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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Silver Scorpion Trophy Round 2 at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club

by Rachael Rhodes 30 Jun 09:36 BST 26-27 June 2021

On the 26th June the Scorpion class descended on Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club for the second round of the Silver Scorpion trophy. With the fleet arriving spritely on Saturday, we were greeted with a dying breeze and an eager and very professional race officer, which after a one-hour postponement sent the signal for us to launch and tackle the Eastbourne tides.

Unfortunately, after two hours of tantalising close to raceable wind the decision was made to abandon for the day and regroup on Sunday morning. With 4 races planned for Sunday it was a perfect opportunity to drive home and rest ready for a big day, but most of the fleet decided to stay for what was a fantastic meal put on by the friendly club members and have a couple of beverages. Later that night when the social had finished with an empty tequila bottle, we called it a day happy that our preparation for Sunday was adequate.

Sunday morning arrived quicker than expected and the whole fleet was excited to be facing a full day of races with good breeze. With a short sail out to the start area and possibly the best beach team in the country to get us on the way off the shingle beach, we headed out to the race area.

Race 1 started promptly at 10;35 and the fleet headed off upwind into the easterly 15 knot breeze. With the tide under us with a port bias line, the fleet was split. After the left looking to pay for the first part of the beat, the second half was dominated by the boats on the right making the most of the tide. With Sam Watson and Andy "Shandy" Thompson rounding with a couple of boat length lead from the rest of the fleet, that quickly shuffled round behind them in chase. After an enjoyable reach where a couple of boats capitalised on the helpful tide under them, going low on the fleet and gaining a few spots, the rest remained largely unchanged as we headed down the coast onto the run. The fleet headed for shore to get out of the tide, with Gillard ringing the bell pretty much on the shore line..... which turned out to be a great move. Racheal Rhodes (soon to be Gray) working her magic on the waves and with the teamwork of them both, they soon caught right up to Sam and Shandy putting the two boats out front with a hefty lead. Gillard / Rhodes soon got into the lead where they would stay for the rest of the race. At the finish Gillard / Rhodes crossed first followed by Sam and Shandy, (who were unfortunately OCS) third was Tom Jeffcoate followed by Pete Gray and King Pep.

Race 2 started with many more boats at the starboard end having learnt the lessons from the first race. With the first quarter of the beat all about finding a clear lane, spotting the breeze (and sailing to the starboard lay line) with the top three rounding the windward mark, they couldn't be separated by a cocks nads. The fleet zoomed off down the reach and onto the run where the usual arms race for speed took place. After borrowing Toms mums' boat, we were pleasantly surprised not to be completely destroyed on the run. (Even if we didn't have a compass) However by the end of the trapezoid it was Gillard that rounded the bottom mark first where he would stay for the rest of the race.

After a very short turnaround we were ready for race 3. It was close to high tide and the water had defiantly started doing some interesting things. The fleet was spread over the line more evenly, and the race was got under way. With Tom Jeffcoate now needing a compass rather than a lay line call things were becoming trickier. With me resorting to shouting completely random compass headings for encouragement, He managed to drag us to the windward mark in a good position. The rest of the usual suspects arrived at the windward mark very close together. After the usual reshuffle on the run the race took a similar shape to the second with Gillard out in front followed by King Pepperdine and Peter Grey.

Race 4 saw a fully turned tide and a lighter wind meaning for a very different race. Still with a port bias line the pin end was busy as the race was got under way with the fleet fighting the tide. The sea state had also taken on some sort of horror like chop, making the mile-long beat feel a little bit of a slog. After the competitive as ever fleet arrived at the windward mark the tide caught a few teams out with a few of the leaders not making the mark and having to gybe out! The usual Gillard/Rhodes downwind afterburners were ignited as they launched downwind like a robber's dog. They were not seen again and even now I am not sure they are not lost in Brighton somewhere! With Gray/Pepperdine in a solid second the positions remained pretty static in the top five with a precession like final lap of the race.

With Gillard / Rhodes taking a superb 4 wins out of 4 races they were clear winners with a close battle for the rest of the top 5 places.

The Eastbourne club members were so friendly and put on a great event for all the fleet. Thanks to all that helped form the beach team to the bar and galley guys that helped make our weekend one to remember. A special thanks to the race officer and his team that put on a faultless Sunday of races that the whole fleet enjoyed.

The next Silver Scorpion event is on the 3rd & 4th July at Castle Cove. We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Overall Results:

Silver Scorpion Trophy Round 2 at Eastbourne - photo © ESSC

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