Staunton Harold Scorpion Open – Sponsored by Noble Marine
A fantastic weekend of high octane racing with great battles throughout the fleet was to be had at Staunton Harold over the weekend of March 28th /29th. The 2nd of the years silver scorpion event sponsored by Noble Marine Insurance saw 15 scorpions brave a forecast of high winds and rain at this early season event with 7 races scheduled over 2 days.
Race 1 saw the fleet coming to terms with the wind strength and shifting gusts with capsizes the order of the day. The flexibility of the scorpion soon shone through with helm and crew combos of varying weights soon opting for maximum rake settings to drive the boats upwind at great speed, with speed down wind not a problem with some fantastic spinnaker legs being set by the race committee. Early lead was taken up by Pete Gray and Rich Pepperdine in 2022, with 2033 in pursuit, but after some fast down wind legs and exciting gybes, it was Andy McKee and Chris Massey who took up the chase after 2022. At the finish of race 1, 2022 could not be caught with McKee/Massey in 2nd and Jack Banks and Penny Jeffcoate coping with the strong winds taking 3rd.
Race 2 saw wind strength increasing further with the same dramatic sailing. the first 3 at the first mark were 2026, 2033 (Steve Walker / Jerry Hannabuss) and 2022 all fully raked with flatteners on main sails. This time it was Mckees turn to take the honours at the line with by a very small margin from Pete and Rich, with Walker taking 3rd.
The main talking point in the club was however more about how many capsizes everyone had been involved with – this was easily won by Ollie Wells and Rachael Rhodes sailing 2035 ( as displayed o the stand at the dinghy show) having its first outing- last in this count as McKee.
Races 3 and 4 saw the same 3 battling out the top spots with McKee/Massey showing great survival instincts and boat handling to take 2 victories with 2nd and 3rd spots shared between Gray/Pepperdine and Walker /Hannabuss with the later unable to hold onto early race leads. Also now showing consistency and good speed was 1947 with Rich Jones and John Purdie and Joe Banks and George Cramond in 1924 showing how lightweights can sail a scorpion competitively in strong winds.
By the end of Saturday everyone had a great tale to tell of a fantastic sail and massive smiles ( as well as blisters and aching limbs). Staunton Harold as great hosts put on a curry night for the competitors, and a late night at the bar for the more hardy ones to enjoy. (There was a Fireball Open on at same time but they seemed to all disappear early leaving the scorps to look after the entertainment)
Sunday saw a wet start to amuse the campers, with even more wind forecast to come in around 11.00. Racing was due to start early but due to the clocks going back the race officer had put the start time back to 11.30- just in time for the wind to start howling again, so full rake was put back on and the racing took on a familiar feel, with the same muscles and hands called on again.
Early lead in race 5 was taken by 2033 pulling out a good lead with 2022 needing victory in pursuit. McKee finally succumbed to taking a couple of dips, leaving overall honours still up for grabs. Up the last beat Pete and Rich chose correctly and took the right hand side with Walker going left. This gave 2022 victory with McKee/Massey pulling back 3rd. Once again 1947 with Jones/Purdie kept up the consistency with another 4th place.
The wind had now increased further but the fleet pulled strings tighter and went for race 6. The early leaders after the 1st beat were Jack banks and Penny Jeffcoate in 2017 and Jones /Purdie in 1947. After a couple of legs and some spectacular capsizes it was McKee/Massey who ended up in front and by the line they took the honours and overall victory. Jones/Purdie took 2nd in the race to secure 4th overall. Race 7 was not sailed due to the wind conditions – there were no arguments raised about this.
Many thanks must go from the class to Staunton Harold S.C. for running a great event and to our Event Sponsors NOBLE MARINE INSURANCE for sponsoring the event.
Overall Sailing honours
1st 2026 Andy McKee/Chris Massey – Dovestones S.C
2nd 2022 Pete Gray /Rich Pepperdine – Staunton Harold S.C
3rd 2033 Steve Walker / Jerry Hannabuss – Pennine S.C
4th 1947 Rich Jones / John Purdie – Shotwick Lake S.C.
5th 1924 Joe Banks /Georg Cramond – Netley
most capsize honours
Ollie Wells / Rachel Rhodes in 2035 – more capsizes in 4 races then everyone else in 6.