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Gul Scorpion Nationals 2019 - Runners and Riders

by Alan Ritchie 20 Jul 2019 16:24 BST 27 July - 3 August 2019
Gul Scorpion Nationals at Tenby day 4 © Scorpion Class

Welcome to the annual warm up story for the 2019 Gul Scorpion nationals. With ten races planned, a practice race and a packed entertainment schedule including a Chairman's Raffle (apparently you can win a chairman ?), Games night and the famous Denchfield Quiz (physics IS fun!).

There's also the obligatory fancy dress night on Thursday with the Fancy Dress theme being a big L. As ever it will be an amazing event with Llandudno 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 SWHAGs (Scorpion wives, husbands and groupies) will commence their week with the bring and share lunch on Sunday - they'll be hoping the sailing goes on a while (practice race and two real ones) 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 year's Scorp nationals contenders. Apologies for those missed out, but I know you'll all be there come the Thursday night - we're hoping to have got all the sailing out of the way by then so one or two of the normally reserved folks can let their hair down properly.

Andy McKee and Steve Graham - 2:1 Good each way

After a lacklustre 2018 when they re-rigged the back half of the fleet Andy and Steve are back and looking good, fast in the warm up event at Weymouth last weekend. A pair of lightweights in the bar, would alcohol improve their performance?

Chris Turner and Oli Fellows - 3:1 don't bet against them

Chris has bagged back a boat he sold last year! Rumours of pole changes and holes being drilled in the deck are probably unfounded but often seen at the front end of the Flying 15 world championship boat Chris is known for optimising systems to suit himself. If Oli can afford some footwear by the champs he may be able to help launch the boat. No rumour that the rum n reggae night (it's a secret really) was Chris' idea though he will be more than happy with a glass or two of the brown stuff to keep him warm.

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

With Tom now living afloat and Tim embracing fatherhood has the prospect of a win in Wales been ruined by Tim's sleepless nights? Oh so close for a while is this the year Tom can get Tim on the top step?

? and Simon Forbes - Bets not taken till first race

After last year's runaway success, Simon's previous helm has refused to cut the weeds around 2034 and she still sits in the vegetation at Staunton Harold. Rumours that Forbes has got Sir B on standby are proving groundless, but if 2034 does turn up then Simon's undoubted crew skill will turn even a club Laser sailor into a rock star. Distractions away from Scorpions hanging around Lake Ullswater may have earned him a night in a posh hotel, but the Scorpion is where the real action is and Forbes is just looking for the magic nut on the tiller.

Pete Gray and Richard Pepperdine - 3:1 good every way!

Regular second place finishers, can the boys get the breaks this year? With Pepsi now a married man and after last year's nationals break, the boys are keen to get the job done. Steady consumption every night though vomit splashes on opponents covers are not unknown.

Tom Gillard and Rachel Rhodes - 3:1 - I wouldn't bet against them

Is Tom still mad after losing his Streaker title, is Rachel still mad? Tom is back to the Scorp after a few years to reclaim the title he last won with a gorilla at the front of the boat. With Rachel having helmed a Scorp for the last few years, the crews' race should be an easy win, although has anyone ever seen Gilly crew?

Steve Walker and Jerry Hannabus - 10:1 Not in the knacker's yard yet

Another new boat for the old timers has got more adjustments than Jerry's hiking handles, mind you it hasn't yet proved its worth. Will they regret lending their old stead to another driver? Tallulah is a lady you just can't hold down - can Steve 'n Jerry? Steady speed from the veteran top runners, expect to see the over 100 trophy in its usual location.

No Shows:

Barry Wolfenden - Currently campaigning around French shores in his oversized Scorpion, there are rumours that Brexit is on hold to allow Linda to catch fish from the back in territorial waters.

Peter Rose - Moved to Wales but hasn't been seen since - has the magic of Tenby held its spell too long?

John Mursell - Planning a big comeback in Penzance next year. Pretty sure he enjoyed a recent open so who knows, he may make a guest appearance this year?

Female Helm:

With previous winners Catherine Maguire and Elly Pegg looking to wrestle back the pot from Janet Ritchie, both have new (to them) steeds to compete in. Crew selection has been varied, but Catherine has gone for a light wind dream. Elly is selecting on the first day depending on weather!

Silver Fleet / Bronze Fleet:

No-one really knows why some of the silver fleet are in there as clearly they are gold standard (as all Scorpion sailors are) however we can be sure that battles will be raging throughout the fleet all week. We're all winners if we sail a Scorpion.

With spaces still available on the camping field any wannabe nationals entrants need to get their names in quickly to join in the fun. Find out more at

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