Silver Scorpion 6/7 @ Castle Cove

Castle Cove Sailing Club hosted the penultimate round of this years 2016 Silver Scorpion sponsored by North Sails.

Usually the tea and snacks are had before changing and hoisting, but Saturday found a few crews and helms retiring back to the Castle Cove club house and galley while boats were residing fully rigged on the slipway. This was while rain came down, postponement went up, then down all matching the visibility coming in and out. Jo Mahy was a super keen and managed to make it onto the water – only for the beach master to sprint down and call her back.

When the mist lifted, it looked like the shed loads of breeze had also gone! Fortunately as the fleet of 16 headed out with the Enterprises to the North end of Portland Harbour, a decent force 2 joined in and the sun came out.

OD for the day, Barry Grant, played a prediction game with the veering direction – and set a good beat towards the club. Hot out of the blocks, and uncatachable was the local pair of Sam Barker and Cara Jones in the Fellows now no.2 boat Storm. They kept esteemed company behind them with Pete Gray and a certain Alex (champ) Hayman in 2nd, with the reasonably experienced Tom Jeffcoate and Simon Forbes 3rd. Only a couple back was one of the two 1800 boats, namely Popsy, showing great speed for her 2 race appearance, being helmed by Alex Adams with owner crew Sandra Smith.

After the initial weather delay, turnaround was nice and quick (just time for some mass stripping of rain layers as the sun was properly playing now), and races were also short and sharp, so no-one got far away and the action was close. The breeze had picked up slightly, to the liking of Janet & Alan Ritchie who posted a 2nd, locals Rob Smith & Sarah Pank had another good start but could only hold 5th again, and had to look at the transom of club mates Sam & Cara scoring their second bullet.

With a little more breeze again – race 3 saw Tom & Simon bounce back to a good win from Pete and Alex, this time with Pete and John Rose scoring the first of what would be a string of 3rd places.

Chilli, cornettos, beer and chat in the club preceded town for some, a town that was otherwise full of snoozing triathletes ahead of their Ironman – well done Tim H. Conditions for that were perfect, but looked a bit light for our day 2, however there were patches of medium breeze, often 30+ degrees different – about as shifty as it gets. Despite this, normal service was resumed – this time with Pete/Alex winning from Tom & Simon, Steve & Polly Newman sneaking in a good 4th followed by Anthony & Andy Osman 5th.

OD Steve showed us all most of the harbour while trying to match the big shifts, and added an extra triangle for race 5 to keep us focussed. Although Sam & Cara were coming back from a mid regatta dip, it was a bit late, and race 5 proved decisive with Pete & Alex’s win giving them enough to enjoy the early pack-up as overall winners despite Tom & Simon putting another 1 on the board. That final win secured them second with Sam & Cara just holding on for 3rd.

Thanks to all the Castle Cove SC team for the weekend, and to North Sails for the randomly selected spot prize (£50 voucher & t-shirts) which went to Jo & Julian. See you here next year for the Nationals.

With one race left in this years Silver Scorpion Tom Jeffcoate currently sits atop of the deck, however defending Champion Pete Grey only requires a top 3 finnish in the last race of the year to retain the National Circuit Trophy for the third year in succession.

On the crews side it is very tight with Catherine Maguire and Hannah Edge giving a strong showing for the girls. Experienced hand Jerry Hannabuss will be looking for a strong result at Yorkshire Dales to try and steal the trophy, however Rich Pepperdine will be trying to get back from a cycle accident and Simon Forbes will be aiming for victory.

The final round of the Circuit will be held at Yorkhire Dales (after being re arranged from Elton due to lack of the wet stuff) on the 24th/25th September with Prize Giving at the Scorpion Monsters Ball at the end of October



Nationals 2020
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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