Season Opener @ Staunton Harold

A good sized fleet of 18 scorpions made the trip to perfect conditions of warm, sunny, medium wind Staunton Harold for the first open event of the season combined with the Fireballs. The format was for lots of windward/leeward sprint style races, 11 were completed in total with only 2 discards which made sure the fleet had to be in top form for the whole weekend.
Saturday saw two sessions of racing with lunch in between. The first race saw Peter Gray/Richard Pepperdine take the win with Tom Jeffcoate/Tim Hartley 2nd and Janet/Alan Richie in 3rd. After the first race the fleet had gotten into the swing of short races and were loving the fact that there was lots of competition throughout the fleet and one mistake could be costly. Race 2 saw Jeffcoate/Hartley take the win, with new pairing Alan Krailing/Simon Forbes taking second and Baz/Linda Wolf in 3rd. With the sun still shining race 3 got underway with Krailing/Forbes taking their first bullet of the weekend, Richie/Richie were second just ahead of Rach Rhodes/Hannah Edge in their newly acquired ship courtesy of Han’s sister. One more to go before the break the fleet were keen to get going once more and fast out of the blocks was Krailing/Forbes again and with that they took another win, thistle followed by Gray/Pepperdine & Jeffcoate/Hartley. A notable mention has to go to Malcolm James/Cora Hog for getting a creditable 4th.
After the break the fleet went out for another round of 3 races with the sun still shining down in a perfect 12kts of breeze. Race 5 gut underway with a couple of people a bit too keen and with that getting OCS. Jeffcoate/Hartley took another win, Krailing/Forbes in second and Richie/Richie getting another 3rd. The 6th race of the day saw a new leader in Rhodes/Edge leading from the start, but unfortunately for them they couldn’t hold onto the lead on the last run, meaning Gray/Pepperdine took their second win, with Krailing/Forbes sneaking into second ahead of Rhodes/Edge. The final race of the day got away cleanly and after a quick race Jeffocte/Hartly took the win closely followed by Gary.Pepperdine and Krailing/Forbes
After packing up for the day, the fleet retired to the clubhouse and had a couple of light refreshments whilst talking about the amazing close racing which has been going on during the day, followed by a great curry cooked by mummy Pepperdine. Looking at the results it was clear to see that the racing was tight with groups of boats throughout the score sheet either sharing points or within 3/4 points of each other. only 2 points separated the top 3.
A new day dawned and with it another perfect day for sailing. conditions similar to the day before, but with a forecast for a bit more breeze to build. Another 4 races were planned in order to get to the 11 race target. Race 8 got underway after a little delay, Jeffcote/Hartley showed that they still had the grove from yesterday claiming another win, with Gray/Pepperdine taking second. 3rd was Andy Mckee/Steve Graham after eventually finding some boat speed. Race 9 started almost as soon as race 8 had finished which was ideal as no-one was hanging around. Gray/Pepperdine took the lead and win, followed by Krailing/Forbes and Baz/Linda taking another 3rd.
Following race 9 the fleet returned to shore where such was served and people could have one last look at the results before the last 2 races. It was clear to see several groups of 3/4 boats who were very close on points so it was all to play for throughout the fleet during the last 2 races. It was so tight the top 3 were going into the final two races tied on points.
Race 10 saw a new winner in McKee/Graham with Jeffcote/Hartley taking 2nd and the big bad wolf took another 3rd. inbetween the 10th and 11th race many boats were seen counting points between their nearest competitors to try and work out a race strategy, and it was still all to play for at the top. The final race of the series saw Gray/Pepperdine steal the win off Krailing/Forbes on the run, with Jeffcote/Hartley just pipping on the finish to get 3rd.
This kept the results very tight with just 1 point separating the top 3. Gray/Pepperdine took the win over Jeffcote/Hartley on countback with 18 points each, and Krailing/Forbes taking 3rd on 19 points.
A big thank-you to Staunton Harold for hosting an amazing event then whole fleet enjoyed!
Pictures By Amy Forbes (c)

Malcolm James

South Cerney SC Gloucester GL7 5TH. Scorpion 2001.