We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts (or in this case dinghy) of our times. Emma Richards nominates the Cherub

The Cherub is a 12ft two-person dinghy with a single trapeze (twin in the UK), designed in 1951. It evolved into an international development class, with a wide range of designs in fleets across Australia, the UK and New Zealand. The class has recently undergone a major resurgence in New Zealand.

“The Cherub is currently a big thing in our family,” explains Emma, who is married to Kiwi round the world sailor Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson. “Mike has helped resurrect the class in New Zealand and he sails mainly with Merrick, our middle son, but everyone has sailed it. The Cherub definitely has sparked a love of sailing in the kids and rekindled grass roots sailing fun. It is super light and fast.”

Cherubs are ideal ‘project’ boats, with hulls available cheaply or as self-build kits, and endless tinkering options. “Our local crowd is growing, kids racing with a parent or teenagers together,” says Richards. Parents joining the fleet include America’s Cup veterans Ray Davies and Dean Barker.

The Cherub has rekindled grass roots sailing fun. Photo: Suellen Hurling/Live Sail Die

Cherub stats rating:

Top speed: 25 knots
LOA: 3.65m/12ft
Launched: 1951
Berths: 0
Price: from NZ$1,500
Adrenalin factor: 90%

Emma Richards

Emma Sanderson (née Richards) is a British ocean racer who sprang to fame when she became the youngest person to complete the Around Alone solo single-handed around the world race in 2002 aged 27. Prior to that she had been part of the all-female Jules Verne attempt on Royal & Sun Alliance, and raced in the Volvo Ocean Race on Amer Sports Two.

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