Silver Scorpion 2016 Starts @ Draycote Water

On Saturday, The Scorpion fleet were greeted to a wet and grey Draycote for their 2015 End Of seasons which is also the first of the 2016 Silver Scorpion.

With a very leisurely 1pm start, the rain stopped as the fleet got away cleanly under the black flag (the race officer wanted to get on with it so we could get in to watch the rugby!). After the first beat it was Pete Mitchell and Simon Forbes who picked their way up the first beat to lead the way around the top mark with the chasing pack following them closely. After the first triangle Mitchell/Forbes were still leading however, Gray/Pepperdine had sailed a good couple of reaches to get through to second. On the next few legs these two fought it out until Gray/Pepperdine came through to take the race win with Mitchell/Forbes in second and Jack Banks/Penny Jeffcoate in third.

Race 2 started in a gentle 10 knots but by the top mark the wind had picked up to 20-25 knots accompanied by driving rain. Due to this and the 90 degree wind shift the early gybe around the top mark favoured Gray/Pepperdine who took the lead around the ‘gybe mark’ followed closely by the other early gybers Barker/Clay and Hydow/Rhodes. By this point the rain had increased to near hail and breeze had cranked up a few notches making for an exciting beat up to the leeward mark! Gray/Pepperdine extended their lead up the beat and sailed away leaving Walker/Hannabus, Jeffcoate/Pygall, Barker/Clay and Hydow/Rhodes to fight it out for the next few places. This is how it stayed to the finish but due to missing the spacer mark, Gray/ Pepperdine and Jeffcoate/Pygall later retired from the race along with a few others showing great sportsmanship by admitting they were in the wrong.

Race three got underway with a number of boats pushing for a good start… too good in some cases! 6 boats in total were black flagged for their stunning starts leaving Hayman/ Buchanan to drift round in a dying breeze to take the victory by quite some distance from Walker/Hannabus.

So after watching a somewhat surprising game of rugby (thanks to the race officer for getting us in to see the second half!) it was back to the Dunchurch Hotel for a dinner and disco plus a small quantity of drink.

On Sunday we arrived to a glass pond and after a short postponement the racing was abandoned for the day leaving Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabus as overall winners!

Many thanks to Draycote Water Sailing club for putting on a brilliant event despite the weather and the PRO for not hanging around on the water between races.

Top 5 were;

Steve Walker/Jerry Hannabus Pennine SC

Stuart Hydow/Rachael Rhodes SHSC

Sam Barker/Amy Clay Castle Cove SC/NCSC

Alex Hayman/Hannah Buchanan Weston SC

Peter Mitchell/Simon Forbes SHSC

John Purdie

John is a relative late comer to sailing and even later getting into sailing dinghies. Despite having a lifelong fascination with most things boat, his first sailing experience didn’t come until 1999 at the age of 17 when he spent two weeks aboard the 135′ 340 ton, STA Sir Winston Churchill, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Scheme. Over the last 12 years John has logged more than 15,000 mainly blue water miles with various tall ships and as a volunteer with the Tall Ships Youth Trust (the modern day Sail Training Association) 72′ Challenger Fleet, crossing the Atlantic both ways and competing in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet. After floating around in other classes for a few years, John found the Scorpion in 2011 and has never looked back, competing (as crew) in the last two Nationals and regularly on the National Circuit. John is based just outside Chester, Cheshire.

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