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Zhik 2024 February Outlet - LEADERBOARD
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DeWalt Scorpion National Championships at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club - Runners and Riders

by Alan Ritchie 25 Jul 2023 09:24 BST 6-11 August 2023
2022 Scorpion Nationals at Looe day 3 © Lee Whitehead /

Unbelievably, after years of obscure waffling about who might win the greatest family-friendly sailing holiday by the sea, I've been asked again to put my nonsense cap on and contemplate who might take home a van load of silverware from Eastbourne on Friday 11th August.

I believe the requisite nonsense required was something to do with sailing so I'll mention that, but the really important stuff is that Scorpion Nationals is a chance for us all to socialise with old chums and make new ones. The sailing is also important, and you'll not only find many top sailor types plying their trade trying to win but that competitive edge goes right through the fleet, but with a smile.

This year's fancy dress theme is boat names, so as well as speculating on this year's Runners and Riders, I've also added a little resume of names and potential ideas for their fancy dress outfits.

Sailing-wise it's the standard amazing Scorpion line up: ten races, practice race, crews race etc. Racing begins on Sunday 6th August till Thursday 10th at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club, and socialising will be anywhere and everywhere all over Eastbourne, but especially the sailing club.

We've two dinners laid on as part of the bargain entry fee and a packed social programme. At the prize-giving on Friday morning (so long as the weather gods play ball and we've got at least six of the races in!) we'll be scoffing complimentary bacon rolls... although personally I'm looking forward to the human hungry hippos on Wednesday night (no pressure Rach).

That's only because Team Denchfield's quiz is too cerebral for me - I got at least two right last year! And the socialising is not only important for the sailors but also for the SHWAGS (non-sailing partners) who are joining us at Eastbourne Swag where their activity starts with a Pimms and Ploughmans lunch on Sunday where further activities will be discussed and prioritised to ensure maximum enjoyment whatever your personal preference.

As ever the 'Pecker' will be awarded each evening, recognising outright stupidity alongside daily prize-giving, ensuring plenty of focus on not being caught being daft though there are already nominations flooding in for Pecker no 1.

Let's run through the likely top ten contenders before we get to the rest of the fleet...

Gilly and Rach, the current National Champions in a brand new boat (and there's quite a few of those about this year!) - 2057 Essence of Wetness - expect race wins galore, odds on favourite to add yet another Scorp title to their trophy cabinet. Last year Gilly took five different class nationals wins - can he continue his blistering form after Merlin week domination. Fancy Dress - what does wet smell like?

Pete and Rich - 2058 Just the Tip - so close on every occasion - if only Rach could throw in a few bad tacks and they could be sitting pretty on Friday. With some kind of Council Refuse suggestion for a boat name will we see the boys in full dirty HiViz on Thursday night?

Sam Pascoe and Sam Barker 2062 - Sam2 - Pedigree for these two knows no bounds, Contender, International 14, Musto Skiff etc etc. Winners on home water at Castle Cove last time out they've been honing their high wind on Garda but in Musto Skiffs, Eastbourne should be a breeze. Fancy Dress to include boxes from the Ovi shed one assumes - let's hope there's lots of right angles.

Alan Krailing and Si Forbes - 2051 Mrs Bears Boat - winners when Gilly didn't turn up a few years back. Multiple top Lark sailor Alan is back to go again with super crew the BEAR. Fancy Dress - do we expect to see some seriously furry costumes with pink ribbons on these two rockstars??

Matt Burge and Rob Gardner - 2053 - won the last race at the Champs last year after a week dialling the brand new boat in. Fancy dress - boat is nameless so naked?

Wadey and Ben - 2061 - Silver Mullet - Multiple Ex champ and long time Scorp fan Wadey has the same old crew but a brand new boat. With a silver mullet for a name we'll expect the barbers of Northampton to be getting no business of late.

Alex Hayman and Rob Henderson 2059 Wrecking Ball - F50 duties have allowed Alex a brief stay in the UK and he spends it sailing a Scorp. With Hendo at the front and all the Merlin / RS200 heritage to contend with we'll expect big pace. Fancy Dress as a Wrecking Ball - sounds like a standard Cava after party but what to wear...

Tom Lonsdale and Emily Cole-Evans 2054 In a Minute (luv) - He's won in albacores and few more besides but hasn't yet got the Scorp clicking - at last in the right boat with lots of string for Emily to pull. Fancy dress??

Rob Cage and John Reay 2052 - Heart of Glass - Another Race winner last year in this new boat last year - have they got the stamina to push the youngsters out of the way consistently. Fancy dress do I see a few crystal chandeliers being worn?

Dan Henderson and Amy Clay 2045 - 50 Shades of Gray - Rapid when they turn up together could easily be pushing a few established Scorp names behind them. Fancy Dress wise all eyes will be on these two with their kinky-named vessel.

AJ and Chris Eaton 2014 - Intoxicated - AJ nearly won when passenger a few years ago can Chris push his brother along similarly. Intoxicated isn't a boat name - its more of a way of life on a Thursday at a Scorp nationals.

Shane Macarthy and Shandy - 1986 Proper Hunt - These Buoys are travelling from the emerald isle so expect a big result. Shane did OK in the sunshine in Barbados with a GP14 a few years back - will Eastbourne have Rum ready - no but we do have Beer when we come ashore ! Horses and Riding crops at the Ready ?

On the Female helm front we've a selection of new winners available...

Debi (Mrs Bear) Forbes and Charlotte Graham 2022 Quackers - looking faster every time they sail - they've got the best backup in the fleet with Stevie G to rerig every day - Fancy dress including Ducks I assume.

Fiona Taylor and Gordon Taylor - 1951 - Sidewinder - Consistently trying to be first off of the beach Fiona must learn that all string in front of the thwart is the crews responsibility (sorry Gordon). Missiles on Thursday night?

Cheryl Wood and David Bennet 2056 - Delilah - New to Scorps though a claimed top RS female helm (what number though 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 00?). With David at the front the boat will get polished before and after every launch. Welsh cakes all round to go with the inevitable singing I guess.

Getting more Youth into the Scorpion family is really important, and we've got a great Youth entry this year including a few names one or two of you might recognise from 420s, 470s et al - wouldn't it be great to see some race wins going to the under 20s.....

Emily Cook and Daniel Cook - 1931 - The Business- Top boat with a great heritage and a team from the Swiss youth sailing squad - will this be the year the ladies pot goes European bound? Obviously Filofaxes and Briefcases at the ready for Thursday night.

Samantha Mason and Richard Mason - 1997 Peaches - Persuaded by the fun of Sidmouth that sailing a scorpion at Eastbourne was a worthwhile activity, if its under 20 knots Sammy will be right in the mix. Future years may require some schoolwork so get the results in now before the real pressure builds. I think the local Asda has a fresh supply of fruit available for Thursday night. Also likely to be top Junior Helm !

Amelia Biggs and Monty Hampton 1903 - Heart of Gold - Monty keeps coming back - this time in a classic .

Oli Meadowcroft and Oli Raynor 2030 - Saline Drip - Serious sailors with parents who have been a bit quick in their day....... Which of the Raynor boys will be first to beat dad..?

Joshua Cook and Aaron Adams 1878 - Highlight - Will the highlight be the partying or the racing ?

Michael and Daniel Rock 1921 - Necromancer - Dances with the dead - ooer! bit Scary.

Joe Warwicker and Lynne 1998 - Black Pearl - plenty of Pirate potential here - Joe won a race at the Endeavour a year or two back - yet more potential getting into some real racing.

Jack Lewis and Szymon Matyjaszczuk 1966 - They think it's all over (It is now). - Jack won the Bloody Mary on the wire of a 420 - this could get interesting !

And some other notable mentions...

Dave Elston and Alan Ritchie 2005 - Drama Queen - Sailing wise no chance of winning but will be smiling. Every chance that Shakespeare could be involved with a crown.

Ian Cadwallader and Ellie 2026 Sneaky Ninja - Racing seriously for 10th place. Another easy one - as long as the helm still fits in his Judogi.

Baz Wolfendon and Matt Rayner - Egyptian Surprise -- Living on board a yacht should give this helm an advantage - can he use it though? Fancy dress wise -the ship is re-named so Baz can wear his Mother in Laws swimming costume (again!) - 40 years on - its still going strong.

Simon Holden and guest star - 1936 Bottyburp the Barbarian - As ever crew selection has involved extensive research right up until the start day - who know how the sailing will go. expect to see the helm in some kind of large angry caveman outfit? With requisite whoopie cushions...??

William and Lj Winter - 1912 Pigs on the Wing - Sailing wise a possible bronze or silver fleet winner ? Vegetarians beware or is it an energy drink themed outfit.

Kev Gosling and Andy Service - 2040 Ambush - Sailing serious and re-rigging on the water normally slows down realistic chances of a top spot. Can we expect camouflage outfits - or will we not even see these chaps - could they be waiting 'round the back' to catch us all out as we stagger on from the Cava party.

John and Nicola Willars 2017 Mr Blue Sky - Sailing for the Married couples pot (we must have one of them surely?) There were 5 in ELO's original line up - could be tricky to pull off.

Chris Yates and a.n.other - 2048 Liquid Spirit - Expect to be taken high on the reaches if you try and overtake. Ghosts and Ghouls beware or is it a cheeky bottle of rum I see before me.

Barney Croft and Louise 1988 - Fac51 - First time nationals for these sailors - welcome to the fun. The night club of all nightclubs. The Hacienda the cathedral to rave culture!! looking forward to the dayglo facepaints.

So to sum up (keyboard overheating now) we've got boys, girls, fast and fun with a great week lined up - if you aren't there what have you missed - don't get FOMO - get a Scorpion.

See you there!

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