Cherub Nationals 1984

Dabchicks SC at West Mersea hosted the 1984 Cherub National Championships from July 27th to 29th; the event consisting of the best 5 out of 6 races. Racing was held in a good variety of wind strengths, the force 2 - 3 tending to increase with the sea breeze in the afternoon races. Main interest for this development class was focused on the performance of the crop of new boats designed to the recently introduced new [1984] rules, of which there were 4 entered.

As well as several; old-rules craft which had been given versions of the new open rules sailplan. In fact the new boats finished the series first, second, sixth and seventh, which certainly indicates and improved performance at least in moderate winds. The first race, held in a light to moderate breeze, was dominated by two new boats. Malcolm Jacques' Ian Howlett designed “Rebel” which lead at the windward mark but touched on rounding allowing Will Perret's “Perversion” to take over. “Rebel”, however clawed her way back to finish first with Perversion close behind, followed by a third new boat, Andy Paterson's “Pxysyzygy”.

In many people's opinion race two should have been abandoned and restarted as the wind died completely just before the gun. Those between the marks were away on the strong flood stream in the right direction; those outside the marks making their approach could not get round for nearly ten minutes, when the breeze filled in again. Jacques was one of the lucky ones and was rounding the windward mark before some had even crossed the starting line. He duly won his second race from the successful Mirror sailor David Roe with Guy Lewington third.

In the third race Jacques again got away to do a clear start while last year's champion Perret was forced to do a 720 degree penalty just after the start and was with the tail-enders at the windward mark. Jacques was being pressed hard by Martyn Clark, the latter actually got his nose in front briefly at the gybe mark but touched “Rebel” while rounding and fell back doing penalty turns. Meanwhile Perrett was making impressive progress through the fleet and passed Clark on the penultimate beat to finish second behind Jacques. In race four, with the sea breeze producing a steady force 4, the pattern altered somewhat. Perversion revelled in these conditions, and led throughout to score her first Championship win, followed at a distance by Lewington and Stephen Cooper in “Montague Egg”, and Australian design by Iain Murray.

Race Five took place in a bare Force 1-2, decidedly Jacques' weather - it was no surprise therefore to see Jacques establish himself in the lead on the first beat. What did shock the opposition was how much lead he built up, pulling away to win by almost 5 minutes and ensure himself of overall honours in the most emphatic fashion. Perrett managed another second but had no answer to Jacques' boat speed in these conditions.

The final race produced the strongest breeze of the series and allowed the heavy weather experts into the picture. “Flat Stanley” produced a fine exhibition of heavy weather sailing to score a well-deserved first place followed by Cooper and Ellway.

Of the 22 entrants, the new boats certainly seem to have an edge in lower wind speeds, but are harder to sail in a blow, being significantly narrower, and will need further practice to realise their full potential - they will go quicker yet.

1 Rebel Malolm Jacques Mike Gregory Howlett Lee on Solent SC 2 Perversion Will Perrett Jon Green Ellway 4 Lee on Solent SC 3 Flat Stanley Guy Lewington Nick Mason Murray Mod Snow Warwick University SC 4 Flat Nancy“ Kevin Ellway Brett Ellway Ellway 2 Lee on Solent SC 5 Montague Egg Stephen Cooper Adrian Cooper Murray Draycote SC 6 Heffalump Martyn Clark Rob Stephens Southcott? Lee on Solent SC

Will Perrett

This report first appeared in Yachts and Yachting, transcribed by Jim Champ.

[Your transcriber, with the backing of hindsight, sees this as quite a significant champs. This first generation of new rules boats was ever to establish a strong wind advantage over rerigged pre 84 boats, most especially Flat Stanley. Rebel was always a light weather flyer, demonstrating what has been proved a number of times since that 14 shapes don't transfer well to Cherubs and vice versa. “Successful Mirror sailor” David Roe was to make a major mark on the class over the next 15 years. Firstly with Wendy Barclay as chief chaser to Flat Stanley in another pre 84 boat, the Ellway 2, Old Peculier (which I'm pretty sure was Kevin Ellways mount in this series). Then from 1988 he dominated the class for ten years after designing the Italian Bistro in 1988, the first post 1984 boat to be an all round improvement on those that went before.]

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