The UK Cherub is a two-person 12 foot racing dinghy with asymmetric spinnaker and twin trapezes. Just twelve feet long, weighing around 70kgs fully rigged for sailing, the UK Cherub combines spectacular performance with the “on the edge” handling characteristics only found in true lightweight skiffs.

The UK Cherub rules are simple and allow for maximum flexibility for designers, allowing boats to be created to incorporate sailor's own ideas. Also meaning the class develops over time as techniques, materials and ideas improve. All this makes the Cherub one of the most interesting and innovative of all dinghies: The challenge extends from the sailing skills to setting up the boat to suit the sailor, and maybe even designing and building, too.

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Inlands, doesn't seem that long since the last one! With some of the fleet busy strapping planks to their feet to fall down a mountain and others in sunnier climes seemingly spending a lot of their time swimming away from the nearest bar, some hardy souls arrived at Grafham water sc.

Grafham had the honour of seeing A&E for her 1st outing in her new water hugging form after the class decided to end the foiling trial of the last 9 years. She showed good speed out of the blocks with no real issues considering her major reconfiguration, just the usual teething issue of a new boat with new rope and fittings, all races completed. The real question is; How fast will she be by the Nationals?

With the forecast looking light for the second day four races were planned. All four races were close in the shifty conditions.

Race 1: Poppy in classic style was late to the line after deciding to sail the first beat to find any snakes or ladders. They just managed to sneak behind the line and accelerate on port by the pin as the rest of the fleet left on starboard with the fleet split, Poppy tacked on to starboard and decided to be nice and take the transoms of A&E and Eleanor, which proved disastrous as she dropped from 2nd to 4th on the next tack. A&E quickly realised a few rig and control system adjustments were needed to keep pace with the top tuned boats. Marmite meanwhile was slowly extending their lead with the new light crew being ideal for the conditions.

Race 2: Eleanor started well but found that her foil system seemed to have stuck on the ‘just about on’ setting - Anyone that has sailed a modern rules cherub knows how much work the T foil actually does in making a boat go fast! A&E Marmite again executed a perfect race with Poppy just behind playing safe to get a good result. Although there were remarks about how Poppy was able to find their own personal wind to point 5 degrees higher and go just as quickly as Marmite on lap 2 and 3’s upwind legs leading to a closer finish than Marmite had hoped for.

Race 3: Usual kind of thing except the crew of A&E, Alex decided to become a fish flounder in the water. Maybe he just wanted to look at the lovely new paint job? He swam back aboard much to the amusement of Poppy and Jonny, his helm. Meanwhile marmite hit the bottom mark resulting in a 360, standards were slipping!

Race 4: A&E nearly succeeded in pushing Marmite over the line at the start. Marmite decided to play safe this time avoiding the bottom mark entirely and doing a 360 before the mark.

What did we learn? Marmite showed that Andrew is easily replaced and does little if anything to improve her speed, A&E is not far off being super fast once some small things are ironed out.

After racing we were treated to a chilli by Grafham's wonderful catering team. Next a trip to the pub was agreed upon I know I’m as shocked as you. The challenge of the night was to decide if the George Michael tribute act was hired because he looked like GM or because he sounded like GM, because he didn't really do either of those things.

In other news, Paul Croote came to the pub! He did a social! Something about not having a nagging voice of his crew going on about wanting an early night. Jamie also demonstrated to all of us, especially the catering staff why he is still single, but not boring.


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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