Cherub Worlds 1978, Milford, New Zealand

As published in Modern Boating magazine, April 1978

Cherub Worlds to Paterson, top Aussie third Kiwi Cherub sailors Mark Paterson and Dave Mackay(1) sailing QSJB IV put New Zealand back on top of the Cherub world recently when they claimed the fifth world Cherub title, sailed in Auckland. Second were fellow New Zealanders Mark Bell and Simon Daubney(2) in Bad Sneakers, with the top overseas entry being Aussie national champions Andrew Pearson and Tony Hannon on Stardust. They finished third.

Paterson, one of New Zealand's top centreboard skippers, returned from a third placing in the 470 worlds in Japan to put together a boat capable of winning the world Cherub title (it was his third attempt) and shortly after launching the Iain Murray design it was obvious he and Mackay would be the combination to beat. Paterson started the contest as favourite, having won the nationals and selection trials in the same waters a fortnight earlier, and his 1, disq, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1 series reflects his wealth of experience and talent. Second-placed Bad Sneakers, from the same Iain Murray design as the world champion, notched a consistent 2, disq, 2, 3, 2, 2, 2 for a clear second overall, and Pearson won the top-overseas-boat battle from Sydney's Graeme Ferguson and Bruce Painter in Firecracker with a final 4, 3, 8 heats compared to Ferguson's 7, 7, 4 for fifth overall.

Both QSJB and Bad Sneakers were from the same Iain Murray plan, as was Trevor Nye's Bad Jelly (14th overall but third-ranked Kiwi boat) and the Australian More Sting (21st overall). Pearson's Stardust and Ferguson's Firecracker were both from the drawing board of Bob Ferguson of Sydney and while they bore some similarity to the Murray boats with fine bows and U sections under the mast, they were much wider and flatter in the stern sections. All four boats had similar boatspeed in all conditions and on all points of sailing and appeared to be similar to the other designs competing, particularly downwind.

Paterson's advantage over the rest of the fleet was his 470-style downwind sailing, and although he was often beaten to the first mark he surged through on reaching legs to win five of the seven races.

Top English entry was Hot Dog sailed by British national champions David Finch and Peter Lavender, which finished ninth overall. The British were all disappointed with their performances in Auckland and blamed the fact that they had not sailed for over three months before the contest. Also their boats are primarily designed for flat-water conditions.

Bell and Daubney won the junior world title, while Ferguson and Painter won the cadet title for the best under 18 years

Reproduced with the kind permission of Modern Boating magazine Australia

Many thanks to Rolf Lunsmann for finding the report and sorting out permissions.

  1. Dave MacKay now runs MacKay boats, NZ, a top 470 builder.
  2. Simon Daubney was a key member of Team NZ and Alinghi America's Cup winning teams.
Place Name country skipper / crew points Design
1 QSJB 4 NZ Mark Patterson Dave MacKay 3 Murray
2 Bad Sneekers NZ Mark Bell Simon Daubney 20.7 Murray
3 Stardust Aus Andrew Pearson Tony Hannon 38.7 Pearson
4 Fluid Drive NZ P & C Mcneil 47.7 Bethwaite
5 Fire cracker Aus G Furgeson B Painter 60.7 ?
6 Hercules GT NZ A Caldwell R Hawkins 73.7 Farr
7 Willy Again Aus S Oconner C Crawford 86.4 ?
8 Freedom Express NZ M Jones A Knowles 86.9 ?
9 Hot Dog UK Dave Finch Pip Lavender 92.7 Hot Dog
10 Kwanza NZ P Stacey J Welch 102 Stacey
11 Mr X NZ G & W Bird 102 Farr
12 Pampered Menial NZ P Scoffin B Wright 106.7 Farr
13 Schiamachy UK David Babcock O Jenkins 113 DBS
14 Bad Jelly NZ T Nye P Brockliss 114.7 Murray
15 Easter Beagle UK Tony Hows Jill Hows 120 Spithead Special

41 boats competed Bad Sneekers Won the junior title (18 to 21 years of age) Fire Cracker Won The Cadet Title (Under 18 )

…very little [capsizing] went on among the Kiwis, slightly more by the Aussies and David Babcock, Tony Hows, Simon Robinson and I [Dave Finch] all fell in one apiece in the entire event so you can see the standard was fairly high. Such a swim, even if immediately righted, usually meant that most of the fleet had got past and either you were down the pan for that race or had to fight back very hard to make it back into the teens.

The conditions, which we were assured “were not usually like this” were of an onshore wind,m light at the start of the week, increasing to the best of about 4-5 in the middle and finishing on a 2-3… This combination of wind direction and tides produced a disproportionately large sea, wither a very short steep chop which was death to our flatties, (their boats are much less flat than ours are now), in the light breeze, and really huge waves on the windier days. Sailing on these waves was ppretty hairy on the reaches as half the time there seemed to be thin air all round the boat except for the last little corner that we were both sitting on!

We suffered a bit from lack of immediate practise… and to cap it all during the five days beforehand in which we had hoped to train there wasn't enough wind to blow over Simon's imnflatable Sammy Seal! However by the middle of the week we were beginning to get the hang of it all and found that if you could stay within reach of the leaders up the first beat, a good start being a pre-requisite of this, it was possible to stay in contention all the way round; our best result was in the last race so we must have learned something.

Working the waves off the wind was very important as a good surfing technique really created a terriffic speed differential and this was best demonstrated by the Aussie Champion Andrew Pearson who really flew through the fleet after some usually mediocre starts. No really demon techniques appeared to be used although their preparation onshore was meticulous and lengthy…

Dave Finch

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