good start and first beat narrowly edging Usagi to the top mark however in true Andy and Jill style they had fantastic downwind speed twin wiring to sneak back in front. The left was really paying in the south easterly breeze. Unfortunately for Poppy, she had become stuck in the windshadow of a B14 and 4K, so tacked over to the right, it was lose lose for them from then on.

Back at the front Marmite then pushed hard up the beat to get ahead by the top mark. Marmite held the lead to the bottom mark and tacked off which in hindsight was a mistake as they caught the wake of a cruiser and went up and down rather than forward. Allowing Usagi back in.

Race 3

Marmite and Usagi traded places in a weakening breeze with Marmite getting the honours on the last beat.

Race 4

Marmite started slowly in a bunch of other classes without enough breeze to enable them blast through. Then went backwards in the light airs, the breeze then filled for the second lap allowing them to reel Poppy in, however Andy and Jill in Usagi had disappeared by then.

Day one ended with Marmite leading closely followed by Usagi and Poppy in Fourth on PY

Evening entertainment was held at the academy with a curry followed by a Q&A session with members of each fleet.

A quick pit stop at chateau Peters and off we went in to Weymouth; 5 local pubs later and we were home!

Day 2

Winds were forecast to be lighter and getting even more so as the day went on due to a battling sea breeze.

Race 5

The forecast was wrong, it was windier than Saturday, just. Twinstringing all the way round the course.

Poppy tried to repeat the port end flyer of day 1, but had to do a massive wind-down and then a tack to avoid Marmite while being stuck under the wind shadow of an Iso.

She tried to claw back upwind with Marmite and Usagi, the latter of which had a disastrous tack which slowed them right down. Top mark roundings on lap 1 were Marmite, Poppy then Usagi.

On the downwind Poppy tried to go for a VMG race but Usagi went for pure speed. On the gybe Usagi were ahead. Not to feel left out Marmite went for a swim at the bottom mark after her crew moved to leeward just as the helm rounded up. Once again all three Cherubs were in touching distance, walking distance if you include the Musto Skiffs that they had caught up to.

The tricks of the day were the same as day 1, hit hard left upwind, break free of the other fleets and don't get caught up in the Musto traffic coming downwind.

Race 6

Marmite and Poppy jostled for the start line, conventionally in the pack near the committee boat, both reaching down the line at Mach 1 and rounding up with 2 seconds to go, thankfully both weren't over the line!

Poppy's Tfoil system had accumulated some stretch in the dyneema so could not quite get the right trim for the waves, but the power fetch both her and Marmite were on was blisteringly quick! A true showing of how fast these little boats can be in the right conditions. Usagi went middle/right up the beat and found the clean air, rounding 3rd at the top mark of lap 1, downwind was a test of wits, trying to dodge 49er FXs, I14s and the lead Mustos coming upwind and the trailing Mustos and B14s also going downwind meant the best tactics often changed boat length to boat length. With the heat building in the fleet, Martyn, crew of Poppy decided to drop the mainsheet to allow some cooling off to happen.

Marmite and Usagi carried on the fight upwind.

Race 7

This saw Marmite edging out another tight race against Usagi, and the unfortunate Poppy retiring due to the t/foil miscalibration.

With the breeze loosing strength on lap two, we were hoping it would stick around for the final race.

Race 8

The final race saw the unfavourable side of Cherub sailing light wind. Marmite struggled round at the back on lap 1 with Usagi not much further ahead. Lap 2 saw the breeze freshen up for a while but the writing was on the wall. Usagi finished ahead of Marmite and with equal points count back on the last race saw Usagi victorious.

If you've read this far, you must be interested. We have a class boat that is capable of winning races available for people to try. If you have a helm/crew combo or not, please get in touch as we would enjoy seeing you on the water

Thanks go to WPNSA for hosting the event, Arcy for finally holding the event with 100% of the races completed. The other fleets for just being cool around the boat park and on the water, Rich Bowers for organising and Andy and Jill Peters for the accommodation.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R34R45R5R6R7R8Pts
13202Andrew PetersJill PetersCastle Cove SC‑3121122110
23212Paul CrooteSimon JonesIsle of Sheppey SC1‑212211210
33216Jamie PearsonMartyn DenchfieldGrafham Water SC233333(DNC [5])DNC [5]22
43208Dave ChingOliver MorrellGrafham Water SC4(DNC [5])DNC [5]DNC [5]DNC [5]DNC [5]DNC [5]DNC [5]34

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