Cunning Linguist, sailed by Cherub veterans Cam Rule and Cain McVee have won the 2011 WA Cherub Championships in a fast paced and windy regatta. After many years of almost securing the title, the win tasted extra sweet this time around for the duo.
by Cam Rule
14 Cherubs raced in the regatta, held on the 19th and 20th of November at Mounts Bay Sailing Club. Eight short windward-return races with a downwind finish were conducted over both days, with the afternoon races consistently over 18 knots.
Many boats did not make the time limit for heats 1–3, as conditions proved too heavy for younger and inexperienced sailors.
Cunning Linguist had won the regatta before the last heat finishing no worse than second (after a dropped heat) with a leading pace in the light and heavy conditions. Cunning Linguist by no means won the championship easily, with many tight finishes. However, by handling the boat extremely well in heavy conditions, they managed to keep the boat upright and finish in the top of the fleet consistently.
Heavy weather specialists Todd McVee and Steve Fryer from Perth Dinghy Sailing Club sailing 'Back in Black' finished in second. They won two heats, putting themselves in a favourable position toward the middle of the series. Having such bad luck in previous regattas with equipment, it was great to see them succeed and hopefully go one better in the next championship.
Living up to its name, 'Dark Horse' sailed by Tom Batt and Liz Gralton/Chris Jahn from Mounts Bay Sailing Club finished in the middle of the fleet for the first three heats, but then won a couple of heats to shoot them into third overall and win Handicap. With an old borrowed jib, and swapping crews mid series Tom proved that he could be a contender to take the title next year with better equipment.
Cunning Linguist won the first heat, in a close battle with Back in Black. After leading the first heat, the bowsprit rope snapped on Back in Black forcing them to drop their kite. They still managed to finish third without a kite, sail back in shore to fix it and make it back out for the second heat.
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Heat 2 was won by Fine Mess sailed my Brennan Stead and Andrew Hacket showing great handling skills in the heavy conditions. As the wind gusted up to 23 knots, almost all the boats the last run to the finish managed to capsize apart from Fine Mess.
Heat 3 was won by Back in Black. Instead of heading to shore to take advantage of a lift, they sailed toward the middle of the course and avoided the lighter wind. That set them up for the last downwind leg, and the win.
The conditions during first Sunday morning race in a five knot Easterly allowed most boats to finish. Cunning Linguist sailed off to the left of the course where there was a steady stream of wind moving alongside Kings Park. Dark Horse sailed by Tom Batt and Chris Jahn from MBSC hung with the leader for one more leg. However Cunning Linguist’s lead increased steadily to win by 8 minutes, but only made the cut off time for the race by one minute.
The wind in the second morning heat steadily decreased with the lead swapping many times in the shifty conditions. The race time limit was reached and the race cancelled in dramatic fashion as Fine Mess sailed by Brennan Stead and Andrew Hacket were only a few metres away from crossing the finish line and winning the heat.
Heat 5 signalled the start of the heavy weather racing, with an 18–23kn SW settling in early afternoon. The heat was won by Back in Black in a close battle for the lead. Cunning Linguist jibed early for the finish line and subsequently overlayed it. Back in Black then sailed underneath Cunning Linguist and won by a couple of seconds.
In another tight battle, heat 6 was a dead heat between Dark Horse and Cunning Linguist. Dark Horse led for most of the race, until Cunning linguist clawed back the lead and rounded the last mark in first position. Cunning Linguist had to bear away suddenly to avoid a collision with Bitch, narrowly avoiding putting the bowsprit through the Ryan Smiths head. This allowed Dark Horse to slip in front and cover Cunning Linguist for the final run to the finish. In the last seconds Cunning Linguist accelerated from a powerful gust to cross the line with Dark Horse.
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The last heat was comfortably won by Dark Horse. Second and third was a close tussle between Back in Black and Fine Mess. Cunning Linguist spent a lot of time upside down, perhaps spent from a long series and ended up in fourth.
The Junior trophy was won by Serenity Now sailed by Virginia Horn and ex-state champ Blake Vance from Perth Dinghy Sailing Club. Placing sixth in her first Cherub state championship, Virginia proved that she can control a Cherub in testing conditions and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The Cadet Trophy was won by Green Apple Splatter sailed by Russel Geisner and Jesse deRooy from Perth Dinghy Sailing Club. Finishing in 11th place, they showed great resolve by sticking with it in the strong winds to finish off the races.
Although the series was a hard slog for many of the sailors, it was a valuable learning experience. The support on the water and off was exceptional, and all the sailors had a great time after the races either having a quiet dinner or carrying on till late.
The next Cherub State Championships will be held at Perth Dinghy Sailing Club in November 2012.
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11:00 AM Wed 7 Dec 2011 GMT
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