Chew Valley Lake Scorpion Open
Dogs blown off their chains, local livestock pinned against fences in the surrounding fields, white-horses prancing across the lake and trees bent flat, welcomed the Scorpion Class to the Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club.
Scorpions LOVE these conditions!
For R1 the lightweights cranked their rigs to maximum rake, everything was pulled on, sinews were stretched and blood vessels busted as the wind canned across the course at the start. Richard Jones & John Purdie (1947 Angel Dust Shotwick Lake) fired off the line with a mast raked back to an unprecedented 2/4, this is windy – hurricane Mursell weather!. Ian Dooley & Jo Mahy (2015 Touching The Void Sutton Bingham) fighting for position with Pete Mitchell & Simon Forbes (2034 Tough Screw Staunton Harold) were both called OCS. Pete Gray & Richard Pepperdine (2022 Quackers Staunton Harold) won out first race with Tim Parson & Andy Davis (2014 Intoxicated Lyme Regis) and Barry Wolfenden & Alex Hayman (2024 Big Bad Wolf Bough Beech) surviving to come 3rd.
R2 – Same as the first, a little bit windy and a little bit worse.
This also saw the return of past Scorpion National Champion Tom Jeffcoate & Tim Pygall (2037 Pickled Wombat Notts County/Whistable) in new boat.
Dial up 30 seconds to go, Parson & Davis examines their center board; and even Chris Yates & Dave Barker (1959 Princess Tiger Lily & The Lardy Boys Eastbourne Sovereign) were struggling with this wind. Ryan Buchanan & Hannah Buchanan (2028 Blue Steal Weston) After Hannah had eaten five pieces of the homemade all butter flapjack at £1.64 a piece the doctors were flying. First to the first mark, Jones & Purdie following close behind arriving on Port followed by Wells & Rhodes. Down wind the battle was for clean breeze with Jones & Purdie loosing out. Sugar rush fading a nano second before going into a dodgy jibe Buchanan & Buchanan dropped it in SPLISH SPLOSH SPLASH. Second win of the weekend for Gray & Pepperdine, followed by Jack Banks & Penny Jeffcoate (2017 Not Another Wombat West Kirby) flying into 2nd and Buchanan & Buchanan showing some Steal to take 3rd.
Race 3 – Same as the first, a lot windy and a lot worse. The condition are getting really exciting. Spray soaked sailors now really working hard to manage the conditions. Jones & Purdie discuss the possibility of using the flattener for the first time this year. The wind is howling in flukes and darts across the lake, Flying Fifteens can been seen with their keels in the air.
The Scorpions excel in these conditions!
10 seconds to the start Parsons & Davis are banging out turns and Gray & Pepperdine hear an alarming ‘PING’ as there lower pintle gives up the ghost before a dunking. Jeffcoate & Pygall showing fantastic pace in their new boat push the line to hard and are judged OCS. Parson & Davis bang the corner off the start which pays dividends leading to their first win of the weekend (they must be really looking forward to the 2015 Nationals hosted at their home club in Lyme Regis) followed by Wolfenden & Hayman 2nd and home club flyers Peter Rose & John Rose (1995 Silverode Chew Valley Lake) showing great skill and ability in 3rd.
Day one in the midfleet showed a titanic battle between John Clementson & Melanie Titmus (2019 ** Bough Beech), Jones & Purdie, Yates & Barker and Dave Elston & Sam McNamara (1981 Highway Star LLSC). Jones & Purdie only narrowly have the better of the results
Sunday saw lighter winds. However the Scorpion fleet not learning from Day One and taking notice of how closely the race committee watched the start line on the gun. Banks & Jeffcoate, Buchanan & Buchanan and Clementson & Titmus all falling fowl, OCS. Ollie Wells & Rachel Rhodes (2036 Dogs Tongues Northampton) after a disappointing first day get into the action showing a great turn of upwind pace to the right hand corner. With the Wolfenden & Hayman on the scent, in hot pursuit and a clear gap to the fleet until the main sheet gave up, jettisoning Alex and leaving Barry clinging on to a pirouetting boat, chasing its tail. The win by a fair distance went to Wells & Rhodes with Mitchell & Forbes 2nd, Gray & Pepperdine 3rd. Wolfenden & Hayman limping home in 8th, Hayman achieving his 30m swimming (boat chasing) badge.
The final race of the event started in a building breeze, with Gray & Pepperdine finishing their impressive weekend off securing their three bullets, with another win over Mitchell & Forbes 2nd and Parsons & Davis 3rd
1st Gray & Pepperdine 1,1,DNF,3,1
2nd Parsons & Davis 2,4,1,4,3
3rd Wolfenden & Hayman 3,5,2,8,6
4th Rose & Rose 4,7,3,5,7
Full results will be published soon on the website
The National Scorpion Association would like to thank Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club for a very professional and well ran event. We hope to be visiting you again soon