Plymouth Devon

Better Late than never! The 2000 Nationals were delayed for a month less than a week before the original planned date. This was because there was a petrol shortage in the UK caused by a blockade of Oil distribution centres by an informal alliance of independent truck drivers and farmers who were protesting against the level of fuel duty in the U.K. The date change and short notice resulted in the worst Nationals turnout in memory.

Friday - Day 1

It seemed a long wait for the wind to fill in - at least for those of us who'd arrived the day before - but we had to wait for the Navy to finish distributing their ships around the bay anyway. The wind eventually sort of filled in to a force two-ish, but it was also always shifty and unpredictable. The tide was also odd - very strong and in an unexpected direction. The consensus is that it was pretty much all fresh water hurtling off the moors, down the Tamar and out to sea.


Race 1.

Smart starting in race one isn't always the rule at UK Cherub Nationals, but in this race Fizzy Shark and Dangerous Strawberry pulled off classic port end “across the fleet” starts. A tight bunch of five led up the first beat. At the windward mark Shiny Beast was just leading from Dangerous Strawberry, with Pasta Frenzy Frenzy, Pistrix and Fizzy Shark all in the near vicinity. On the P of the P course Shiny Beast seemed to be able to go deeper without losing speed. However Dangerous Strawberry managed briefly to get ahead on the next leg, but was then retaken by Shiny Beast and then by Pasta Frenzy Frenzy. On the run which is the second part of the P Shiny Beast pulled out an appreciable lead, with the other four all close together. Dangerous Strawberry seemed particularly quick upwind in this race, although Shiny Beast still led well at the end of the beat, and the race was shortened half way through the next P leg at the gate, with Shiny Beast first, Dangerous Strawberry second and Shark Third.


Race 2

On the whole the wind dropped slightly for this one, but it was never anything approaching consistent, and the race officers had their work cut out moving marks between the short laps. The same 5 were in contention up the beat, appreciably clear of the next bunch. Fizzy Shark led at the mark, but hit it, with all the leading three boats misjudging the tidal stream. Down the P Pasta Frenzy led, with Dangerous Strawberry 2nd and Shiny Beast 3rd. However by the end of the 2nd section of the P Shiny Beast had taken a small lead from Pasta Frenzy. Down the run Shiny Beast pulled out a big lead, with the next three fighting fiercely for second. By the finish Fizzy Shark had made second safe, with Dangerous Strawberry 3rd and Pasta Frenzy 4th.

2676 Shiny Beast

Race 3

The wind seemed to get even more patchy for race three, which was mostly fairly quiet, but with one leg about the windiest of the day! Dave and Clare pulled a neat port end flyer, with Dangerous Strawberry, Shiny Beast and Fizzy Shark going right. Dangerous Strawberry lost out due to the Shiny Beast sitting on their wind. Lots of place shuffling ensued as people got gusts and tide right and wrong, Dangerous Strawberry led to the mark, but hit it! They were closely followed by Pasta Frenzy and Pistrix, with Pasta Frenzy taking the lead while Dangerous Strawberry did their turn. Then gusts came through favouring one group then another. On the run of the first P three went left and two went right, with left definitely paying (and quite a bit of place changing amongst those on the left), and Shiny Beast ended up in the lead at the bottom mark. The next beat saw Dangerous Strawberry take the lead temporarily, but by the first leg of the P (two sail this time round) Shiny Beast was ahead, while the second actually required gybing to reach the mark. At the wing mark Shiny Beast held a lead, with Dangerous Strawberry second and Pistrix 3rd. Shiny Beast and Dangerous Strawberry held those places to the end, but Pasta Frenzy had got to third with Shark 4th and Pistrix 5th.

2666 Pistrix

Saturday - Day 2

The day dawned a little wet, but the breeze looked promising and turned out to be a nice force 3/4. Out at the start, outside the breakwater there were large enough waves to make things interesting (or for your correspondent out on the committee boat, unpleasant…). The Cherub fleet was expanded with a few additions, notably Robin Russell and Will Lee in the Green Slug, and Tom Glover and Simon Fox, who had brought out 2539 - a now venerable Hot Dog which is now resplendent in an all white finish and a very neat false floor conversion. With the rest of the Final Fling classes joining us, racing for the Cherubs was all on Windward/Leeward courses. 2651 managed an extended capsize sequence near the breakwater on the way out, which confused a report of “someone jumping off the breakwater”. That turned out to be some divers trespassing, and the last we heard of that was that the Police were proposing to have a “detailed discussion” with them…

2539 Team Ecocats

Race 4

At the gate Pasta Frenzy just overtook Shiny Beast on the last gybe, with the Slug close behind. By the time they came through the gate on the next beat the Shiny Beast was leading again, with Pasta Frenzy second and Slug 3rd. There was quite a gap to the next three, where Fizzy Shark was just ahead of Dangerous Strawberry, and Pistrix very close again. The finish, on the next run, saw Shiny Beast first, Pasta Frenzy second and Slug third, all very close, and then a little gap to the next two, Dangerous Strawberry and then Fizzy Shark. Pistrix was close after - until they were caught by a gust near the mark, capsized, hit the mark, drifted past the outside of the line and had to beat back and recross, being very lucky not to lose a place.

2673 Green Slug

Race 5

Probably the race of the series so far, with just a little more wave and wind than the previous one. At the windward mark Slug was just ahead of Shiny Beast, with Fizzy Shark, Pasta Frenzy and Dangerous Strawberry following very closely. At the gate Slug was still ahead, with Shiny Beast still snapping at their transom. Dangerous Strawberry was next, followed by Pasta Frenzy, which had had a major swim - Dave had fallen out of the transom! Fizzy Shark was next, followed by Pistrix, which also went for a session of deck washing. On the beat Fizzy Shark overtook Dangerous Strawberry, and these four stayed the same to the finish, which saw a particularly pleased Tim at the line.

2662 Fizzy Shark

Race 6

The wind dropped slightly for this one, although the waves stayed. Again Slug was leading narrowly from Shiny Beast at the first gate, with Pasta Frenzy very close, and Dangerous Strawberry and Fizzy Shark also close. This was the closest fought race amongst the top group - none more a hundred yards apart with lots of place changes, but strangely the actual order through the gates and the finish stayed the same…

2660 The Pasta Frenzy

Sunday - Day 3

A clear start to the day, with a forecast of Force 3/4, but it didn't really look like it on the way out to the start. There was a long swell coming in from the ocean at about 45 degrees to the wind. The wind oscillated steadily all day, varying from Force two to F4 plus as squalls came through.


Race 7

At the start the wind was a good F3, and it was quite an even start, with the start line being straight at the time (the oscillating wind was a race officer's nightmare). At the windward mark Pasta Frenzy was leading, with Beast second and Strawberry third. At the gate Pasta still led narrowly from Beast, with the Green Slug coming up very quickly. At this point the wind decreased to around F2. By the gate on the next beat Pasta still led, with Strawberry crossing tacks closely with Beast, and Slug very close behind. At the windward mark beast had come through to lead, with Strawberry close behind, then Pasta. The finish, at the next gate, was Beast, Pasta, Strawberry, Slug.

Between races Patrick Cunningham's new Paterson 7 made a brief appearance, but had a rig problem and did not start any races.


Race 8

Before Race 8 a huge squall came through, a large Cruise Liner came very near to the course, and the wind changed. Thus there was quite a long wait. Strawberry pulled off a neat Port end start across the fleet. The wind then dropped back down to f2. At the windward mark Beast had pulled out a considerable lead, and Pasta and Slug were contending second place tightly, and Fizzy and Strawberry equally contesting 4th. At the gate the bunch had caught Beast Appreciably, with all four of the next group crossing gybes. The wind changed quite considerably, making the beats and runs rather one sided, so the race was shortened to the next gate. Beast took the race and the Championship, at which point the wind shifted back giving the rest a true beat to the line, with Pasta just pipping Slug for second. Strawberry and Fizzy had a tacking duel of practically match racing proportions for 4th, with Strawberry just shading it.

2660 The Pasta Frenzy

Race 9

Fizzy took the port end at this start, and, followed by Slug, sailed right across the starboard end starters. At the windward mark Slug was first, Pasta second, Strawberry third and Beast an unaccustomed fourth. At the gate another squall came through, and Slug led Pasta, Strawberry and Beast, with all very close. Pasta overtook Slug on the first half of the next beat, and Beast overtook Strawberry towards the end. There were no place changes on the last leg, and the Championship ended as yet another big squall arrived, this one big enough to dismast a passing RS600.

2539 Team Ecocats

Overall Results

Place No Helm Crew Name Design r1 r2 r3 r4 r5 r6 r7 r8 r9
1 2676 Andy Paterson Alex Paterson Shiny Beast Paterson 7 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 5
2 2660 Dave Roe Claire Spens The Pasta Frenzy Pasta Mod 4 4 3 2 4 3 2 2 1
3 2673 Robin Russell Will Lee Green Slug Slug dn dn dn 3 1 1 4 3 2
4 2649 Gavin Sims Simon Goodwin Dangerous Strawberry Bistro Mod 2 3 2 4 5 4 3 4 4
5 2662 Tim Dean Una-Mary Colclough Fizzy Shark Pasta Mod 3 2 4 5 3 5 5 5 3
6 2666 Joe Snawdon Helena Cade/Paul Cox Pistrix Pasta Mod 5 5 5 6 6 dn 6 dn dn
7 2654 Billy Wood David Wood Hong Wan Paow Trifle 7 6 6 7 dn dn 8 6 dn
8 2651 Kathy Sherratt/Mark Watts Alex Weir Hoppin'Mad Dog 6 7 7 dn dn Dn 7 dn dn
9 2539 Simon Fox/Derek Reynolds Tom Glover Team Ecocats Hot Dog dn dn dn dn dn Dn dn dn dn


Andy & Alex won through two factors - boat speed, especially the ability to go deep in lighter conditions, and spotting the shifts. Robin was quick in a breeze, and might have done better given three days of racing, although it has to be said that the light conditions of day 1 would not have been especially to his liking. Gavin & Simon were notably quick upwind, and also good spotters of shifts, and 4th could be regarded as an unlucky result. Dave and Claire never really seemed to be on top form this year, but got quicker as the regatta progressed, finally putting in a win for the last race.

Gear List and Technical Overview

Sail No. 2676 2660 2673 2649 2662 2666
Crew Andy Paterson/Alex Paterson Dave Roe/Claire Spens Robin Russel/Will Lee Gavin Sims/Simon Goodwin Tim Dean/Una-Mary Colclough Joe Snawdon/Helena Cade/Paul Cox
Design Paterson 7 Pasta Mod Slug Bistro Mod Pasta Mod Pasta Mod
Hull Builder Bloodaxe (owner) 1999 Owner 1994 Owner 1998 Ian Praine (Previous Owner) 1992 Owner 1995 Robin Russell (Previous Owner) 1996
Mast Superspars/Bloodaxe carbon prebent twin spreader Owner carbon internal track twin spreader Proctor carbon/twin spreader Tropical carbon twin spreader extra long luff Tropical/Dean carbon twin spreader Proctor carbon/twin spreader
Sails Caws/self tacking jib. Batt/self tacking jib. Batt Batt/self tacking jib. Batt Batt/? Jib
Foils Bloodaxe Owner Owner Praine Owner Russell
Crew Weight 125kg 130kg 155kg 148kg 124kg 130kg

A typically Cherub variety of gear, with much homebuilt. The competitive longevity of the now almost universal epoxy/foam sandwich hulls is obvious. Rigs are a major theme of development at the moment. Carbon rigs, which offer a lot of benefits for a skiff type boat, are pretty much universal at the top end of the fleet now. Twin spreader rigs are also common with spinnaker hoists tending to be higher than was fashionable a couple of years ago, mainly due to the increased sail area permitted from 1997. This has led to twin spreader rigs which are typically set up in New Zealand fashion with a very stiff lower mast, often held solid by “D2” shrouds to spreader height and lower shrouds at deck level. The upper shrouds are always controlling sideways bend and of course supporting the spinnaker. Self tacking jibs are becoming increasingly common, and offer particular advantages in the very tactical short downwind legs the fleet uses because gybes are so much easier and quicker. The large range of crew weights illustrates the development class advantage of being able to set up the boat to suit the crew. Andy Paterson's rig uses considerable pre-bend, which the sail is cut for, a particularly large mainsail roach, and has a masthead kite. Gavin Sim's mast is especially tall, giving an especially high aspect ratio, which may well be part of the reason for his upwind speed. This is especially noticeable in lighter conditions. Their kite has a relatively low hoist. Dave Roe's kite hoists from about a foot from the mast head, and Robin's is about 6 inches from the tip. Dave Roe's rig has a home built carbon mast with an integral internal sail track - a very sophisticated piece of construction. Cherub sailors continue to have a big impact technically on the wider sailing scene. Bloodaxe foils came away from the 2000 Olympics with two Golds and a silver. The pre-preg Tropical masts, developed with professional rig specialist Tim Dean, are forerunners of Shirley Robertson's Gold medal winning Europe rig. Tim & Una's rig, the prototype, is believed to be the first carbon mast in the world that was laminated with an integral track. Tim Dean Consultancy are about to start work for Assa Abloy on their VO60 campaign.

Shore Pictures

2660 The Pasta Frenzy 2662 Fizzy Shark 2662 Fizzy Shark 2673 Green Slug 2666 Pistrix 2654 Hong Wang Paow 2649 2539 Team Ecocats 2676 Shiny Beast

Jim Champ

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  • Last modified: 2023/10/04 09:22
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