The 1971 Cherub nationals were held at Lee on Solent SC. between August 19th and 22nd. One practice race and seven points races were sailed over the four days. The fleet of 43 launched from the hovercraft slip at HMS Daedalus and started out to sea - the organisation ashore and afloat was first class. The practice race on Thursday morning was a fiasco in a flat calm and fizzled out after many boats had given up and retired for lunch. The first points race in the afternoon threatened to be a repeat performance as the fleet drifted down to the lee mark in a slight zephyr. At the mark some kedged while others stemmed the tide with spinnakers up. An hour later the leaders had crept up on the wing mark to be rewarded by a breeze, which rapidly filled in from the sea. This soon reached Force 3-4 and the fleet planed away nn a close fetch to the windward mark mark. Last years Champion, Brian Vincent, started first in Libido and stayed ahead to the finish on what had now become a series of reaches. Mon Coeur, sailed by Rob Gregory, came in second ahead of Chris Forman in Jamstrangler who had moved up from eighth with some skilful spinnaker work on the initial close fetch.

The second points race started on Friday morning in a downpour and something approaching a breeze. Jamstrangler took this one, having fought off challenges from David Babcock in Amphigouri and Pat Webb in Indiscretion. The race in the afternoon was sailed in similar conditions but with a little more wind. Jamstrangler moved into top gear and was soon a dot on the horizon, winning the race with an enormous lead. Some way astern Libido and Indiscretion battled furiously for second place with Libido coming out ahead at the finish.

Saturday saw smiles in the heavy weather camp as a frisky Force 4 powered the fleet out to the start. Trapezes were used in earnest on the beat to drive through a wet lumpy chop. Jamstrangler romped away in a cloud of spray to cross the line first. It looked by now as if Chris Forman's successful Mk. 4 was going to dominate its first nationals but this was not to be. A disqualification resulted from a premature start and the race went to Indiscretion which was next across in front of Mon Coeur and Amphigouri.

Conditions were the same for the afternoon race except that the committee decided on a running start. The difficult conditions and a sluicing cross-tide predictably ensured chaos at the gybe mark as forty boats converged planing in off the backs of waves. A log jam of boats was carried past the mark but Mon Coeur and Jamstrangler rounded just ahead of the trouble and got clear. Forman again built up a commanding lead, determined to make up his lapse of the morning but was again disqualified, this time for leaving his safety tally ashore. This ruined his chances of taking the title despite his domination and boat speed. Mon Coeur profited from the mistake to take first place while Amphigouri and Indiscretion came in astern.

Sunday morning saw a return to light conditions, allowing a number of older boats to challenge on the beat. However the order was shaken up at the weather mark as a substantial shift favoured the inshore boats while those out to sea watched the fleet sail past as they sailed in a never ending circle round the windward mark on the lifting wind. Libido came round the weather mark ahead of the inshore boats to take the lead, which he held to the finish after a close tussle with Jamstrangler, which was in turn pipped over the line by Amphigouri. The last race saw Mon Coeur, Indiscretion, Amphigouri and Libido In a position to take the title which promised an exciting race. This became a nerve-racking crawl in a mere breath of wind and a strong tidal stream. Mon Coeur crept round the windward mark in the lead and went out to sea followed by Libido while Amphigouri led a group inshore. Mon Coeur held her lead to the line and seemed set to take the title. However, a light breeze brought up those astern and Gregory had to watch three boats creep over in front of him before he finished 4th. Jamstrangler was the first of these followed by Jeremy Sharp in Stinker. To his relief Gregory had just enough points to take the national championship which he won back in 1964 when he was one of the original members of the class. He was sailing Mon Coeur, a modified Greg Mk. 5 which was second last year and is in her sixth season of racing. David and Shiona Babcock were second overall its Amphigouri, a three year old glass Greg Mk. 6, after sailing consistently well in all the races. Third was Pat Webb with a home built Spencer 7 while clubmate Brian Vincent was fourth in the boat he sailed to victory last year. This was a slap in the eye for many critics who doubted whether Libido, a glass-taped orange box built for £12, would last a full seasons racing. Derek Clark from Clacton was fifth in a Spencer 8, Stormhunter, which was an excellent effort as this was his first Cherub nationals.

As always there were some unlucky crews who should have done better after showing promise earlier in the season. Tony Howes and his wife in Bloody Mary had a bad week with two disqualifications and a dismasting. Guy Woodason never seemed to find the form he showed on the round of open meetings earlier this year. Peter Caisley arrived too late due to business commitments and did not figure in the results and Jonty Howard, second last year, never seemed to get Satisfaction going. Most crews resumed home exhausted after four days intensive racing and it is hoped to return to a full weeks programme of racing, possibly at Clacton next year.

Position Sail No Crew Boat Name Club
1st 1012 Rob Gregory Margaret Gregory Mon Couer Greg 5 mod. Lee-on-Solent S.C.
2nd 1656 David Babcock Shiona Babcock Anphigouri glass Greg 6 Bosham S.C.
3rd 1721 Pat Webb F. Fish Indiscretion Spencer 7 Norwich Town S.C.
4th 1679 Brian Vincent Frances Smith Libido Spencer 7 mod Harwich Town S.C.
5th 1690 Derek Clark Stormhunter Spencer 8 Clacton S.C.

This report by Frances Smith first appeared in Yachts and Yachting, and was transcribed by Jim Champ from a scan sent by Ed Willett.

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