Scorpions go to the Beech
At the sparrows fart on the 16th of April, 10 scorpion teams were on track to arrive at Bough Beech Sailing Club. Whilst on our travels we were observing the stunning green and leafy surroundings. Upon glimpsing the lake the chat in the van changed from debating Sally Sat-navs competence to whose fault it was for not packing the road bikes. On the breathless shores of Bough Beech the chat in the fleet was heavily centred on how the day would be spent of which the most popular option seemed to be erecting an obstacle course!
However after a swift brew some patchy breeze did appear and the fleet were informed by Mr Race Officer that the 12 O’clock start that previously seemed barmy would be going ahead.
Once the fleet had launched the breeze was light and shifty but at least movement was now possible. The fleet got away cleanly of the line with Noddy and Taxi (2039) taking the bullet from Simon and Fiona Gillow (2003) followed by Alan Krailing and Simon Forbes (2034).
After waiting some time for Issac & Stevie (2042) to finally cross the line the second sprint race starts got under way. By now, the wind was very light with localised gusts and huge shifts gave a challenge to the race officer. However, defying the will of Anemoi the second race got under way.
The first beat was a game of snakes and ladders depending on who sat wallowing and who could get towards the patches of wind and stay moving. Mr Krailing and Simon (2034) got across the line first followed by Team P&B (2042) and then our pizza host Baz Wolfenden and crew Catherine McGuire (2024).
The third of the sprint races had John and Mel (2019) showing the way round the first lap until a surprise attack from a rogue starboard gust sent them swimming and opened up the door for Team P&B. This was a short lived lead as the final run was not always a run and involved some drops, tacks, handbrakes and concentration. With a raft of boats at the final mark it was Team Hen, Rachael and Hannah (2023) that were the movers, sailing around the raft and taking the win.
After a drift in, some food and what we though was an empty promise of wind from Taxi, the bar was opening ready to prepare the fleet of sailors for the famous Wolfenden pizza party. This was however a premature move with Taxi’s promise of breeze proving to be semi correct with the fleet again launching for a further 3 short and sweet sprints.
Again in the shifty and varying breeze it was Pizza Hat Pete and Taxi Davis that bagged another win, followed by John and Mel in there new dry kit and then the ever consistent Alan and Simon took third place.
Race 5 was a similar story with Pete and Taxi making the most of the tough conditions followed by Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabuss (2033) then Simon and Fiona taking the third.
Race 6 proved different from the start with an almost Americas cup style start by where the windward could be made from the pin. It was Team P&B that led from the pin and rounded first followed by Steve and Jerry and then John and Mel. This precession remained the same until the end.
After sailing it was finally time for Baz to get his fire burning and Pizza Pete to whip out the pizza slice hat, blessed by the dry weather the party continued late into the night and the five thousand were fed. A huge thanks to the Wolfenden’s on behalf of the fleet!
When Sunday arrived there was a plan of three longer races, although more breeze was promised it did not materialise until later in the day. The first race was underway with Pete and Taxi bagging yet another first followed by Simon and Fiona and then the ever consistent Alan and Simon.
The second race of Sunday set off on a millpond with the breeze swapping and changing like the spin of a dime. This proved very interesting racing with boats heading every direction in the search of breeze. As the race developed the breeze began to increase and with the majority of fleet all racing tightly the regatta was still to be decided. As the fleet caught up and got in and amongst the handicap fleet there appeared to be some confusion. Boats went through the line and got their hoot with John and Mel fishing out some sandwiches and Stevie G stopping for a comfort break. It was Baz who was the mover, after looking at the flags he realised only the club racing was finishing. His game face remained and he yachted through the fleet of picnickers and toilet trippers to work his way into 4th finishing behind Team Hen, Alan and Simon slipped into 2nd, while yet again Pete and Taxi took the win.
The final race of the weekend also presented the best wind of the weekend. It was Team P&B that chugged up the first beat however Mr Alan and Simon pulled a fat one and yachted over the top on the first reach. Like a robber’s dog, they set off downwind with a chasing Team P&B and John and Mel trying to keep up. On the second beat it was Peter and Taxi who wangled the right side to pop out in second and it was this order how the top three finished.
Overall it was a fantastic weekend for the scorpion fleet with Pete delivering a speech thanking the race officer for doing an amazing job with the conditions he was provided with, the galley for the food and the club for being so accommodating.
1st – Pete and Taxi
2nd – Alan and Si
3rd – Isaac and Stevie G
Photos Courtesy of Malcolm & Alison James