Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge 'The Inlands'

Lake Bassenthwaite

The Cherub Inland Championships (held amid the Great North Asymmetric Challenge) were hotly contested by a whole two cherub teams at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club last weekend: Jamie Pearson and Martin Denchfield in Poppy, and a thrown together team of Alex Harris and Rosie Williamson in A&E. The long trip north meant an early arrival on the Friday night was in order, along with pizza, drinks, and a battle with the tent in the rain for Alex and Rosie.

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A leisurely start on the Saturday morning left plenty of time to rig and get through an excellent breakfast bun. After the obligatory “Are they meant to be rigged on their side?”, “Why doesn’t it have a halyard?” and “Do all Cherubs foil?” (upon which we had to regretfully tell them that the hacksaw was coming for A&E), the 70-odd boats set sail for the first race. Jamie and Martin must have had too much time to think over how to rig a kite, as they promptly realised that they’d set it up completely wrong and decided to sit out the first race. Rosie, having never stepped in any kind of foiling boat before, took to it like a duck to water in its literal sense, that is, A&E went swimming more than once per lap and so didn’t fare much better. The wind over the trees and hills and across the width of the lake meant for more, short laps, and the shifty and gusty conditions meant that they never got up on the foils upwind. Jamie and Martin came back into race 2 but struggled to break free of the 400s and ended up mid-fleet, still doing much better than Team A&E who had reduced their capsize average, only capsizing twice in 3 laps.

Race 3 saw Jamie and Martin kick into gear with a radical decision to duck the fleet on port at the start, but it paid off as they found themselves in 4th and in much clearer wind behind the VX1s and the 59er. In the final race of the day, Team Poppy took a similar decision but were forced to tack earlier than they wanted. It worked out in the end though as they were lifted straight to the top mark at full power. They very kindly let VX1 be their snow plough through the slow fleet for the downwind leg and then overtook for the gate mark, only to find that a number of general recalls for the second flight meant that they were all stacked up for their final minute on the start line – which the fast flight needed to go through! Considerately, instead of skewering a bunch of 200s and Fevas, Team Poppy dumped it in and called it a day. Throughout all this, Team A&E were steadily improving, but still not getting going upwind. Between that and fact that there were two crews in the boat (leading to a number of overstood laylines), they consistently sat between 30-40th. At the end of day one, it was fair to say that Jamie and Martin had a comfortable lead.

BSC put on a fantastic evening of pies, drink, and music that night, which was much appreciated. In true Cherub style Jamie, Rosie and Martin took to the dancefloor and showed the rest of the competitors how it was done. Rumour has it that Jamie danced the night away until 2am, which couldn’t possibly have been why he was slightly less than enthusiastic for sailing the next day. Sunday dawned a much better day for the Cherubs, with the wind from the ESE and funnelling down the length of the lake, making the course much longer and the wind far more stable. Team A&E got straight up on the foils upwind, which was a new learning curve for Rosie. Between that and the tendency to tack onto every header, they never managed to escape the 400s and plonked for another mid-fleet result. The groggy start from Team Poppy seemed to be deceptive as they steamed ahead for another 4th. In the second race, the training wheels came off; Team A&E sailed cleanly through to a 2nd overall despite the wind dropping in the final lap. Jamie and Martin struggled with the 400s this time, and somewhat overstood the top mark leading to a dubious two-sail reach and tack under scenario. After that they canned it in and went for a nice warm shower and to shelter from the incoming rain. Still riding high, Alex and Rosie managed to bag a 3rd overall in the third race which they were pretty chuffed with. With the wind beginning to drop and Rosie’s energy flagging, they also decided to call off the last race and get a headstart on the journey home. Having pulled a couple of good results (finally!) and having stayed out for a couple more races, Alex and Rosie managed to take the lead (ranking 34th overall) from Jamie and Martin (who came in at 46th).

Conditions were tricky on the Saturday but the great weather on the Sunday showed a foiling A&E at its best – a perfect swan song. The event was really well run, so our many thanks to the club and all who made it possible.


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  • Last modified: 2023/10/04 19:05
  • by jp233