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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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Riviera Cherub, a simple concept. Collect boats that were great to sail in 2005. Refurbish and fit all with similar sail plans. Sail them against each other somewhere warm. No T-Foils, twin wire, big rigs, bigger grins. Four of the UK fleet travelled out to the first Riviera Cherub blast in the sunny bays of Monaco and Menton. Blasting does not normally have racing and lasts a day. The competition below was devised to ensure a bit of competitive edge was maintained.

Day 1 - Permission for Fly-by First launch was in 10 knots, flat water. The aim was to collect as many flybys of the parked yachts sunbathing in the bay. Oliver partnered with local Kevin Jausseran and tagged two unsuspecting tenders before even understanding the rules. Other Oliver and Martyn got distracted by a good gust and found no boats after twinning into the distance. Jamie - single handing Pocket Rocket - racked up the highest score. His ability to get fully over a boat single handed, whilst looking vertically downwards, sadly not captured on film. Hot and thirsty the party moved to Rascasse for a gentle evening of socialising. After missing the team leaving, Oliver M proved to all that it is possible to sleep a night on the streets of Monaco and avoid the Police cells.

Riviera Cherub blast in Monaco - photo © Roland Trim

Day 2 - Raid to Monaco The advantage of no host rescue team or race committee wanting to go home for tea became clear on day 2. There was no wind before 1600, but that gave the visitors a chance to re-hydrate, sleep and sunbathe. When the gentle thermal filled in at 1700, 4 boats launched. The course was simple. Pass the headland and into Monaco Harbour. The wind built to a steady 12 knots over flat water. Born Slippy was concerned about the wind dropping and headed for home. Pocket Rocket missed them behind a yacht, but did see Magic Monkey turning and twinning home. With the assumption that the Magic crew's blood alcohol levels had fallen to critical, Pocket took the outer lane and went on to Monaco Harbour. On arrival in Monaco Harbour, Pocket was a bit lonely, but not for long. Even with the dropping wind Pocket clocked a 14.5kt average speed 8km leg back to the beach. Thanks to Coralie Trim for a zero notice Anti-Pasta Aperitif, conjured from nothing, with no warning at 2000 whilst everyone had a shower before dinner in Menton.

Riviera Cherub blast in Monaco - photo © Roland Trim

Day 3 - Raid Repeat The weather pattern established, a full day of sightseeing was enjoyed by all, including the Grand Prix at the YCM bar and the all important tour of Cap D'Ail beach (confirming that launching Cherubs there would be good, but sadly still is not possible). At 1700 the evening thermal arrived, but none of the locals. The latter sensibly believing the no wind forecast and having work the next day. Jamie and Oliver M made the critical tactical mistake of enjoying a Magic Monkey kite run to the stronger outer wind. Only to find the wind line was an illusion and that Martyn and Oliver G had cut inside the headland in Born Slippy. They kept and extended the lead to about 2 miles, before turning and hoisting to ensure all arrived at the harbour together. Landing after the YCM bar was closed was the only error. A whip around found enough to buy the most expensive bottle of Duval from the Wine Palace (split 4 ways, still €5 a head). After helping a classic schooner moor up, the boats were carried back into the water and had hoisted before the harbour mouth. A champagne downwind leg took everyone home - Magic Monkey proving that twinning these rigs really does result in deeper and faster.

Riviera Cherub blast in Monaco - photo © Roland Trim

Day 4 - Home time Coming into the last day the series points were close and the wind forecast light. The competition was to be decided using a local 70ft motor yacht, kindly anchored with its charter sunbathers by Gary P. Points were awarded by the Bikini clad guests on-board. They chose based on style, approach and retrieval of beer cans from the stern. Here Jamie pulled out all the stops, earning a bonus point for returning to collect Martyn's can and the impressive distance of the subsequent launch. Martyn gained a point for the following catch, managing to not fall overboard and then saving a somewhat surprised Ollie from what was, by then, an almost inevitable capsize. Sadly, the Perching had to depart during the approach for the final round, missing “Cherub salutes”. They radioed in their scores over a crackly radio. Descriptions included “the hairy one”, “the small one who is pretty”, “the small one who is big and handsome”, “the one with the metal”, “the one with the long hair” and “the one who looks like Harry Potter”. Queue arguments over who was who, except Oliver,. The latter even had a wand in his hand. There followed a moment of suspense adding up the scores. After working out who was who, we discovered we had arrived at 4 way split of the prize.


Riviera Cherub blast in Monaco - photo © Roland Trim

Overall Results:

HelmSurprise SurpriseMonaco RaidMonaco Re-Run UpwindMonaco Re-Run DownwindPerching ControlPts
Martyn Denchfield1441212
Oliver Goolden2441112
Oliver Morrell2412312
Jamie Pearson4112412


The boats are great to sail and solid. The Rigs are demanding, but not beyond a novice. Next year will see 6 boats, the roll out of more of the Zaoli Sails and hopefully the same Maffioli colours for all control lines. The format will be 6 race series, with crews swapping boats between each race. Massive thanks to Yacht Club Monaco, Centre de Voile de Roquebrune (especially Herve Nicot, Gwenael Eliot and not forgetting Ludo) and for rescue cover and infinite logistics support Jermain Jervis


Between the 6th and 9th of July the UK Cherub class travelled to WPNSA for it’s 70th Anniversary Nationals supported by Rooster suppliers of high performance technical clothing for sailing, and Allen suppliers of performance sailing hardware. 12 boats made the trip ready for some close racing and find out which team would be fastest in 2021.

Allen Logo Rooster Logo

Blowing Dogs off Chains

The scheduled first day was a bit of a blow out, the forecast was for a lot of wind and the reality was white horses within the marina and gusts of up to 35kts. Not many wanted to go out racing. After checking the boats were properly tied down in the dinghy park the sailors left WPNSA for some sightseeing.

Dogs still on Chains but getting blown about a bit.

There was still plenty of wind left for day 2 and with an extra race scheduled to catchup we all headed out for a long hard day of racing. Race 1 got away cleanly with Paul Croote and Andrew Whapshott in Marmite leading the way around the course, followed by Dean Ralph and Simon Jones in Eleanor. After two windy laps Marmite was well in the lead and went for a third lap, but Eleanor correctly went for the finish giving them the first race win. Special mention to siblings Oliver and Emily Goolden for finishing their first race together in Nautilus Pompilius and Emily’s first race in a Cherub in very challenging conditions.

Race 2 was lead by Marmite followed by Phil and Carol Alderson in Zero Gravitas then Andy and Jill Peters in Usagi Yojimbo. Dave Ching and James Hughes in Anatidaephobia had a good race finishing in 5th just after Eleanor. Dave puts this good result down to his Rooster race bib keeping his wayward buoyancy aid constrained and avoiding tangles and snags in this windy race.

3202  Usagi Yojimbo 3209 Anatidaephobia 3218 Zero Gravitas

The first three places in Race 3 were unchanged with the heavy weather speed of Marmite dominating. James Ruddiman and Chris Haslam in EJ had their best result of the event with a 4th followed by Ade and Sven White in the 97 rules+ Pocket Rocket finishing a good 5th. Race 4 was dominated again by Marmite but this time Usagi Yojimbo got ahead of Zero Gravitas. King Tubby the 97 rules boat of Martyn Denchfield and Ellie Craig showed determination to keep going for a best result of fourth place.

3202 Usagi Yojimbo 3206 EJ 2650 King Tubby

Dogs relaxing in a building breeze

Lighter winds greeted the fully restored fleet for race 5 with most boats only managing to single wire. Usagi Yojimbo was enjoying the conditions and pulled away to get their first race win. Closely followed by Marmite then Zero Gravitas. The wind had built slightly more for Race 6 which was again won by Usagi Yojimbo with Marmite close on their heels. Dan’s Boat was showing good pace in the conditions and were able to get a solid third ahead of Zero Gravitas. The two 97 rules boats King Tubby and Nautilus Pompilius were having a good race at the back with Nautilus Pompilius screaming downwind to edge ahead of King Tubby.

2700 Dan's Boat 3202 Marmite 3218 Zero Gravitas

Jamie Pearson and Digby Still on Poppy stunned the fleet with a perfectly executed port hand flier at the start of race 7 and had clear air out to the right side of the course. Everyone else had decided the left side of the course was the way to go and by the top mark this was also obvious to Poppy. Having had a reasonable first lap in the increasing wind Zero Gravitas capsized when Phil dropped the mainsheet letting Dan’s Boat and Poppy through. Although they were able to reel Poppy in quickly and just managed to sneak past Dan’s boat at the finish for a fourth place. However the race win went to Jonny O’Connor and Alex Harris in A&E who foiled their way to their first win of the series followed by Usagi

3202 Usagi Yojimbo Port hand flier 3215 A&E

The steadily increasing wind suited the foiling A&E giving them a second race win in race 8. followed by Marmite and Zero Gravitas. Usagi had a good first lap but on the second went too far left and lost out finishing in fourth on the last race of the day.

3215 A&E 2683 Pocket Rocket 3212 Marmite

Dogs fast asleep with their fur barely ruffled by the wind

Very light winds for the start of the final days racing, after a short postponement race 9 got going in marginal single wiring conditions. Having broken his previous helm Ade White found a light wind helm in Chris Halsam for Pocket Rocket getting them a good fifth place result. Usagi showed that they are light wind masters with another win. Also going well in the light wind was Dan’s Boat who scored second.

Another light wind race again suited Usagi and Dan’s boat, Marmite held onto third with Eleonor getting fourth place. There was a very tight finish between Poppy, Pocket Rocket and Zero Gravitas all finishing within seconds kites up twin wire reaching to get through the finish line. OK Technically Pocket Rocket were only single wiring but as a 97 Rules+ boat they only had one wire and were using it as much as they could. However, it is hard to write that bit concisely without breaking the flow of the story.

3216 Poppy 2683 Pocket Rocket 3218 Zero Gravitas

The wind was starting to build into twin wiring conditions for the final race where the championship could be decided depending on the order of Usagi and Marmite. In Dan’s Boat Luke Hartley and Oliver Morrell found their best pace to get there first race win. Followed closely by Usagi then Marmite giving Usagi the championship.

2700 Dans Boat 3202 Usagi 3212 Marmite

Many thanks to Rooster and Allen for sponsoring the event and to all at WPNSA for running an efficient and fun event despite the challenges of COVID restrictions. And Congratulations to Andy and Jill for a very closely fought nationals win.

3202 Usagi

The full results including details from each race can be seen on the Sailwave website a summary of the finishing positions is below:

Rank Sail No Boat Name Helm Crew Club Total Nett
1 3202 Usagi Yojimbo Andrew Peters Jill Peters Queen Mary SC 24 17
2 3212 Marmite Paul Croote Andrew Wapshott Hawley Lake SC 30 17
3 3218 Zero Gravitas Phil Alderson Carol Alderson Largs SC 37 26
4 2700 Dan's Boat Luke Hartley Oliver Morrell Stokes Bay SC 60 34
5 3208 Eleanor Dean Ralph Simon Jones Isle of Sheppey SC 75 49
6 2683 Pocket Rocket Ade White & Chris Haslam Sven White Mountbatten 87 64
7 3215 A&E Jonny O'Connor Alex Harris Dee SC 92 66
8 3209 Anatidaephobia Dave Ching James Hughes Poole YC 93 67
9 3216 Poppy Jamie Pearson Digby Still 96 70
10 3206 EJ James Ruddiman Chris Haslam Stokes Bay SC 97 71
11 2650 King Tubby Martyn Denchfield Ellie Craig 113 87
12 2680 Nautilus Pompilius Oliver Goolden Emily Goolden 121 95
  • Simpson Trophy
    • Andy and Jill Peters in Usagi Yojimbo
  • Rosebowl
    • Paul Croote and Andrew Wapshott in Marmite
  • LOSSC Plaque
    • Phil and Carol Alderson in Zero Gravitas
  • Ladies Teapot (First Lady)
    • Jill Peters
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  • Last modified: 2023/03/08 14:29
  • by jp233