Nationals 2017 Runners & Riders

Compiled by Alan Ritchie

Welcome to the annual warm up story for the 2017 Gul Scorpion nationals. With 10 races planned + a practice race and a packed entertainment schedule including a Pimms Party, Treasure Hunt, Games Evening and the famous Denchfield Quiz (Physics is Fun !). There’s also the obligatory Fancy dress night on Thursday with the Fancy Dress theme being Pop Stars Dead or Alive. As ever it will be an amazing event with Castle Cove rolling out the red carpet for the fleet. With prizes and fleets within fleets the competition goes on all the way through the week.

The non sailor SWAGs / SHABs (scorpion wives and girlfriends / scorpion husbands and boyfriends) will commence their week with the bring and share lunch on Sunday – they’ll be hoping the sailing goes on a while so they can enjoy themselves without the wetsuit brigade in the way.

Starting at the top we’ll take a look at the pros and drinkers amongst this years Scorp national contenders. Apologies for those missed out but I know you’ll all be there come the Thursday night – remember the Pop Stars Dead or Alive for Fancy Dress

Chris Turner and Alex Hayman 3:1 dont bet against them. If the ship had floated they would be even money !

Winners last year but with an unproven hull (still in pots at Chris’ workshop) Luckily with two boat builders in the ship they can probably repair it if it isn’t quite finished. Expect to see Chris with rum in his hands most nights keeping up the true scorpion traditions. Rumours of a helm / crew flip if they won last year seems unfounded.

Tom Jeffcoate and Tim Hartley 3:1 generous odds for a three times champ

Oh so close last year their form looked awesome at Sidmouth with a straight bullet weekend, however last weekends performance on the nationals track was bit lacklustre – if Tom can stay off the beer and Tim stay off his bike they look good for the top step of the podium ? If they manage to seal the deal early on Thursday expect Tom to wake up on the street Friday morning.

Andy McKee and Steve Graham 3:1 Good each way

Andy has won before but with regular crew Chris Massey confined to nappy duties the pressure is on Stevie G to show his true metal at the front of the fleet. Looking fast in the warm up event at Weymouth last weekend. A pair of lightweights in the bar, would alcohol improve their performance ?

Pete Gray and Richard Pepperdine 4:1 Good every way !

Regular 2nd place finishers can the boys get the breaks this year, without the Spa pool at Lyme and distractions of building works last year hope is running high for the midlands lake bandits. Stop press unknown injury may force emergency crew change – it it time for Secret super crew Sir Ben to finally show the scorpions how to do it ? Steady consumption every night though vomit splashes on opponents covers are not unknown.

Alan Krailing and Simon Forbes 5:1 Generous odds if the going is firm

New to the Scorp nationals but current lark national champion Alan will be hoping for his open meeting form to continue this year. With a quiet assassin at the bar and ‘bear’ on lockdown, drinking skills are unlikely to feature this week.

John Mursell and Sam Barker 8:1 Worth a punt

Since John lost his 6’ crew some years ago he seems to have gone off the boil but you can’t count out a 9 times champion. With Barkers local knowledge and the Mursells childhood spent at Weymouth you’d think they have every shift mapped. Light consumption from John due to serious attitude, Barker will be seen propping up the bar as long as someone else is paying. Expect to see Pimms stains on Barkers wetsuit the morning after the pimms party.

Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabus 10:1 Not in the nackers yard yet

Steady speed from the veteran top runners expect to see the over 100 trophy in its usual place – the only gear failure to worry about is Jerry’s hiking handles due to overuse. Solid bar performance as long as there’s ‘real’ beer available.

Kevin Gosling and Andy Service 10:1 Still plodding round

Their annual get together once more in a scorpion Kev and Andy will get quicker as the week progresses, highly likely that Kev will be left at the bar as the ‘young uns’ go into town each night. He will still be there come the morning probably re-splicing and varnishing someones boat as the sun gets up.

Alex (twice) Knightly and Mike Robins 10:1 Hard to handicap

Mike has enticed Knightly back into the fleet. Regular Castle Cove heros along with Mr Mursell these are good lads to sniff out a random local windshift, unfortunately unproven bar work of recent years could hamper their true potential.

Tim and Sarah Parsons 10:1 Early form promising but more to come

Tim loves Weymouth and with wife Sarah back in charge at the front a light wind week could see the flyweights at the front. However without matching buoyancy aids the photos wont be looking as good at usual. Mrs Prosecco Parsons can usually be found in charge of the children but if allowed out watch out Weymouth !

Adrian and Rob Smith 12:1 Interesting bet for the ladies

Local advantage, a childhood growing up in boats – now campaigning contenders individually will the two helms in a boat pay off at last ?

Red wine stains a speciality for the younger Smith – hopefully not working too hard to keep us all entertained and able to keep his own levels suitably topped up.

Barry Wolfenden and Catherine Maguire 15:1 Bet on a first mark port entry – guaranteed payout !!

With Catherine concentrating on swimming this year strength is sorted at the front of the boat, fortunately we can rely on Bazza to fall over on at least one tack per race, recent advice from this author will have fallen on deaf ears thankfully. Weymouth warm up went well on the water with a sneaky race win with first reserve crew/wife/PA. Bar performance outstanding and expect Baz to be leading the troops into Weymouth town at every opportunity –his way of nobbling the opposition !

Peter and John Rose 15:1 Steady / consistent / safe money

Barry’s nemesis and super quick in the light stuff. Will retirement have given Peter more or less time to get his priorities straight in sailing. Poor bar performance though wife (and mother) Judy can be relied upon for SWAG activities. Quiz night Favourites.

Janet and Alan Ritchie 20:1 Can the lottery strike twice ?

Outstanding luck and fortune for the Drama Queens gifted a race win back in 2015 however with a podium at Sidmouth are they back on an upward curve ? With a low tech attitude to the boat and

only one spinnaker pole available clearly windy gybes are always a bit sketchy. Bar performance varies and Alan is unlikely to make more than two big nights out in the week – if only he can hold back on Saturday before we start sailing !

Rachel Rhodes and Hannah Edge 25:1 One for the discerning gentlemen

With a new ship (to them) this year will Rachel be able to wrestle away the ladies trophy from Janet. Bar and Spa performances in recent years may have hampered some early starts however flat water and light winds could see the Hen Party flying up the results. If Rachel can try to reduce her Thursday night cava tasting to one way only that should improve the Friday performance.

Dave Elston + ……..100:1 5p each way ?

Silver fleet winner in 2016 (should never have been in silver fleet) Dave has been training local talent in the hopes of making a big impact. In days of yore we could rely on Dave to get to the windward mark in the lead before the inevitable inappropriate spinnaker hoist in a gust. Bar work normally in the top half of the fleet – likely to be holding Bazzas hand in Dizzy Lizzy at 3am at least once.

Pete Crowther and Dave Thompson 150:1 – Bet on Dave’s Jumper staying on all week

Another Silver Fleet bandit Pete and Dave really should be looking to a more yellow metal on their selection, bar work will be steady and reliably dark brown beer will be consumed. Pimms will suffice as its free and Pete can be relied upon if theres any sort of Volleyball games to be a winner.

Carol and John Haines 1000:1 Still going after all these years – do we have an age handicap event ?

The veterans of the fleet will surprise a few if we get a light week, with over 100 nationals between them our international judge team like it shifty. Prosecco ready as they get off the water on any day they complete both races means they peak very early in the drinking stakes though always a strong contender for the quiz night.

Place your bets prior to Sunday 30th July 12 noon for best returns on the odds available !

ps (*not real odds or gambling available – always gamble responsibly*)

pps (*We don’t only drink but do a lot of other fun stuff too*)

ppps (* always drink responsibly*)

Linda Wolfenden