UK-Cherub Class

Get Your Heart Racing


Weston Grand Slam

6th-9th April 2007

Five cherubs made the trip to Weston Sailing Club this weekend for the Grand Slam. Iain Christie and Tom Vian (Suicide Blonde, 2644) arrived early on Thursday night in order to pitch their tent in daylight. The reason for this became clear when Casa Christie was seen, complete with separate sleeping quarters and wardrobe and indoor heating, courtesy of the gas barbeque! They were joined by Will and Lucy Lee (Atum Bom, 2688), Dave Ching and Lara Gonzales (Shiny Beast, 2676), Tim Unermann and Stu Hopson (Pocket Rocket, 2683) and Stu Tinner and Ollie Hobson (Dangerous Strawberry, 2649).

Pop Quiz: what are Iain and Will using to level the BBQ?

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The extremely civilized 1300 start enabled the assembled hoards to enjoy a slap-up breakfast barbeque and a few cheeky pre-race beers for those who were still assembling their boats (Stuberry).

The first race was sailed in a light northerly, perfect conditions to allow Dave and Lara in Shiny Beast to show off their light wind legs, leading from the start with no serious challenges from the rest of the fleet. Will and Lucy in Atum Bom had a good first leg, but a rather over-enthusiastic kite hoist resulted in hitting an RS800 helm in the ribs with the pole, followed by turns! Tim and Stu in Pocket Rocket were third to the windward mark, ahead of Iain and Tom in Suicide Blonde but were hampered by their smaller sail area and finished in fourth.

The second race was started in the same light, shifty northerly, but the sea breeze kept trying to make an appearance resulting in very patchy and shifty conditions. Dave and Lara lead off the line and took the inshore route to escape the tide. Sadly for them the wind shifted enough for the left to pay and let Will and Lucy through. Up the next beat these two were close cross tacking up the inshore track, which let Iain and Tom (Suicide Blonde) through into first in completely different wind! By the end of the second lap Will and Lucy had snuck into first thanks to a little bit of down-wind T-foil use. Much to their disgust they were sent round for a third lap in the dying breeze and strengthening tide while the others finished with Shiny first, Suicide second and Pocket third.

The evening’s entertainment involved a fabulous chilli at Dave and Lara’s lovely new house in Bournemouth.

The second 1300 start allowed Team Suicide to crack on with another breakfast barbeque and beers. The third race was sailed in a light southwesterly wind. Shiny lead up the first beat, but Atum got them on the downwind leg. On the second downwind leg Atum commenced operation 'Stay between the opposition and the mark' which nearly allowed Shiny to sail right round them in a little patch of breeze. Poor Pocket Rocket struggled with the smaller rig, and managed to get lost in vacuum which made for a very late lunch!

The fourth race saw a solid performance from Pocket Rocket (TIm Unermann and Stu Hopson) who stayed in touch with Suicide Blonde all the way round, and even managed to pass them on the way to the finish thanks to a very well placed gust. Dave and Lara in Shiny had been thinking they weren't travelling at their usual light wind pace, and the reason why came clear at the top mark. Dave went for the bear-away and thought the rudder seemed very heavy, so tried to let the main out to ease things. This failed completely, and it became clear the two problems were related as there was a loop of mainsheet round the rudder. A daring attempt to sort this out while remaining dry was sadly unsucessful, resulting in a 7/10 scoring capsize! Having removed their sea anchor they sailed through to second. The other natable feature of this race was that there was an almightly hole at the finish, which resulted in a huge pile-up of boats. The race team sensibly shortened the course in order to prevent complete carnage, but only after Atum Bom had drifted over the line and been sent on yet another extra lap.

In the evening, Team Suicide attempted to drink Netley SC dry, depleting the global stocks of sambuca to near critical levels.In order to express his thanks to the club for their hospitality Tom provided a bit of impromptu DIY in the form of patio re-decoration. On the way home they borrowed a pair of bikes which were ridden with more enthusiasm than skill, resulting in Tom making an emergency stop in a roadside bush, while Iain crashed into his own boat and promptly fell asleep in it!

The fifth race: In yet more light southerly breeze Atum got a good start, while the rest of the Cherubs followed at a safe distance behind Shiny. Atum went up the inshore track which necessitated cross tacking the entire RS400 fleet. Shiny came inside for a bit, then sensibly headed out in to the stream to get a good shift and clear air. They got to top mark just behind Atum having closed the gap right down. Atum disappeared downwind as the breeze had filled in enough to really get the T-foil working. Team Dangerous Strawberry (Stu Tinner and Ollie Hobson) were 3rd to the windward mark, having played it safe up the centre of the beat. They had a few teething problems with the kite, but managed to hoist eventually. Unfortunately they were then pointing too low with single wire configuration, so put the helm on the wire and pissed it in! Finished fourth. Pocket Rocket were with Strawberry at the bottom mark, and passed them when they started swimming. Suicide were slightly the worse for wear, and luckily for them broke the mainsheet block attachment and headed in for a kip!

On the 6th race Dangerous Strawberry lived up to their name with a superb, reckless, lucky and slightly dangerous start which saw them third to the top mark again. They suffered from more kite issues but finished race without it. Shiny lead to within ten boat length of the top mark, but had a quick dip which let Atum Bom through. Shiny recovered quickly and were close enought to Atum to be caught out in yet another 'Third Lap Challenge' (or was it a fourth?). Pocket suffered again from their little kite, and were just beaten by Suicide who managed to ecape near death in huge, tsunami sized waves caused by a monster stink boat passing through the course in maximum displacement mode. After a truly shocking start Atum managed to catch up enough to burn it up with a 12foot skiff downwind on last lap, finishing 1st on handicap.

Sunday evening saw the whole fleet retire to a local pub for a Sunday dinner (huge plates of roast or deep fried beasts all round). The lard-fest continued in the morning back at Dave and Lara's house where Stu Tinner cooked a slap-up fried breakfast. Next thing you know he'll be running the only Greasy Spoon with carbon cutlery….

On Monday the wind looked dire causing many sailors to join the traffic jams early and go home. This seemed like a good choice as the light northerly breeze dropped to very near nothing half way up the first beat and the fleet slowly drifting to the top mark on the tide. Atum Bom started cleanly in the middle of the line and seemed to drift a little quicker than most, getting to the top mark ahead of the leading RS400. Most of the fleet went for the kiteless rumb-line route to the post south of the club, but Atum Bom has hoisted the kite at the top and it seemed to be filling - although the heading left something to be desired - being shorewards rather than towards the buoy. The theory was that moving was better than not moving, and out of the foul flood tide has to be better than in it. The breeze then filled in slightly from the south leaving the following fleet a close reach and Atum Bom a short beat to the post. Atum Bom was behind the B14 and the Iso at the post, and was passed on the line by a gybe-on-to-port-in-front-of-the-cherub move by a disposable-boat-mentality RS400.

For the last race the breeze had piped up enough from the south for some trapeze use at last, as some deployment of T foils too. The course to South mooring and back to a blob made for interesting tactics including the changing tide. The breeze was enough for twinnability offwind with T foilage, with some new trapeze straight backwards from the gantry action from the helm aboard Atum Bom. The best part was eeing the heavy displacement craft around sitting one one each side while fully maxed twin wire blasting was going on aboard Atum. Spanko!

These results were enough to put Atum Bom 3rd out of 40ish boats in the Asymmetric fleet, for which a handy WSC towel and a pair of easter eggs were won. Thanks to all at Weston for running an excellent event, and see you all again soon!

Nothing was found.

Words: Lucy Lee / Dave Ching / Lara Gonzalez-Ruiz / Stu Tinner / Olly Hobson / Tim Unerman / Stu Hopson / Will Lee Pictures: Iain Christie


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