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Scorpion Open at Sidmouth Sailing Club

by John Tailby 21 Jun 2023 05:35 BST 17-18 June 2023
Scorpion Open at Sidmouth Sailing Club © Richard Gatehouse

After the success of last year's event, Scorpions descended on Sidmouth from all over the country to join the strong home fleet. Word had clearly got around about how good the event was last year as a pod of dolphins appeared to spectate the action on both days.

The fleet began rigging on Saturday for the relaxed 12.25 start time - although no one was holding their breath about starting then due to a distinct lack of wind. AP went up mid morning and lots of last minute tuning and rigging upgrades went on to pass the time. It was great to see some well known boats reappearing to make their open meeting debuts under knew ownership. James the race officer had been out on the committee boat patiently waiting for wind and by mid afternoon deemed the wind sufficient to race in.

AP was dropped and the fleet headed out into a gentle but patchy breeze - which was sure to lead to some good tactical racing. The fleet got away cleanly on their first start on the 3 lap triangle sausage course. It was all about staying in pressure and Tom and Rachael clearly did this the best as they rounded the windward mark in first, Pete and Rich rounded in 2nd closely followed by Chris and John in 3rd. The rest of the fleet closely followed with AJ and Chris leading the charge.

As the race went on Tom and Rach solidified their lead and Pete and Rich solidified their 2nd. The most exciting part of the race was the appearance of dolphins mid way through, with Alan loudly shouting "DOLPHINS!" to alert the fleet - however Alan shouting seemed like nothing out of the ordinary so we missed them in 1969. In a close battle for 3rd AJ and Chris make big gains on Chris and John down the last downwind legs but they managed to just put up a good enough defence to hold onto the 3rd podium spot.

Just behind was Sammy helming for her dad who sailed an awesome race to come in 5th. Shandy, this time with Tom Jeffcoate in the back, came in next followed by Tom and Emily and then Jake and Alison sailing 1052 - not bad for a boat over 50 years old! Some close battles for position in the rest of the fleet followed with everyone keeping their kites up to speed up the sail in with everyone rushing in for the promised lasagne.

The club volunteers put in an impressive shift to serve a delicious 3 course meal which the whole fleet thoroughly enjoyed. After this there was lots of catching up over a beer. By this time only the hard core of the fleet were left as the jenga and rum shots came out... enough said there but there were certainly some foggy heads the following morning.

There was a scheduled launch time of 9.15 so some of the fleet were up bright and early raring to go - and others shuffled into the dinghy park at about 9am, with bacon cobs and tea from the galley helping cure the hangovers. Day 2 followed much the same pattern as the first with everyone waiting for the wind forecast to fill in in the afternoon - in the mean time SUPing went on as did some spreader adjustment.

At 12.45 the race officer was happy with conditions and launched the fleet hoping to get a race in before the wind dropped for the day. This time the fleet weren't so well behaved with harsher penalties being applied to try to keep the fleet behind the line. On the 3rd time of asking (and under a black flag) the fleet finally got away cleanly with a heavy pin end bias, Tom and rach nailed the pin, with Chris and John next in the queue, and next down was Pete and Rich. Somehow AJ and Chris managed to cross the line on port and headed right. Tom and Rachael rounded the windward first, followed by AJ and Chris who worked the right side of the beat to round 2nd followed by Pete and Rich.

The next mob to round included Tom and Emily, Chris and John and Janet and Alan who battled throughout the race for 4th 5th and 6th. Ed and Tony and Jake and Alison lead the chasing fleet round the windward mark. As the race developed Tom and Rach extended their lead, Pete and Rich got through AJ and Chris to take 2nd and the dolphins appeared once again to swim with the fleet down the run.

Tom and Emily closed the gap on AJ and Chris but didn't do quite enough to take the 3rd podium spot. Alan and Janet got through Chris and John up the last beat to take 5th. Behind was a mass brawl down the final reach with Ed and Tony coming out tops followed by Sammy and Boggy, then James and Ed, then Malcolm and Alison, then Charlie and Andy, then Jake an Alison, with all these boats crossing the line in what can't have been more than a 20 second time period. Sadly that was all we had time for so the fleet came ashore to get packed up.

The chocolates went to:

First junior - Sammy Mason
3rd overall- AJ and Chris Eaton
2nd overall - Pete Gray and Rich Pepperdine
1st overall - Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray

A big thanks to the race team, galley staff and everyone else at Sidmouth SC that made the event possible. Now eyes onto the next event which is Castle Cove on the 8th and 9th July!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2Pts
1st2057Tom GillardRach Gray112
2nd2058Pete GrayRich Pepperdine224
3rd2014AJ EatonChris Eaton437
4th1969Chris MartinJohn Tailby369
5th2054Tom LonsdaleEmily Cole‑Evans7411
6th1997Samantha MasonRichard Mason5813
7th2005Janet RitchieAlan Ritchie12517
8th2020James SalterEd Steele10919
9th2001Malcolm JamesAlison James91019
10th1052Jake WillarsAlison Sheldrick81220
11th1970Edward ParsonsTony Hanlon14721
12th2021Charlie PickeringAndy Hayman111122
13th1986Tom JeffcoateAndy Thomposon6DNC28
14th1988Barney CroftLouise Corfield151429
15th1919Richard GatehouseLauren Wills161531
16th1952Ady MoretonSteve Beard171633
17th1993Miles HapgoodSteve SmithDNC1335
18th1942Simon PriceEmma MacFadyen13DNC35
19th2011John CooperAnesta Cooper181735
20th2017Jon WillarsChloe WillarsDNCDNC44
20th2009Neil PetersJess PlailDNCDNC44

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