Meet Your Committee and Contact Us

John Mursell Get in touch

John’s father introduced the Scorpion to Castle Cove Sailing Club in 1967, having acquired Scorpion 506 ‘Lady Jane’, the first Westerly-built boat without a stern tank. Before long there were nearly 30 Scorpions at the Cove and club members, including John’s parents (with kids in tow), were enthusiastic travellers on the Open meeting circuit and to the Nationals. John took part in his first Nationals in 1974, crewing for his Dad in ‘Lady Jane’; “160 boats straight off the beach at Saundersfoot! I was hooked”. John took ‘Lady Jane’ to North Berwick in 1976 for his first Nationals as a helm, teaming up with his school chum Adam Bowers. “I think we performed better off the water than on it. Just wasn’t used to those Scottish Malt chasers. Nothing changes”!

John bought his first Scorpion in 1977, a rare Peter Johns-built boat, sail number 924 and with the amusing name ‘Shere Khant’. Since then he has owned many boats including Scorpion 1765 ‘Philanderer’, built by Adam Bowers while at South East Boat Builders (SEBB), Scorpion 1835 ‘and out came Willie!’ (don’t ask!) from Andy Barker’s High Performance Sailboats (also built by Adam Bowers) and Scorpion 1850 ‘Cream Cracker’, the first boat that Kevin Gosling built for himself whilst working for Jon Turner. Arguably John’s most distinctive and memorable boat is Scorpion 1936 ‘Bottyburp the Barbarian‘, a distinctive, bright yellow Gosling built in 1991 and which he sailed for 20 years. This boat is itself a legend (as well as John of course), being voted No. 4 in Dougal Henshall’s series for Yachts & Yachting magazine to decide the most iconic racing dinghy of all time.

John finally ‘went plastic’ in 2011 with the purchase of Scorpion 2020 ‘Snap Shackle & Plop’ from the Boatyard at Beer and fitted out by P&B. This boat being sold to a member of Sidmouth Sailing Club last year there is now quite a bit of rumour and speculation about his stead for Penzance 2020. Will it be a brand new Ovington hull through P&B or a masterly restoration and/or upgrading of a vintage craft? Only time will tell but a good reason to come to Penzance anyway and find out!

John served on the Committee for eight years from 1993 through 2000, the last five years as Chairman, but was taken aback in 2018 to be informed that his predecessor as President, the ‘Queen’ of the Scorpion Class, Carol Haines, was handing over the reins and that he was to take over. “Honoured as I was, it was also a reality check. I well remember cornering Carol many moons ago in one of the darker recesses of Notts. County Sailing Club, along with my fellow conspirator, Steve Walker. Armed with a bottle or two of fine wine, our mission was to ‘persuade’ Carol that she was to be the new President! And NO, she was definitely NOT too young for the role! The redoubtable Carol put up very firm resistance but gradually mellowed as the bottles were drained. The rest is history as they say. The ‘conspirators’ this time around – Steve Walker and Chris Yates – both on the Committee with me back in the 1990s. How history repeats itself”.

PS. One thing that John didn’t mention is that he has won the Scorpion National Championships a record nine times as a helm. That’s another good reason why he gets to be Class President and dress up smart for the Prizegivings!

Chris Yates Get in touch

Gone before me are National Champions and many legends of the class but then why shouldn’t I just let you all into the best kept secret. But then you already know! We all sail the best two-person hiking performance dinghy, fact, with quite frankly the best set of friends anyone could ask for …. you lot!

I found out this secret way back in 1981 when a certain Tony Wetherall in his Tenby  National Champions speech declared the same sentiments and I’ve been hooked ever since! A quote from Albert Einstein is not out of place here: “A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is not what it is built for” (and it rhymes too).There’s not much else for me to say but to enjoy the forthcoming season and see you on the water. PS. How do you like my new Superman outfit and shades?! Do you think that my crew Dave Barker is hiking out hard enough or taking it easy?!

Hon. Treasurer
Russell Wheeler Get in touch

A warm welcome to Russell as our new Association Treasurer. He sails Scorpion 1988 with Lee Marriott and is based at Isle of Sheppey (IOS) Sailing Club on the Thames Estuary. IOS hosts the annual Round the Island race and also lays claim to the famous ‘Sheppey Raffle’ which brought hilarity to last year’s Scorpion Nationals at Llandudno.

Class Secretary
Steve Walker Get in touch

Stevee has been inextricably linked to the Scorpion class since his father bought 781 back in the day. Steve sails the gorgeous Duffin/Paintcraft-built wooden Scorpion 2044 ‘Tallulah’ with Jerry Hannabuss at Pennine Sailing Club and around the circuit. He has previously owned Scorpions 1585, 1889, 1944, 1956 and 1970, the latter ‘Custard Tart’ being a not dissimilar colour (i.e. yellow) as the new ‘Tallulah’ . Sat in Staunton Harold club house one Sunday morning,  with Chris Yates, Dave Barker and Jerry ‘The Guru’ Hannabuss, it dawned on us that we have been  competing at Scorpion events for the past 35 (maybe plus 160 aggregate) years together….. great boat, great fun and great mates !

Membership Secretary
Joanne Mahy Get in touch

Jo returns to the committee after a spell restoring wooden Scorpions, dabbling with other boats (including an Osprey!) and trips to scenic Scotland. At last count we believe that there are three racing Scorpions with a ‘purple’ colour theme; 2015 ‘Touching the Void’, 1907 ‘Ethel’ (Jo’s first Scorpion) and 1758 ‘Maria’. Jo tells us that ‘Maria’ was a complete rescue/ renovation job from scratch and now has a raking rig system – impressive!

Jo sails at Sutton Bingham Sailing Club on their reservoir near Yeovil and also gets on the surf at Castle Cove Sailing Club, Weymouth. Having learned to sail a Mirror dinghy on the sea in Guernsey many years ago we suspect that sea sailing is in her blood!

Events & Silver Scorpion Organiser
Peter Gray Get in touch

Pete is regularly seen leading the way round the Open meetings in 2039 ‘Inside Voice’, his 2016 Gosling-built composite, and is currently the Events organiser for the Northern Circuit and the Silver Scorpion. He has put together an innovative series of events for the 2019 Silver Scorpion with parallel ‘Travellers’ events in the South-West and Midlands regions. Pete is based at Staunton Harold SC in South Derbyshire.

Nationals Coordinator
Dave Elston Get in touch

A long-time Scorpion sailor Dave joined us after the 2018 Tenby Nationals. Taking over the reins from Linda Wolfenden he aims to get the class competing at the best Nationals venues possible for the next few years. Sailing at Castle Cove SC in Portland Harbour Dave appreciates what makes a great venue, which is probably why the class like going back to Weymouth so much!

Technical Representative
Jerry Hannabuss Get in touch

Jerry’s involvement with the Scorpion class spans almost seven decades (we think), which is nearly as long as our esteemed President and nine times National Champion, John Mursell. Longevity, skill and a passion for our class are essential prerequisites for the ‘top job’ so to speak and Jerry has them all in bucket loads – and then some!

Affectionately known as ‘The Guru’ Jerry’s knowledge of the Scorpion past and present is arguably unsurpassed and he is that go-to person we seek out in the dinghy park for a spot of rope splicing, an authoritative view on some obscure aspect of the class rules or trying out something new. Excellent qualities you might say for the technical representative who liaises with our governing body the RYA on all matters concerning the Scorpion class rules.

Jerry began his sailing career during the 1960s on a small reservoir near Macclesfield, Cheshire. In the early 1970s he moved to Elton Sailing Club with its then large, competitive fleet featuring Carol and John Haines and the Curran twins, Alan and Brian, amongst other class legends. His first nationals were in 1974 at Saundersfoot sailing with his brother Julian in Scorpion 605 and he often jokes on how the sheer size of the fleets back then (typically 80-100+ boats) made it easier to count their position from the back rather than the front (which incidentally is never the case these days)!  The brother’s next boat was Scorpion 1705 built from a flat-pack kit supplied by famous builder Trevor Stewart in Northern Island. Graduating through the fleet this boat was followed in 1980 by the (at that time) radical Jon Turner built Scorpion 1812 ‘New Wave’; the first in the series of Turner Scorpions with raking rig and other innovations which would rise to effectively dominate the class for the next 15 years.

The early 1990s saw a change of sailing partner and sailing club for Jerry following Julian’s decision to move abroad. Teamed with Dave Woodhead in Scorpion 1947 ‘Angel Dust’ at Elton Sailing Club the pair quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with, enjoying success at both local and national events. This is something of an understatement from Jerry as to be precise the partnership notched up Top 3 Nationals finishes on eight separate occasions during the period 1994 through 2002, including being crowned National Champions at Porthpean in 1997 and again at Castle Cove in 2002.

To quote Jerry directly now: “I have always enjoyed crewing Scorpions and although in the late 1980s I had a brief spell of helming, this is what I have always preferred to do, being able to concentrate on boat set up and speed; leaving the easy job of steering to another. I have sailed the class all over the country including Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and all points of the compass in England. The Scorpion is amazing to sail on all waters, from small inland ‘ponds’ to large inland reservoirs and of course sea venues. The addition of the raking rig in the 1980s also made the boat competitive in all wind strengths as well as on all waters.

As I have been involved with the class for some time (!) most people on the circuit know me, and the weekly Nationals is still an annual family holiday. I have had several positions on the Scorpion Committee over the years, and hopefully my knowledge of the class and its development will stand me in good stead as Technical Representative to help ensure its continued success”. Taking over from Chris Turner will be a tough act to follow but we’ve every confidence that Jerry will flourish in his new role.

Jerry currently sails with helm Steve Walker at Pennine Sailing Club, a partnership which started in 2007 and regularly sees them gaining Top 10 finishes at the Nationals; most recently in the stunning new Duffin wooden Scorpion 2044 ‘Tallulah’ and before that in Scorpion 2033 ‘Legal High’. ‘Tallulah’ will again feature on the Scorpion Association’s stand at Dinghy Show 2020 where we hope Jerry will also be in attendance to talk with old and new Scorpion fans alike.

Website Administration
Malcolm James Get in touch

Malcolm learned to sail in National 12s at Burton Sailing Club during the 1970s, switching to Scorpions in 1982 when the club moved from its Branston gravel pit location to the then new Foremark Reservoir south of Derby. With partner Alison he has owned several Scorpions over the years including 1834 ‘The Candyman’ and 1888 ‘Encore’. The current boats are 2001 ‘Zephyr’ and 2011 ‘Must Try Harder’ (quite appropriate), both based at South Cerney Sailing Club in Gloucestershire.

Advertising & PR
Hannah Edge Get in touch

Hannah is our graphic designer and social media lady. She helps out with the website, making graphics, publicising events, re-touching photos (PhotoShop wizard) and other arty bits for the class. Hannah first stepped into a Scorpion at the 2012 Paignton Nationals, finding that these things were far more fun (more ropes to pull!) than the team racing boats she was used to. She developed a reputation for having good boat chat and snacks, sailing at the pointy end of 1976 for quite a few helms over the years.
In 2016 she teamed up with Rachael Rhodes to form ‘Team Girl’ and the duo can be seen racing the distinctive red hulled 2023 around the Silver Scorpion opens.
Prizes Organiser
Nicola Willars Get in touch

Nicola joins us on the Committee following the 2018 Tenby Nationals to continue the sterling work done by Amy Forbes over recent years. Together with husband Jon and twins Chloe and Jake, Nicola is the driving force behind the world’s largest fleet of racing Scorpions at Notts. County SC. The family currently own three Scorpions (1866, 2002 and 2017) so there is a ready-made fleet loaded and ready to travel anywhere on the Silver Scorpion circuit!

Sponsorship & Marketing
Andrea Fellows and Catherine Maguire Get in touch

Please welcome our two latest additions to the Committee ranks. Andrea and Catherine are super-keen Scorpion sailors based on the south coats at Castle Cove and Lymington Sailing Clubs respectively. Both bring a wealth of sailing and professional experience to the team and their focus will be on gaining sponsorship for the class at the Nationals and Silver Scorpion events.

Catherine’s involvement with Scorpions goes back to the early 2000s when she commissioned Scorpion 2001 ‘Zephyr’ to be built by future husband Simon in 2005. She has sailed with many people over the years, including spells crewing for Barry ‘Baz’ Wolfenden in Scorpions 2024 ‘Big Bad Wolf’ and 2043 ‘The Real Rock n’Rolla‘ at Tenby 2018 where they won the final race. Encouraged by Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabuss with the loan of Scorpion 2033 ‘Legal High’, Catherine and Andrea teamed up at Llandudno in 2019 and quickly showed the fleet their potential with a number of impressive finishes; a final Top 10 placing only being denied by a broken main halyard when holding 4th place in Race 7 on ‘Windy Wednesday’! paired with Ellie Pegg and Steve Jarman in Scorpion 2027 ‘Cartel’ they did however secure the coveted Pro-Am trophy (pictured).

Andrea’s Scorpion career spans at least 20 years and has been shaped by sailing with the legendary John Mursell as well as other members of the vast talent pool who make up the strong fleet at Castle Cove Sailing Club, namely Dave Elston, Alex Knight, Adam Bowers, Mike Hannan and Rob and Sandra Smith, not forgetting of course husband Jock in Scorpion 2004 ‘Discreet Banana’. Their two sons are also keen Scorpion sailors so this Scorpion family are definitely here for the long-term!

Catherine and Andrea have some great ideas for helping promote the Scorpion so please get in touch to find out more about sponsorship of the Class. They clearly had a great time at the Llandudno Nationals as you can see from the photos; so much so that they have just acquired the Ovington-built Scorpion 2041 ‘Hot Fuss’ to compete at Penzance 2020. That’s what we call Sponsorship!