As published in Modern Boating magazine, April 1976

Combination by the home side was the theme for the fourth World Cherub Championship sailed at Henley Beach Sailing Club, South Australia. For the second year in a row an Australian girl skipper won the world title. Last year it was Mandy Wilmot; this year it was another girl skipper from Sydney's Middle Harbour Nicki Bethwaite. No stranger to the cherub class Nicki was runner-up in the Worlds in 1974 as well as being 1975 National Champion in the class.

The world series was sailed in typical fresh South Australian conditions and was quite a contrast to the national titles sailed just prior to the worlds on the same courses; but in a lot lighter conditions. Another NSW sailor, Michael McAlary in Kai, won the national series by a clear 20.6 pts from top Queensland sailor, Martin McLean sailing Vitamin C.

In the light conditions of the nationals, McAlary, using Bethwaite hull and spars with Burke sails (NSW) mastered the light conditions so well that no other boat could match his speed. McAlary not only had superior boat speed. in the light conditions but picked the shifts well to record two wins.

Nicki Bethwaite was considered the skipper to beat before the nationals but after she posted a sixth overall some were beginning to doubt whether she was going to get close to her 1975 form. The first heat of the worlds, however, dispelled any doubts about Nicki being out of form as she powered into second place behind Martin McLean. In heat two, local sailor Geoff Reseigh in Unique sailed a strong race to win easily from Rowena Wilmot in Jet, with New Zealander Graham Duncalf in Hush Puppy in third spot.

The third heat saw McAlary take an early lead followed by McLean and Wilmot. At the finish it was the same order across the line. The fourth heat, sailed in winds of 25 knots, saw the West Australian boat Slithy Tove record an easy win from Bethwaite and McAlary. McAlary won the fifth heat, so going in to the sixth heat was leader on points and looked set to win the world title as well as the nationals.

The sixth heat proved to be McAlary's waterloo as he bombed to 21st place while his points rival, Nicki Bethwaite, finished third and so took over the points lead.

While she had the points lead going into the final heat Nicki needed to place well, and this she did by grabbing a good start and leading from then on to get first over the line and thereby win the title. For McAlary the last heat was the final blow to his chances of making it two titles in a row, as he again bombed to finish 12th. With 47.4 pts lost after dropping his worst place, McAlary finished third overall behind McLean who had a final points tally of 43.7 pts. Nicki Bethwaite ended up with a good winning margin with a final points tally of 25.4 pts.

Most observers agreed Nicki Bethwaite won the series on the strength of good starts, good upwind performance and all round crew work. Nicki's forward hand for both series was her brother Julian. Being one of the Bethwaite family Nicki, not surprisingly, uses a Bethwaite hull and spars with Elvstrom sails. Runner-up in the series, Martin McLean, used the boat he bought from former national champion Ken.Baddilley. McLean used old-style de Havilland spars with Cassidy sails. While there were a number of different sail brands in the top ten, there was a noticeable predominance of Bethwaite hulls and spars. The venue for next years world series is Auckland, NZ while the nationals in the class are at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, Queensland.

Place Name Helm Crew Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Points Hull Spars Sails
1 Nix Nicola Bethwaite Julian Bethwaite NSW 2 13 4 2 3 3 1 25.4 Bethwaite Bethwaite Elvstrom (AUS)
2 Vitamin C Martin McLean Hector Robinson Qld 1 8 2 7 6 8 4 43.7 Baddiley de Havilland Cassidy
3 Kai Michael McAlary J Watson NSW 3 12 1 3 1 21 12 47.4 Bethwaite Bethwaite Burke
4 Slithy Trove T. Kenworthy L. Kenworthy WA 30 5 13 1 4 9 2 55 Bethwaite Bethwaite Elvstrom (AUS)
5 Unique G. Reseigh S. Lucas S.A 15 1 18 10 2 4 24 72 Bethwaite Bethwaite Elvstrom (AUS)
6 Hush Puppy Graham Duncalf Neill Strom NZ 6 3 14 17 5 6 10 75.1 Murray Baverstock Mitchell/Speedsail
7 Hiawatha G. Tucker WA 12 17 4 ? 19 ? 3 76.7 Phillips Bethwaite Cassidy
8 Jet R. Wilmot O. Wiseman NWS 7 2 3 28 18 13 22 80.7 Miller Speedspars Speedsail

Reproduced with the kind permission of Modern Boating magazine Australia Many thanks to Rolf Lunsmann for finding the Modern Boating report and sorting out permissions.

  • history/1976-worlds.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/10/11 09:34
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