2015 Silver Scorpion Review

With round 2 of the 2016 Silver Scorpion @ Staunton Harold next weekend (April 2nd & 3rd), here is a review of last years action packed series to give you a tater of what is to come

The 2015 Silver Scorpion was the second year of running our new format of seven designated races, and as with 2014 it has proved an ongoing success with more competitors, good racing and great socials.

The 2015 Series started way back in 2014 with combining the End Of Seasons for the 2014 Series (which saw Pete Gray wrestling Top Helm away from Andy McKee and Pete Mitchell in a showdown at Notts County (with very little wind, and a fair bit of weed) and Simon Forbes clinching Top Crew)  with the first race of the “2015” calendar. Pete Mitchell & Simon Forbes claimed the first bullet of the series with Tom Jeffcoate & Ms Gifford claiming a 2nd place on their return to Scorpion sailing in the light winds of Poole.

After Christmas joviality and the annual weight gain after eating a few too many mince pies the fleet arrived to the first Midlands event of the 2015 at Staunton Harold. In contrast to Poole a few months before it was a bit breezy and this saw the introduction to the series of past winners Andy McKee & Chris Massey and Steve Walker & Jerry Hannubuss looking to get there campaigns off to a good start. McKee & Massey did just this with a well deserved win in difficult, gusty conditions which saw some EPIC down wind legs and the odd pitch pole too. Pete Gray managed a second place with Rich Pepperdine and Walker & Hannabuss came third. Pete Mitchell & Simon Forbes could only record a disappointing fifteenth after a few teething issues with a new boat and an injury to Forbes’ wrist (? will leave that to your imagination).

From Staunton Harold to the Southern Championships, in 2015 the spotlight was on the red cliffs of Sidmouth for the bank holiday weekend. Sidmouth saw another fantastic turn out of 18 boats, unfortunately the breeze didn’t want to play with sailing canceled on the Saturday and a huge visiting Jellyfish bloom, though entertaining for the fleet bobbing around waiting for breeze to appear, made sailing interesting when racing finally got underway. Defending Silver Scorpion Champion Helm Pete Gray recorded his first win followed by a very promising Ryan Buchannan crewed by Alex Hayman with Tom Jeffcoate continuing his strong start to the series crewed by a recovered Simon Forbes taking the final podium place. Barry Wolfenden & Catherine Maquire managed a fourth, showing consistancy and matching their result from Poole in Round 1.

After two Southern, and one Midland event it was time for the North to get involved, the fleet heading for the North Welsh seaside town of Llandudno. “Llan” was included to have a look at facilities for a possible future National Championships in North Wales after the building of the clubs new slipway. The class found a very well set up, very welcoming atmosphere with great hospitality and a plethora of local ales on tap. In difficult conditions (seems to have been a common theme for sea events thus far) after two days of racing Pete Gray & Rachel Rhodes came out on top over Andy McKee & Chris Massey with it going down to the last leg of the last race on the Sunday. Steve Walker & Jerry Hannabuss taking a third place to maintain there overall threat and Anne Whitfield & Paul Newman making good in the light condition coming fourth. This made it two bullets for Pete Gray which put him out on top, followed very closely by Andy McKee and Steve Walker at the half way point in the series.

The second Northern event was next with the Northern Championships at the Northern Scorpion Powerhouse of Winsacar Resevoir and Pennine Sailing Club. As usual Pennine didn’t disappoint in the challenge that is presents to it’s competitors both on the water and at the traditional BBQ & Quiz night that followed Saturday racing. The slightly shifty conditions saw big well fought battles all through the fleet. Andy McKee & Chris Massey coming out on top to record their second bullet of the series with Pete Grey & Rich Pepperdine coming third. Home club team Steve Walker & Jerry Hannabuss splitting the two young guns before the break for the National Championships. Special mention goes to Rachel Rhodes, showing that she isn’t just one of the classes top female crews, spending this event on the tiller. On of the few sailors who have recorded results in both the Helms & Crews championships. Also at this stage with two events to go there were close tussles in the series all the way down with helms Olli Wells, Janet Ritchie and Tim Parsons all vying for position carrying the odd DNC, as well as Martyn Denchfield and Carl Jones having a very close series.

Northampton Sailing Club was a last minute change to round 5 of the Silver Scorpion & nominated the Inland Championships after Notts County had to drop out due to issues with weed, not wanting to put an an sub standard event it was decided after much deliberation to move it for this year. This was unfortunate as we had been predicting a possiblt 40+ turnout which for an open would have been pretty amazing. Northampton still put on a very good event at short notice and in difficult shifty low breeze conditions Pete Gray & Rich Pepperdine won out, Gray therefore sealing the series and retaining the Helms Silver Scorpion Trophy, while Rich Pepperdined got within reaching distance.

Castle Cove was the last event on the 2015 circuit and with the winning return to the Open Circuit of Chris Turner sailing with Alex Hayman in 2006 Discreet Banana

The 2015 Silver Scorpion has been a very successful series for the class on and off the water with some amazing socials, fantastic venues, challenging sailing conditions and not forgetting the camaraderie and friendships which thrive within the class.

This year’s venues included Poole (Nov 2014), Stanton Harold, Sidmouth, Llandudno, Pennine, Northampton and Castle Cove. The series had 95 distinct entries with all events getting 13 or more entrants with the exception of Llanudno who got 7,  Sidmouth can boast the most with 18. Overall 3 helms and 6 crews qualified, completing 4 or more races – Pete Gray and Jo Mahy  being the only 2 people to take part in all 7 events. Individual event winners were Pete Gray who clocked up 3 wins, Andy McKee who won 2, Pete Mitchell and Chris Turner who won 1 each.

Presentations for the series where made (by Amy Forbes)  at the End of Season Black Tie Dinner and prize giving held at Drayton Park Hotel, near Draycote Sailing Club (1st Silver Scorpion event for the 2016 series). Guests were treated to a fantastic reminder of the ‘Scorpion’ year with a slide show of photographs and videos taken during the year as well as some indescribable moves on the dance floor and the lads in brightly coloured shorts……!

Overall Series results are:

1st Helm: Pete Gray – who holds onto the title for the 2nd year running

2nd Helm: Steve Walker

3rd Helm: Jo Mahy


1st Crew: Rich Pepperdine

2nd Crew: Jerry Hannabuss

3rd Crew: Rachael Rhodes

Thank you to all those people who have been instrumental in making this series such a success – from the staff and volunteers at each venue to everyone who has done their bit whether your a Committee Members, Sponsors, Sailor friend or family member.

Here is looking forward to the 2016 Series!



Joanne Mahy