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Vessel Number: HV000290
Date: 1948
Designer: Cliff Gale
Vessel Dimensions: 7.31 m x 7.31 m x 2.82 m x 1.52 m (24 ft x 24 ft x 9.25 ft x 5 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CHERUB is a Ranger class yacht built in 1947/48 by the well-known Sydney shipwright Billy Fisher for the renowned yachting journalist and writer Lou D'Alpuget. CHERUB has been well known on Sydney Harbour and Pittwater for almost 60 years and the evolution of its configuration involves associations with a number of famous Sydney yachting identities.
DescriptionCHERUB was launched in February 1948 from Billy Fisher's La Perouse, New South Wales boat shed. CHERUB is one of about nine yachts that are all very similar to the original RANGER (HV000034) and have formed themselves into class, with many of them racing together on Sydney Harbour. RANGER was designed by Cliff Gale in the early 1930s and is the classic raised-deck style of craft that has been popular throughout Australia. It has connections back to Australian work boat design and construction which influenced details in Gale's design.

D'Alpuget had been given the lines plan of RANGER by Cliff Gale for the construction of his own boat, but Fisher recalled that changes were made to these lines during the construction. The changes were captured in the mould station shapes. Fisher planked the flooded gum and Oregon hull around the final shaped moulds used for RANGER, but fined up the mid-sections of these moulds at the keel. This was done because RANGER was built with a wide timber keel to incorporate a centreboard, later replaced with a fixed lead keel and deadwood. CHERUB was built from the beginning with a ballast keel and deadwood and therefore did not need the wider timber keel. It is quite likely that CHERUB is the closest in shape of the nine or so Ranger class yachts to the original hull of RANGER.

D'Alpuget named the yacht CHERUB in reference to his daughter and only child Blanche, who is now a well known author and journalist. It was launched with a gaff rig, and he sailed the boat with Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and cruised on Sydney Harbour before moving the boat permanently to Avalon at Pittwater, just north of Sydney.

During his ownership the rig and keel evolved from consultations with some famous names. America’s Cup Naval Architect, Alan Payne and sailmaker Peter Cole created a Bermudan rig and added lead bulbs to the keel sides, improving the yachts performance and making it easier for D'Alpuget to handle. A little later on Bob Miller (well known as America’s Cup winning designer Ben Lexcen) suggested modifications to the bulb shape. He also suggested cutting away part of the deadwood aft along with designing a new rudder shape. These changes brought further improvements to speed and handling that were topped off when an aluminium spar replaced the heavier wooden mast, and the jib became a 7/8 rather than 3/4 high sail plan. Although D'Alpuget stopped racing a few seasons after all the changes were made, he very much appreciated CHERUB's wonderful sea kindly hull shape and delightful performance as he cruised around Broken Bay.

D'Alpuget owned CHERUB for almost 50 years before finally selling it to John Westacott early in1996. Westacott continued to maintain CHERUB to the high standards already set. It has since changed hands once more, and once again races with Sydney Amateurs. Following a mishap to the Bermudan rig in late 2008, CHERUB was being returned to a gaff-rigged configuration early in 2009, this time in consultation with David Payne, nephew of Alan. CHERUB's configuration will now be very close to that of the other Ranger class yachts in Sydney.

Vessel Details
Current status:covered
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Deck material and construction:wood/dynel
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Propeller:stern wheel
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: A4

: 86

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