1973 Cherub U.K. National Championships

Nearly 60 boats took part in the Cherub Nationals at Felpham, near Bognor Regis from 20-24 August. This is the highest number of boats for two or three years and shows the increasing popularity of the class. Racing was of a high standard and positions were well gained. It speaks well for the discipline of the class, and the race officers, in that there were no general recalls. As the main limiting factor to the speed with which a Cherub can be driven is the skill and daring of the crew, the spinnaker reaches in the short steep seas provided the most excitement and test of nerves. The class now looks forward to the first World Championships in this country, to be held at Torbay next year.

The winner for the second year running was Gordon Williams with his crew Alick Hodgson in Tickity Boo, but not before he had a close fight with Tony Hows - the last race deciding the overall winner. In the first race on Monday morning, with a fresh breeze, Gordon Williams rounded the windward mark in the lead, challenged by Chris Forman in Black Monday on the reach, but he held his position. Paul Assheton was following closely, with Tony Hows catching. At the end of the first lap Paul Assheton had been dropped and the leaders were clear of the fleet. Tickity Boo crossed the line first but Kipper, sailed by Tony Hows and his wife Jill, had overtaken Black Monday.

By the afternoon the wind had strengthened to force 4-5. Short steep seas caused several capsizes, mainly on the spinnaker reaches. This time Tony Hows gained the windward mark first. Gordon Williams briefly led on the second reach, but lost out on the beat. In third and fourth positions were Chris Forman and Mike Wagstaff in Indiscretion. Gordon Williams capsized on the next beat, but recovered to take second place from Tony Hows who was never seriously challenged. Chris Forman, who crossed the line second, was disqualified for being over the line at the start. Mike Wagstaff, sailing steadily, took the third gun.This was to be the pattern for the whole week, with either Gordon Williams or Tony Hows taking the lead.

In light easterly winds Gordon Williams crossed the starting line on starboard on Tuesday morning tacked and was soon comfortably in the lead. David Finch in Co-Arctation came next, followed by T. Powell in Mr. Crispi. Tony Hows and Chris Forman were badly positioned at the mark, lying 9th and 14th respectively. Gordon Williams forged ahead and by the end of the second reach had an unassailable lead. Tony Hows, travelling incredibly fast on spinnaker reaches, reached third position. David Finch held him off on the beat but was obvious that Tony had the upper hand, and flying his spinnaker until the last moment, caught him at the gybe mark. Chris Forman in a similar manoeuvre moved into fifth place at the expense of Paul Assheton. In fourth place were Brian Vincent and his new 14-year-old crew Michael Baker.

An exciting fourth race, when again Gordon led at the start pursued by Tony Hows, Ron Ellway and David Finch fighting for third place. On the second lap Ron Ellway had been dropped and the wind backed, altering the first reach to a fetch and then to a beat, to the disadvantage of the back markers. Planing faster than his rivals, Chris Forman reached third position whilst Tony almost caught Gordon. Fighting it out on the final beat, Tony took the gun only yards ahead of Gordon.

Havoc amongst the Cherubs on Wednesday morning with winds 4-5 causing several capsizes. They were unprepared for the start presumably hoping for a postponement as on the previous day. A bad blow for Tony Hows, holding a fairly impressive lead, downed his spinnaker and retired after one lap with a split in his buoyancy tank. Gordon Williams took the lead, Paul Assheton lying second lost this to Chris Forman when he capsized on the run but recovered and eventually regained his place. Roger Paddey and his wife had a comfortable margin over Brian Vincent on the last beat, Tacking to cross the line capsized and allowed Brian to take third.

On Thursday Tony Hows pulled away from the fleet increasing his lead, challenged by no one, to win. Gordon lying third at the windward mark overtook Roger Paddey who did not use his spinnaker, and crossed the line second, Fourth to cross the line was Brian Vincent who was placed third after Paul Assheton was disqualified for not 'signing off'.

Tension mounted on Friday for Tony and Gordon were equal on points, not including their discard. After rounding the windward mark in the lead, Gordon kept increasing his lead and was never challenged, Tony was badly positioned for most of the race and was in fifth place when the shortened course flag was flown, and the final beat turned into a reach. Quick to notice the sudden change in wind direction, he hoisted spinnaker and climbed to second place. Graham Dickinson and David Finch who had been lying second and third respectively were ousted into fourth and fifth positions with this change in the wind. Unfortunately for Tony he was 1.25 points behind Gordon overall.

Position Helm Boat Name Design Club
1. Gordon Williams Tickity Boo Forman 4c R.V.Y.C.
2. Tony Hows Kipper Caisley/Steele 3 Q.M.S.C.
5. Chris Forman Black Monday. Forman 4c P.S.C.
4. Brian Vincent Lollipop Jennifer Julian H.T.S.C.
5. Paul Assheton Apul P.S.C.
6. David Finch Co-Arctation Caisley/Steele 3

Original report by Frances Vincent

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