UK-Cherub Class

Get Your Heart Racing


Carnac Report

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It’s 5pm and I’ve just got out of bed. Is this a re-lapse into my lazy student days? Or has it got something to do with the fact I left Carnac YC yesterday afternoon, drove through the night, and finally made it home at 7 o’clock this morning? Answers on the back of a postcard.

The Red Bull © Run 2007 departed Sidcup on Friday, 7 June 2007 at 8pm. The destination: Carnac YC for the Breizh Skiff event, incorporating the French Cherub Nationals. Oops (Again) and Dangerous Strawberry were being dragged behind a Polo, containing Roly and Hayley Trim, and Stu’s Tinner and Hopson. They were trying their best to catch up with the advance party of Atum Bom and Shiny Best, who had kindly taken Will and Lucy Lee, Dave Ching, and Lara Gonzalez-Ruiz on holiday with them. It was a nice opportunity for the boats to become re-acquainted with old friends, Natural Born Skiffeurs, Pastatoide, Aqua Marina, Halo Jones, and Norwegian Blue.

The Red Bull © Run caught the 11 o’clock Le Shuttle, and made it onto foreign ground at 1am local time. The French don’t seem to require petrol in the early hours of the morning, because we couldn’t find an open petrol station for love nor money. But no fear, Reckless Roland found one by driving the wrong way up a motorway slip-road!

TomTom then directed us on 9hour epic drive across Northern France, hitting 120km/h down the hills, and about 65km/h up the hills! We arrived at 10am Saturday morning, just in time to grab a half hour power nap, and rig for the first race.

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Yacht Club Du Carnac use an interesting race course: they set a fixed number of laps (2) on an essentially windward-leeward course with a tight fetch from the windward mark to the spreader mark, a gate at the downwind mark and the finish line a reach off the right of the committee boat which made for some very exciting downwind finishes and tactical use of the two leeward marks!

There were three races on day 1, starting just after 1430 in a sparkling Force3-4 from the NE with blazing sunshine and fun-size waves. Shiny Beast, Atum Bom, NBS, Oops, Aqua Marina and Dangerous Strawberry started the first race, with Shiny getting a sensational start and claiming the right. Atum snuk off to Cornersville to find some clear air and was mixing it up with the I14 and 800s at the top mark. The hoist was somewhat overshadowed by the presence of a 29er who failed to bear away as expected, causing Atum to piss it in in their lee. Team Tuna managed to get it back together after that and find extreme upwind speed using T-foil technology. NBS found their spinnaker had evolved a mind of it's own and re-packed itself since leaving the beach, in a manner which failed to launch at the windward mark. Having finished the race without it the team headed in to sort out the tangles. The wind built for the second race, but once again the laid back approach to starting, combined with relentless pursuit of clear air seemed to be the way to go, and Atum Bom found herself tussling with the 49er at the bottom mark! For the third race Oops had managed a daring on-the-water readjustment of their rig tension and join Atum Bom in another leisurely start away from the demolition derby RS600. The wind had fallen off a bit, and Atum was busy trying to get back on the pace downwind when someone shouted 'Triboard' very loudly and a flash of luminous yellow under the jib signalled the 29XX hidden under the kite. A tactical capsize was the only way to avoid 'kebab de grenouille'.

On Saturday night the fleet enjoyed a sit down 3 course meal, with all the red wine we could drink. After dinner, Ghislain repaid the hospitality from Weymouth and took the willing Brits on a mini pub-crawl in Carnac.

Sunday dawned far too early for those who had only caught a few hours sleep since Friday.

The wind was significantly less pokey than on Saturday, which pleased the crew of Aqua Marina greatly, as she had taken a bit of a beating in the waves. There were a further three races, starting a little too early for the long-distance drinking team. In the first race NBS and Atum Bom saw some close quarters tussling at the port end of the line, which resulted in Atum footing off, tacking and heading off to the right (again!). At the first mark it was Atum, NBS, Pastatoide, Aqua and then Oops. But Oops have special ‘Baby Power’ and steamed ahead with their magic kite. In the second race Atum found themselves completely the wrong side of the line, in failing breeze. With seconds to go they hoisted the kite and tried to pull off a cheeky duck manoeuvre which left them OCS. Having re-crossed the line properly they set off up the beat in pursuit of the rest of the fleet. Catching the persky 29erXX at the gybe they found themselves luffed in a very 470 style. Luckily the extra pace from the T-foil got them out of trouble and by the end of the race they were surprised to see only the 49er in front. Further down the fleet Oops was again seen giving chase to Aqua down the last run, with Pastatoide having consistently better pace than either of them. The breeze was playing silly buggers for the last race, and Team Tuna managed to sail right into a huge hole on the right of the course, giving Dangerous Strawberry the chance to take the first two legs off them. There was then a monumental shift, which took Oops from near first to clear last, and left the rest of us fetching back and forth, including a strange beat from the ‘downwind’ marks to the finish where NBS left Atum Bom for dead amongst the Xenons!

Now racing was over, and the Endurance Team had the daunting drive ahead of them, leaving at 6 o’clock.

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The start on Monday was a thoroughly early 1030, which should have meant Dave and Lara got at least one race in before heading for their ferry. However the wind had other ideas, and took a long time to settle. I say settle, but really, it was still pretty damn flukey and light even by the time we set off up the first beat, the long way round a huge bend in the wind. NBS clearly had better Meteo, and had Atum on the line. There was then a very long wait, while the wind went this way and that. The RS 700s lost patience with the whole idea of getting another few races in and headed in for early showers. They missed out. The breeze filled right in from the south, and started kicking up a respectable number of white caps. During the start sequence for the penultimate race, the breeze went round further such that the line was completely impassable on starboard. For once, Team Tuna were concentrating and at the gun they set off at Mach 10.6 on port, on a tight fetch to the windward mark, closely followed by the 29erXX, 49er and NBS. At the top it was a case of going on far enough to weather the spreader mark before popping the kite and trying to stay high enough to make the gate. Team Tuna were feeling rather pleased with themselves as their lead increased, but it was never going to last. As the press boat hove into view round the forestay, the boat took fright at the sight of the large camera lens, and the little piece of metal holding the rudder adjustment pulleys to the transom gave way with an almighty bang! >From then on in it was a case of trying to remember how on earth to sail a cherub without a t-foil, and managing to clear the finish with seconds to spare before NBS established enough of an overlap to luff us into second. For the final race it was a case of gently gently to avoid further damage, and a real eye-opener into just how difficult the tacks and gybes are without the stabilizer at the back working. NBS took one look at our pathetic attempts to sail and disappeared over the horizon. Fending off Pastatoide, Atum limped home without further injury.

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Lots of fun in the sun. Everyone very burnt, battered and full of seafood (except Hoppy who STILL doesn't like fish!) All keen to go again next year, but perhaps not all 4 in one car. The Lees are keen not to have to do over 200 Km against the clock after three boiling hot (and surprisingly windy) races with no lunch or dinner with yet another new combo of boats on the double stacker after Mrs Dr Lee failed to notice that Caen is significantly further than St Malo! However, they are rather pleased with the very yummy looking tinned fish they won!

Congratulations to Team Trim and The Stus for an epic trip. Did Hoppy make it to work on Monday morning in North Wales after catching the 1am Eurostar?

Congratulations to Ghislain Devouthon and new crew Tom for winning the French Cherub Nationals.

On behalf of the UK Cherub fleet I’d like to thank Breizh Skiff for inviting us to such a fantastic event, with competitive racing, great food, and incredible hospitality. We hope we will have the opportunity to return next year.

Lots of photos from Magic Foto including some rather nice scenic ones at the end. Full results

GPS Track from Atum Bom on the Saturday.

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Carnac Pictures

Christophe Favreau has put a load of his pictures from Carnac on the French skiff site Breizhskiff.

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Roland and Halyey Trim maxxing it aboard the Trifle The Flying Trifle.

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Prizewinners - Especially note the French National Cherub Champions, holding the Bell, Ghislain and Thomas!

The rest of the photos are available here

 

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