Scorpion Nationals 2013 @ Sidmouth – Day 1

Sunday dawned with warm sunshine and 5 to 15 knots of breeze from every direction possible for races one and two of the Noble Marine Scorpion Nationals.

The first race got under way after three attempts under the black flag. There were two victims of the black flag, Steve Hall & Oli Wells and John Clemenoson & Mel Titmus. John and James Mursell led around the windward mark, only unfortunately to be rolled by three boats on the reach. Rich Jones and John Perdie rounded in fifth and defended their position honourably until the wing mark which caused the fleet to pile up and allow the first four boats to pull clear. Pete Mitchell and Si Forbes led away from the fleet with Jack Banks and Penny Jeffcoate pushing them hard until the final set of reaches when the wind dropped and began to shift. Pete & Rich in 3rd decided to gybe on the first reach to sail through Jack & Penny. By the time the boats re-convened at the wing mark, Pete Gray squeezed round ahead of Pete Mitchell and held on to the finish, making it a North Sails 1,2.

After a long wait for the wind to settle down, race 2 got away cleanly at the first attempt with no need for the black flag! At the first mark newcomers, Noths Sails Pete Mitchel and Simon Forbes (Pete Gray’s spare crew & boat), were up amongst it again. Also into the mix this time was the P&B boat of Steve Hall and Oli Wells. They managed to stay the right side of the line this time! Pete and Simon held on until the leeward mark where Pete and Rich managed to get the better of the shifts to the new windward mark to sneak past them. After another beat with with a mark shift and two brilliant reaches all credit to the mark laying team for this having moved the course over 90 degrees. Pete Gray took the win with Pete Mitchell taking 2nd once again and Stevie Hall 3rd.

The flyer of the day went to the Rose boys in 1993, but sadly had to give the champagne to there dad for letting them borrow the boat!

The Pecker prize for gross under achievement was awarded to the Mursell family boat for having the inability to sail without a rudder and managing to capsize whilst not racing rather close to the rocks. As all good helms and also fathers do John blamed his crew and said “hurry up and get on that board!”.

A change to the sailing instructions had now scheduled – two races for Monday due to the lack of wind forecast later in the week.

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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