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Silver Scorpion Open at Pennine Sailing Club

by Hannah Edge 12 Sep 2018 07:18 BST 8-9 September 2018
Scorpions at Pennine SC © Hannah Edge

The fleet arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed, all excited about the sprint race format. The race committee delivered nine exciting races, each with a different course!

The strong gusts and shifts made for a very interesting weekend as place changes became the norm on each lap. We were also treated to an evening of Jerry's "Northern" inspired quiz questions and a hog roast courtesy of Steve.

With nearly as many races as a nationals scheduled the report was a tall order, it looking likely that the busy Mr Massey would be coming in third for the event. The fleet took pity and took it upon themselves to write a non-conventional 'mash up' style report. Which has resulted in a very entertaining report for you all to read over your lunch breaks.

We feel what follows is an accurate (maybe not factual) portrayal of a very fun open.

Race 1: Steve & Jerry

The start line had a slight bias towards the pin end and the fleet all congregated towards that end. A clean start though, saw everyone heading off for some fun competitive sailing, giving an idea what was going to happen for rest of the day. Tight racing throughout the fleet with wind shifts that could turn things around. The 30 min race ensured the fleet finished in close quarter and allowed a quick turnaround. Plenty of place changing, with each mark being fought for. At the line 2042, Andy McKee and Charlotte Greenhaugh got the gun, with Chris Massey and Ben Thackray, Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabuss in 2nd and 3rd.

Race 2: Tim & Hannah 2023

Tim had shaken off the helming cobwebs and started his approach to the line from distance, (and I mean a distance) we hit the pin end at speed just as the gun went leaving everyone for dead. Thanking our lucky stars there was a lead boat waiting for us at the windward mark. From there it was a short tight reach to the gybe mark and then a run.

Feeling pretty on top of life we went low to the mark, while everyone else went high. Things got tricky at the gybe mark as Mckee, Massey & Steve all piled in with speed.

But we weren't ready to give up our lead boat position just yet and nipped around (be it slowly) to maintain the lead for another lap. Feeling quietly confident that "we had this" we held on to another beat...

...It was then we noticed something approaching on the horizon, as it got closer, its trotters lightly skimmed the reservoir surface and we soon realised it was tonights hog roast pig flying in. But it wasn't to be...

We hand break turned at the windward mark and without thinking to hard hoisted the kite on too tight a reach, meaning that Mckee, Massey & Steve all two sailed past as we fought to get in down before the gybe mark.

So, we decided to followed them round the rest of the course, looking forward to the hog roast later on. Andy McKee and Charlotte Greenhaugh got another bullet, with Chris Massey and Ben Thackray, Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabuss in 2nd and 3rd.

Race 3: Team Willars 2017

You will have already have read about races one and two, race three was when the proverbial got real!

The course was set and all boats got away clean, 2017 showed great pace off the line McKee, Massey, Hartley and Walker looked nervous... can't remember who arrived at the windward mark first but 2017 was in the pack, followed closely by Snutch and Willars Jnr.

The usual suspects out front approached the leeward mark, 2037 was that excited to be in the mix they decided to tie a knot in their spinnaker halyard and couldn't drop. The chasing pack screamed by.

Heading back up the beat for the 2nd time, 2017 got to the windward mark in 6th at this time McKee was rounding Mark A and had a sly glance over his shoulder, noticing 2017 moving fast AND the arrival of the Hog Roast Van the pressure was mounting. With his stomach rumbling McKee's concentration slipped and he went for a dip... McKee could only watch on as 2017 screamed by showing awesome boat speed.

Again the Usual Suspects were at the front, but rumours of the "Forbe's Witchcraft Tuning Session" at Notts were starting to become the stuff of folklore. As 2017 had now over taken (all be it a capsized) McKee (but we'd have defo caught him anyway *haha*)

The final front positions in R3 were Walker 1st, Massey 2nd, Hartley 3rd, Jones jnr 4th, WILLARS 5TH!!!!! And McKee battled back through to fleet to finish 6th

For those interested, Willars Snr will be running a "Capsize Retrieval Course" at Notts in the near future. He is one of the most experienced swimmers in the fleet, and always likes to test the water temperature and clarity before the beginning of each Silver Scorpion event.

Race 4: Chris & Ben 2026

I'll be honest I don't really know what went on. That's because the racing was so intense I didn't have time to take in what everyone else was doing. Our start was compromised by a keen Mr. and Mrs. Willars 2017, but that just gave us an opportunity to practice our overtaking moves. By the end of the first lap 4 boats were powering towards that leeward mark fighting for 1st. McKee/Greenhalgh, Walker/Hannabus, Hartley/Edge and us, Massey/Thackray. There was no room to rest and 1st place was shared out between the 4 of throughout the race. Ultimately McKee/Greenhalgh kept their noses ahead and we (Massey/Thackray) took 2nd despite our poor start. Walker/Hannabus were next closely followed by Hartley/Edge. Awesome high performance racing, everything this class is about!

Race 5: Chloe & John 2002

I'm sure that by now you've read all of the other reports, but if I'm being honest, I don't remember a whole heap of race 5, at this point in the day I was dreaming about what I would eat once I'd gotten off the water. I do remember the start though, (I think...).

We had a not so perfect start, stuck behind most of the racers who had actually started when the horn sounded so as a desperate attempt to push back into the fleet, we followed Tim and Hannah and tacked early on, not following the rest of the fleet who had decided to continue. In 2002 we can't take much credit for the awesome beat we had as most of the time we followed Tim and Hannah all the way up to the windward mark. We were slightly terrified of the starboard rounding, but had had a little experience in the race prior so kind of knew what we were doing (we didn't at all, but let's pretend we did).

I'm not sure who rounded the mark where, as I was too overwhelmed with rounding the mark 5th!!! I obviously wasn't paying attention to the race as I was watching 2017 who bit the dust (or the tea) deciding to check the hull of their boat to make sure it was clean enough to continue. *HAHA!!!*

The spinnaker legs were also quite eventful in our boat as we discovered that the spinnaker has a mind of its own so, instead of just looking out for the boats behind, I was looking to see if I would get 'kebabbed' in the head with the twin poles that just decided to come in of their own accord...

By the end of the race, it was evident that Andy and Charlotte had dried off his sails from race 3, finishing 2nd, followed by the dream team themselves (Tim and Hannah) who (much like shepherds) guided us all around the race. Massey and Thackray finished 4th followed by 2002 Chloe and John in 5th which leaves Steve and Jerry 'The Oracle' Hannabuss taking 1st place!!!

Race 6: Andy & Charlotte 2042

With a left hand bend up the first beat it was key to get on to port early off the line so despite some line bias to the pin end it was those from the committee boat end that lead at the first mark.

Andy & Charlotte rounded first from Chris & Ben with Tim & Hannah and Steve & Jerry close behind. Andy & Charlotte pulled out a lead on the first set of downwind legs which they held to the finish. The three boats behind them enjoyed a close encounter with the very rare humpback pennine dolphin up the last beat and enjoyed plenty of close battles with multiple place changes each lap over a course that explored all the lake.

After 3 laps Chris & Ben took 2nd, Tim & Hannah 3rd and Steve & Jerry 4th.

Race 7: Ann & Paul 1979

A very port bias on the start line saw 2026 OCS and 2033 not even able to cross the line on starboard causing them to gybe under the fleet and set off on port.

1947 had a great first beat seeing them almost fetch the windward mark and rounded in first place, closely followed by 2033 despite their start. 1979 had their best start of the weekend and a good beat saw them round in third with 2042 ducking behind on port.

The course was set with four down wind reaches and gybes, although the third reach was a very tight leg for kite flying. At the third gybe 1947 decided to fill the boat with water allowing 1979 and 2042 to shoot past.

At the leeward mark 2042 ran over their kite and parked on the mark. Andy obviously decided that Charlotte's big boat experience could be used and sent her to tidy things up at the bow. This let 1979 through into second!

The rest of the race saw 2033 slowly extend their lead while 1979 left 2042 to fight through the pack. Finding one reach too tight to fly the kite, 1979 looked behind them to see 2042 taking a chance to keep theirs up. This paid off and they sneaked past 1979 into second place with only two legs to go.

Crossing the finish line clear ahead was 2033, second was 2042 with 1979 in 3rd close on their heels followed by 2026 who had managed 4th despite being OCS at the start.

Race 8: Chris & Emma 1857

All credit to Chris & Emma, who retired from this race, but didn't shirk their race report duty. In fact, watching from the shore is a pretty perfect place to report from!

The strong port bias line was set again by our race officer, just as the wind began to pick up again. Andy Mckee looped around the start mark as he was just ahead of the timer and as the gun sounded, 2033 were shouted as being over the line to. The rest of the fleet carried on up the beat too the new windward mark "W"

As the race progressed we could see huge shifts coming in from all sorts of funny angles. Rich Jones & Phil Roberts 1947 took advantage to lead around the windward mark, closely followed by Carl & Shelly Jones 2029.

The race settled down but the shifts on the beat and the long dead run allowed Mckee, Massey & Steve to work their way through the pack to take first, second and third.

Race 9: Rich & Phil

A complete 40 minute blur to the boys in 1947.

As always the fleet enjoy travelling to Pennine, for its friendly welcome, excellent sailing and... that bar! Next event is Notts County Inlands 13th – 14th October.

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