Gul Scorpion National Championships Day 1

The sun shone as 102 keen Scorpion sailors as their families, entourage and groupies  descended upon the vibrant town of Looe for the Gul 56th National Scorpion Championships.

All received a very warm welcome and quickly sorted by the Beach Master upon arrival and soon the boat park was a hive of activity as the sailors had a good catch up with one another and rigged their boats. Some early arrivals even managed a sail while others decided to head for a quick sea swim and a Cornish pasty (when in Cornwall………..).
That evening everybody squeezed into the sailing club bar for the Commodores Reception, Race Briefing and the plentiful buffet. Bringing the class’ now legendary social scene to Looe, a few may have peaked a bit early.

As dawn broke over Looe bay, the sailors were greeted by a 10 – 12 offshore breeze, and warm sunshine. The 51 strong fleet took to the water to begin the practise race.

After the obligatory general recall with half of the fleet more eager than the average beaver (probably not so good for those in wooden boats). The second start was considerably improved and the Scorpion fleet launched them self down the first beat of the Nationals week, shaking off the cobwebs and refreshing the muscle memory. Silver Fleet hopefuls Rich Jones & John Purdie (1947, Angel Dust, Pennine) arrived at the top mark in pole position being chased by defending National Champions Andy McKee & Chris Massey (2026, Sneaky Ninja, Dovestone/Hollingworth Lake) both set turned down wind towards the perfectly set gybe mark fully powered up on a wet thrill ride, scratching the itch that only sailing a Scorpion in breeze, with the kite up can reach. The triangle sausage course saw the top five change places several times with the eventual winners Tom Jeffcoate and Tim Hartley 2037 being gifted the line honours by Andy McKee and Chris Massey 2026. According to folk law, winning the Practice Race is bad luck in the Scorpion Class, depending how this week pans out, we will see how true or false this is.

With cobwebs swept away and memories refresh (and a huge smile already on the faces of the bigger crews) the 1st Championship race got underway at the first time of asking, with Pete Grey and Rich Pepperdine (2039, Inside Voice, Staunton Harold) in there new Gosling built machine, shooting away quickly enough to put a tack across the fleet which ensured they were the first to round the windward mark after a tricky beat with a late right handed shift. The fleet popped their kites in the gathering breeze and held on down two windy reaches which stretched the fleet out, but upon approaching the lewd mark somehow the middle of the fleet compressed into a corporate team building exercise in raft building around the mark. The Scorpion sailors soon untangled themselves and proceeded up the next beat where half way up the wind developed a large right hand shift which instigated a game of snakes and ladders.
Different bands of pressure on the course split the boats as they set off down the run. Upon reaching the lewd mark few places had been lost or gained and the fleet converged in similar positions.
With the wind still building the final triangle of Race 1 happened much the same as the first with boats jostling for positions on the beat and reaches. The final beat saw some patchy conditions, with Andy McKee & Chris Massey showing their gust spotting nouse to finish in first place, with Tom Jeffcoate & Tim Harley (2037, Pickled Wombat) in close second. Third spot was taken by Kevin Gosling & Andy Service (1931, The Business, Beer) showing that even a 26 year old boat can mix it with the brand new ships even with two veteren sailors proving they are anything but long in the tooth (sailing keeps you young).

Special Mentions

With just one race under the fleets belt, everything is still to play for with some holding there cards close to their chest, waiting for more favourable conditions later in the week

This years Lady Helm is going to be hotly contested between Racheal Rhodes (sailing with Hannah Edge) and Janet Richie. Rachael helming at the Nationals for the first time took first blood from Janet (first female helm to win a Nationals race in……….. more years than I can remember, at last years Nationals in Lyme Regis) but only by a slender two places. Sibling rivalry was also well and truly alive as Hannah Edge pipped older sister and new parents to a gorgeous 7 month old daughter, Ric & Lucy Searle (2023, Pincer Movement, Independant) to the line with a gap of just a couple of seconds.

Dave Elston & Gav Pouiliion (1981, Highway Star, Castle Cove) are leading Castle Cove’s dominance of the Silver Fleet with Jock Fellows & Cara Jones (1980, Storm, Castle Cove) in third, only split by Carol Haines & Jon Haines (2027, A la Carte, Elton) splitting them in 2nd, 18th overall after the first race of Carol’s 50th Scorpion Nationals. This must be a record for a single sailor to compete in 50 near consecutive Nationals in one class? If anybody want to verify this please email us (webmaster@sailscorpion.co.uk)

The Bronze Fleet is currently being lead by Carl Jones & Shellie Jones (2029, Jac Y Ddraig Goch, Pennine) sailing with their brand new, home made Jib and Spinnaker to great effect, they might be receiving a few orders after what looks like a fantastic first day with a 28th overall. 2nd place is class stalwart Jo Mahy & Julian Doggerill just four places behind.

Tonights social see helms crews and friends working the old grey matter is the legendary Denchfield Scorpion quiz in the Looe sailing club bar … (Bring your own pen).

In light of the forecast for lots of wind tomorrow the crews race has been postponed to later in the week, but Races 2 & 3 will go ahead at the stated time

Results can be found in the club & on our facebook page at present.

We will get them up on the site tomorrow!

Report Submitted By Hannah Edge (1976, Bombay Bad Boy, Staunton Harold)

Video Supplied by John Crabb and the fantastic team at Looe Sailing Club and can be found here Practice Race & Race 1

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