UK-Cherub Class

Get Your Heart Racing

Draycote Blast - 24th/25th March 2006

Mid way through last week and the forecast was dire, 3-5 mph all weekend with no sun. There was even some talk of turning the weekend into a sticky/boat bimbling weekend, however on Friday morning the forecast changed, the wind blew and the sun shone (a bit) and nine Cherubs enjoyed one of the best Blast Weekends in memory! A Blast Weekend is in many ways quite an unusual thing in dinghy circles, there’s no (official!) racing, no training, no on-shore talks, it’s just about getting together with other like minded sailors, swapping boats, giving test sails, swapping design ideas, and of course trying to set some GPS records! Very few classes could possibly give a level of sailing enjoyment where just sailing around for an entire weekend would actually be that much fun, but the Cherub really is one of the very few classes that can pull that off.

Go to a Cherub event and no two boats will look remotely similar, which is part of the attraction. The home boats were as follows:-“Subtle Knife”, the new Cherub Daemon, being tested prior to the Olympic trials in France, “Veela” looking fantastic after an excellent paintjob and refit by new owner Rupert Bailey, and class stalwart “Suicide Blonde” showing off her new bit of ultimate colour-coordinating boat bimbling-yellow vectran trapeze wires!

Travellers were the severely modified “Cheese Before Bedtime” looking much more like a brand new 14 than a nearly twenty year old Cherub, “Oops Again”, the high-visibility “Flying Trifle” design sporting an experimental t-foil, “Dangerous Beans”, the first ever 2005 rules twin wire boat, “Pocket Rocket”, still getting used to the British spring after living in the Cayman Islands for a few years, “Sweet Dreams” sporting a new paintjob and new snout, and the current nationals winning t-foiled “Atum Bom” looking fast and sorted as ever.

With no race times to worry about, people rigged at a leisurely rate and most boats were on the water by mid-day in a decent F3 to F4. Stars of the day had to be Paul and Chris in Cheese, first on the water and really going for it in the great conditions. In fact, that was about all we saw of them all weekend, you just could not keep them off the water…Paul worked out from the GPS that they’d sailed over 46 nautical miles, that’s France and back and halfway to France again!

Pocket rocket hit the water but unfortunately snapped the gooseneck clean off the mast (fortunately Iain had a spare attached to a broken RS800 mast lurking behind his shed) so an overnight repair got them going for Sunday. Will and Lucy joined the exclusive “20 knot club” with a great blast on Atum Bom, and the Kiddles got to grips with their new steed, although this did involve a spectacular pitchpole…UPWIND! And local Fireball Youth Squad sailors Simon and Neil got to experience the joys of a short wide overcanvassed boat compared to a long narrow undercanvassed one! Meanwhile Tim borrowed Suicide Blonde (he’s a boatbuilder, what’s the worst that can happen?) and proved conclusively that pre 97 boats with mahooosive mainsail roaches don’t 2-sail reach that well.

Reality hit in the club bar as we realized that we were going to have to organize a curry at very short notice…for 25! But Rugby’s now legendary Bombay Balti came up with the goods and possibly entered the Cherub curry record books. Which was more that can be said of 12’ Skiff National Champion crew, Tom “Chicken Korma” Vian, who got his ass “whupped real good” by Hayley “Weapons Grade Balti Chilli of Mass Destruction” Trim in the inevitable Chilli Challenge. Saturday night concluded with a few ales in the Merchant’s Inn with people going back to various hotels, houses and vans, whilst the hard-core alcopopsters of Messrs Noyce, Hopson and Tinner partied into the early hours.

Sunday was just as windy at times, although most certainly warmer and sunnier! Oops experimented with a home made T-foil rudder whilst various jockeys tried out the new Cherub Daemon. Suicide Blonde and Cheese had a bit of a race, Suicide just staying ahead, however bearing in mind that Cheese was still on smaller area white sails, this could be a boat to watch this year!

What was really noticeable about the weekend was the constant small gathering of people down on the beach, people seemed really interested in finding out more about these small, brightly coloured but undeniably fast boats, and the Daemon was certainly causing quite a stir. Everyone came away from the event happy, exhausted, and confident that 2007 promises to be a truly great year for the class.

See you at Weston!

Words: Iain Christie

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