Cherubino FAQs

FAQs Cherubino

Can you tell us a little about her?

Of course, here’s a summary from Tom……..

Background: Cherbino was launched in 2001. Her lines are essentially those of the Bowman 49 designed by Holman and Pye in 1975. She carries a pronounced sheerline and modest but discernible tumblehome, displaying all the elegance typical of Kim Holman’s designs of that period. She differs from the standard Bowman 49 in that she has three inches of extra freeboard and increased rake on the transom which increases her LOA to 53’. The waterline length is about 40’, she has a beam of 13’10” and draws 7’6”. The underwater shape shows a longish fin keel and a skeg hung rudder. She is fairly massively built in 2.5” thick solid fibreglass with 2”x4” longitudinal and transverse stringers. There is plenty of boat in the water leading, it is to be hoped, to stately and comfortable progress across the oceans.

Rig: Cherubino is ketch rigged with a 130% overlapping furling genoa (68sqm), a mainsail (44sqm) and mizzen (22sqm). In addition to these we carry a hanked staysail set on a detachable inner forestay. The staysail lives on deck in a full length bag. When running the genoa can be set to windward using an 18’ carbon pole which stores vertically on the mast. The main and mizzen hoist on nylon sliders and are long but not fully battened. Both have conventional slab reefing. We don’t carry a spinnaker, code zero or mizzen staysail. Cherubino’s sail area to displacement ratio of about 17 suggests that that substantial spread of canvas is no more than is required given her heavy construction.

Accommodation: By modern standards Cherubino has remarkably little space inside given her length – long overhangs and a tapered stern come at a cost! There is a double (really one-and-half) bunk in the forward cabin with attached head, a comfortable mid section saloon which provides another sea berth when the fwd cabin isn’t tenable, a single in a crew cabin to stbd and a centre line double in the aft cabin. The crew and aft cabins both access a shower and head arrangement. Cooking is undertaken in a very workable linear galley on the port side. The nav station in forward facing on the stbd side in the saloon.

What does she look like down below?

(From Helen and the boys)

Well, rather like the interior of the Orient Express, I’d like to imagine. Lots of beautiful wood and cream cushions. Glamorous, oh yes! Practical?!

How did you come up with the idea?!

Roughly three years ago, we were standing at Cape St Vincent lighthouse in Portugal with the children. It was February half term and it was a beautiful sunny day, but blowing so hard that the girls’ hair stood up on end. Tom said “What a great day to set sail for the Caribbean…”, which fed some idle day dreaming over the course of supper but not much more at that stage. The seed was sown though and over the years, it grew until we finally found the boat fit for the challenge. After that, jobs were resigned from, schools were talked to, the house was sold and all the plans began to fall into place. Tom sailed Cherubino from Suffolk to Lanzarote over the course of Autumn/Winter 2019 so the children and Polly could fly direct to Lanzarote to start the Atlantic crossing in the latitudes of the trade winds (hopefully!).


A number of (the children’s in particular) friends have asked Do you have internet on board?
Well yes and no. We have an IridiumGo device (favoured by war correspondents and Bear Grylls types) that logs onto a server via satellites, allowing us to send/receive mail and texts and theoretically browse the internet but at speeds around those when you have the E symbol on your mobile. We have a bundle of 500 minutes that we can use as phone calls/texts/emails and that should last us until our return. We connect our usual mobiles to the modem via WiFi, and using the natty IridiumGo app, condense incoming and outgoing files to minimise use of those precious minutes. We cannot really send pictures so will upload these when we arrive in port.

Mainly we use the IridiumGo to collect our weather forecasts every other day, and to email the blog posts to my brother Ben, back at home. Ben is mission control, receiving our emails and posting them on the blog and updating our position on the interactive map (which we’ve yet to see ourselves!). He also acts as go between, disseminating news to and from the family and sending us your comments. And he is our chief political correspondent, sending us occasional updates on the government crises which are so succinct and insightful that I fear he may be poached by the BBC before we return.

So yes, we are off grid, but not entirely incommunicado.