Sun, sea and waves @ Eastbourne Soveriegn
Sun, sea and waves were promised for the Round 3 of the 2016 Silver Scorpion and the conclusion of this years Noble Marine South East Championships at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club. All three were delivered in abundance for the 15 strong fleet that took to the exciting big swells that were developing off the beach. Out of this 15 you could count 7 boats from the top 10 at the 2015 Nationals, which set high standards of racing for the weekend… Only a fool would decide to trundle elsewhere to sail (no names …. Mr Richie)
The mixed fleet included both glass and wooden boats, the freshly Paint Craft painted 1959 and the newly completed Gosling built 2039. However Pete and Rich had forgotten their main sail and only managed to go racing by borrowing a spare from fellow North Sails team mate Simon.
Race 1 started at the second time of asking under black flag due to the tide ripping the fleet over the start line. This tide helped Chris Yates 1959 in his freshly pimped metallic black hull, to dislodge himself from the pin end anchor line just in time to save his transom from the bow of another brass banded Scorpion.
No such chaos on the second start and the fleet made their way quickly around the triangle sausage course, Chris Turner & Alex Hayman in 2004 held on from an early lead to take the first bullet of the open. Tom Jeffcoate & Tom Pygall 2037 taking 2nd, with Pete Grey & Rich Pepperdine in 2039 taking 3rd.
Race 2 was turned around very efficiently by the race committee, something they continued to do all weekend. The fleet started cleanly and after a competitive first beat it was anybody’s game. This was proved by Alan Krailing & Simon Forbes in 2034 who rounded the windward mark in 8th place and managed to get a photo finish with Chris and Alex for 2nd/3rd place, with Alan & Simon taking 2nd. Tom & Tom enjoyed their first bullet. Barry Wolfenden & Catherine Maguire 2024 snatched 4th, their best result of the weekend.
Race 3 was started in an increasing swell with building wind. The fleet were making full use of their adjustable rigs throughout the race. The big swell kept throwing up endless waves to surf down which entertained the adrenaline junkies of the class downwind.
Chris & Alex had a narrow victory over Alan & Simon. The stable heavy breeze suited Tim Parsons & Mikie Hanan 2014 announcing themselves with 3rd place. Jock Fellow & Cara Jones 1980 flew up the fleet to a commendable 6th position.
Following racing there was a nail biting episode of recovering boats to the pebble beach of Eastbourne, with Scorpions coming in single file to be met by a squad of helpers, ready to lift the boats straight out of the water and on to the nearest trolley.
With hot showers and a strong plate of chilli con carne from the galley, the sailors set up camp at Yateseys yard and then commandeered his local pub to swap stories and attempted to get him barred.
After bacon and sausage baps in the morning the crews de-camped, geared up and went to do battle once again.
Race 4 started in champagne conditions with a northerly force 3-4 with calmer waves. Off the start line the boats that banged right came up smelling of roses, with Jo Mahy and Julian Dogrell 2015 rounding the mark in a notable 3rd place. With all of the crews showing great speed and tactics the whole way around the course, tight battles were being fought and won as places changed numerous times. Pete and Rich had retired from race 2 & 3 to fix some damage and with their repaired ship took line honours with Chris and Alex in 2nd place. Alan & Simon managed to pip Tom & Tom on the line taking 3rd and 4th respectively.
With the tide now changing direction and a heavier breeze kicking in, Race 5 got under way.
Alan & Simon gave Chris & Alex a close race throughout, with the yellow hull of Turner taking another bullet… However … it turns out Alan & Simon were OCS on this occasion.
The Scorpion sailors were having split decisions on whether to go high or low on the first lap of reaches as the two sides converged for the mark it appeared no favourable outcome could be determined. As the tide grew stronger it became evident that for the second lap the fleet needed to stay low to have any hope of gaining positions.
Chris & Alex had already secured their first place for the open. Leaving it to 2037 and 2034 to battle it out for report writing duty.
For the 6th and final race of this gorgeous open, the fleet racked up and started in a sunny force 4-5. Team girl; Rachael Rhodes & Hannah Edge 1976, showed more balls than most with their start on the favoured committee boat end, refusing to bail out of a tiny gap that came under pressure from Chris & Alex, working hard they converted to a credible 7th place.
Alan & Simon tore up the first beat like a robbers dog, rounding the windward mark in first place with a decent gap to the chasing pack. Pete & Rich managed to close the distance on the first set of reaches, out gybing Alan & Simon to sneak into the lead. For the remainder of the race, these two boats were criss-crossing, with Inside Voice 2039 taking Tough Screw 2034 on the line.
Meanwhile … Tom & Tom 2037 opted for an ‘all or nothing’ strategy, hotting it up on the run to gain two critical places to take 4th. This meant that overall they had second place in the bag, handing overall 3rd place and the report writing duty to Alan & Simon… Which after swift delegation has been a team effort.
After a thankfully uneventful return to shore, both sailors and boats were cleaned, packed and ready to go while the Noble Marine South East Championship results were calculated.
Pete & Rich took victory over Alan & Simon by one point, they take home the new and shiny trophy.
A congratulations also goes to the winner of the sponsored North Sails Silver Scorpion prize draw that went to Rob and Sandra Smith 1939. The scorpion class would like to thank Norths for their continued support of the class.
A huge thank you to Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club for their race management team, safety cover crew, accommodating photo boat facilities, bar and galley staff for their friendly hospitality.
The Scorpion fleet would be delighted to return!
Next Event is at Pennine Sailing Club, on the Northern Circuit on Sunday June the 5th before the fleet heads for Rutland (11th & 12th June) for this years Inland Championships and Round 4 of what is building into a hotly contested Silver Scorpion National Series
So please come and support the class, as always, we would love to see you there for some more competitive sailing and fantastic socials.
Pictures Courtesy of (c) Amy Forbes