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Cherub revival underway with 11 new boats under construction or launched

by Allan Roper 9 Nov 2021 20:55 PST 111 November 2021
Lance Brown working on the build of a Cherub to his own design © Lance Brown

The conceptual rebirth of the Cherub started a year ago, and the rush to build new boats has resulted in 11 new hulls in various stages of construction.

The Cherub, in New Zealand, is a restricted design conceived by the plywood king, John Spencer, with the first boat launched in 1951. The class has spread internationally and was raced by several who went on to become America's Cup winners, Volvo Ocean Race winners along with many more who just enjoyed some design tinkering, and then going on to build and race their own boat. The same values and approach is behind the class revival - aided by people with time on their hands, thanks to the COVID lockdowns.

There have been four new boats launched to date and another seven either nearing completion, or well advanced in construction. The class is attracting not only new members who are interested to sail with their children, but also past sailors who just love the boats and want to have another crack.

Two of these are Mark Berry from Wellington - three times winner of the Leander R class trophy and Peter Stacey from Tauranga who finished 10th in the 1978 worlds.

Also, we have Lance Brown from the 1989 worlds team to Sydney. All are all building boats to their own design.

Mike Sanderson has had two boats professionally built to the Leach kitset design and Ray Davies, from Team New Zealand, has also home built a boat this design, with his 10 year old son.

The most advanced of the new boats in New Zealand, in terms of construction, is 17 year old Tim Roper’s own built boat of carbon and foam to a design by his father.

Also building in foam and carbon is 1982 world Champion Phil McNeil, to another home grown design .

In Hamilton Graeme Hill is building a boat to a set of requirements that he had Allan Roper draw up, with the view to another kitset production style boat.

All in all, the growth in the class looks good for the future as the Cherub now begins to explode in New Zealand where it all began.

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