U.K. Cherub Nationals 1970 (Grafham Water SC)

The 1970 Cherub nationals were held at Grafham Water S.C. between August 17th and 22nd. Over 40 boats turned up-a disappointing entry after 60 last year. 'The meeting was given an international flavour by the attendance of Miss P. Jongebreur of Holland, Russell Bowler of New Zealand and Gordon Lucas of Australia - the latter pair were first and third respectively at the Cherub worlds in Australia in January. One practice race and seven points races (five to count) were scheduled for the week over Olympic courses.

The practice race on Monday morning was abandoned halfway as gusts up to gale force swept the lake, Race one in the afternoon was postponed one and a half hours until the wind moderated slightly. Wild westerly winds combined with a short awkward chop decimated the fleet. Jonty Howard ('Mon Coeur') led on the first beat and reach. After the gybe mark, Brian Vincent ('Libido') in second place hoisted spinnaker to challenge the lead. Howard followed suit whereupon Vincent lowered his in the expectation that Howard would not stay upright in the violent conditions. This expectation materialised and Vincent took the lead, which he held to the finish. James Bond ('Aotearoa') pulled through to second place ahead of Howard.

Grafham is closed on Tuesdays so a glorious sunny day with moderate breeze was used for measuring. Wednesday saw the return of wild conditions with a cold misty northerly. The reaching legs were long and close and the leading boats demonstrated some spectacular spinnaker work with the wind gusting up around Force 7 at times. Brian Vincent won again followed by James Bond and Jonty Howard. The wind moderated slightly to a solid Force 5 in the afternoon for race three. Jonty Howard led over the line followed by Brian Vincent and Russell Bowler, the world champion, sailing a borrowed boat.

Thursday saw a reversion to very light conditions. Racing was abandoned in the morning after the shifting breeze thwarted attempts to set a windward start. Racing resumed at 2:30. The course was shortened to a triangle and sausage of an Olympic course. Jonty Howard crept over the line first in frustrating conditions ahead of Gordon Lucas ('Death Stroke') and Peter Eustace ('Purple Heart').

Race five was started immediately after the last boats finished race four. The wind shifted to make the first leg a close fetch. Surprisingly the wind was at the leeward end of the line and Jonty Howard whipped up his spinnaker to ghost away to an early lead. Peter Caisley ('Art O Dob') recovered from a mediocre start to win the race followed by Gordon Lucas and Chris Matthew ('Insure').

Friday was again a very light day and racing was postponed until the breeze settled gently from the south (or thereabouts!). Brian Vincent led over the shortened course to win from Chris Forman (Little Spirit') and David Babcock ('Amphigouri').

The wind all but died away for the seventh and final race in the afternoon, Many did not sail or retired early. Chris Forman won narrowly from David Babcock with Chris Matthews in third spot. This last result gave the title to Brian Vincent with Jonty Howard a close second. David Babcock, who sailed consistently in all weathers, came third overall,

The winning boat was a modified Spencer 7, home built for £12 (hull only) using sails made by the owner. Howard's boat was a 'stretched' Greg 5. Babcock was sailing a glassfibre Greg 6. Also in the first ten were a McCutcheon 8, two Spencer 7s, a glass fibre and a wooden Greg 6, a Forman 3 and a Greg 3a. Two boats were fitted with spinnaker chutes, Chris Forman had a very neat arrangement in front of his forestay which appeared to work well, Chris also used a Needlespar mast and a loose footed main, Only older boats use transom sheeting now - the top boats either had centre sheeting or a combination of the two. Sails come from many lofts but Pat Webb and Brian Vincent's Dolphin sails seem as good as any at consider ably less cost. Spinnaker gear demonstrates almost as many systems as there are boats, Most people use a downhaul from the pole end to the stemhead or a downhaul /uphaul incorporating a ring through which the pole is inserted.

No one design dominated the corn petition this year. Spencer 7s and Greg 6s are sailed by many top helms but the first 4 boats were all different and a veteran McCutcheon 2 was in the first group round the weather mark several times. It would seem that a Cherub is only as good as the crew, and there is little to choose between the several marks available.

Grafham must be thanked and congratulated for running a first class meeting on and off the water, It was unfortunate that winds were either two strong or too light, but that is another story. The week was generally enjoyed and the social life often lively.

Place Sail No Helm Crew Name Design Club
1st 1679 Brian Vincent Frances Smith Libido Spencer 7 mod Vincent Harwich Town S.C.
2nd 1012 Jonty Howard Ralph Booker Mon Couer Greg 5 mod Lee on Solent S.C.
3rd 1656 David Babcock Shiona Babcock Amphigouri Greg 6 Bosham S.C.
4th 1015 Chris Matthews Graham Hutchins Insure McCutcheon 8 Royal Victoria Y.C.
5th 1688 Gordon Lucas Marcus Moore Death Stroke Greg 6 Australia
6th 1651 Peter Caisley Colin Evans Art-o-dob Spencer 7 mod Egham Lake
7th (6th in some reports) 1018 Merris Catton Vaughan Smedley Satisfaction Greg 6 wood Royal Victoria Y.C.
8th 1368 Peter Eustace Ian Duke Purple Heart Cambridge
9th 1652 Chris Forman Danny Stewart Little Spirit Portsmouth SC
10th 1369 Roger Paddey David Elderfield Lazy Y Royal Victoria Y.C.

Report by Graham Dickenson, which first appeared in Yachts and Yachting, and was transcribed by Jim Champ from a copy sent by Ed Willett.

  • history/1970-nats.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/12/09 19:21
  • by