Filey Regatta

The National Scorpion Association organises racing events and events to promote the class every year. The Silver Scorpion Travellers' series of Open Meetings sponsored by CraftInsure are spread over the season and over the country. The annual highlight is the National Championships, which were hosted in 2023 by Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club in Sussex. The 2024 Championships is at Castle Cove SC in Weymouth.

Filey Regatta Report
20/21 May 2023

The sun was out and the wind was better than some had predicted as the fleet set up their boats for the relaxed 1.30 start time - meaning that there was plenty of chance to soak up some sun before racing began! Team Notts county had travelled in force with an armada of 11 boats - winning the prize for biggest attendance by a club. Of these 6 were scorps and they were joined by Jerry Hannibus in Tallulah with Greame Bristow stepping in to steer and Malcom and Alison who'd made the big trip up from Chew Valley with Zephyr.

Race 1

The first race of the regatta started with a gentle North easterly breeze with the windward mark towards the cliffs so they fleet knew it would be a shifty day. The fleet split up the first with Chris Martin and John Tailby going right to get into the breeze and rounded the windward mark in first just in front of Graeme Bristow and Jerry Hannibus who had gone left to get out of the tide, and the chasing pack wasn't far behind! This was followed by a tight reach under the cliffs to mark 2 of the trapezoid and then a run down to mark 3 where Chris and John still just had their noses in front. There was then a split up the final beat with Greame and Jerry going hard left up by the town and Chris and John going down the middle, the left payed and Greame and Jerry took the lead and held it down the final run and reach to the finish with Chris and John coming in 2nd. In 3rd was Paul McHenry and crew John Harlow showing great speed in their new winder "No F in bags", just behind were team Willars in 2017 and next was Malcolm James sailing with wife Alison (she even said afterwards he hadn't put her off!) In 6th was Nick Orgles and Jo Riddel sailing 1975 "fifi la prune" with fifi making this her first holiday away from notts in years! In 7th was Notts pairing Dave Snutch and Kev Nickols and in 8th was new combo Phill Dyne with crew Bev Law - also from Notts county.

Race 2

By the second race the wind was beginning to drop, and it soon became apparent that those who chose the right end of the line were looking at a big gains.
Bristow and Hannibus hit the windward mark first, and held their position throughout the race, with 1969 Martin & Tailby, in hot pursuit.
Team Willars recovered from a poor start and managed to battle their way to third. McEnery and Harlow in their new ship “There’s No F In Bags” finished in 4th closely followed by Team James. Special mention goes to 1983 who finished 6th with Law showing good spinnaker skills for her first time on the sea.

Sadly, race 3 was postponed to Sunday as the wind dropped further and the tide began to build, so the fleet returned to the beach and a well deserved early beer.

Race 3

The first race on Sunday got underway after a short delay to allow all competitors to arrive at the  start area. Graeme and Jerry made a determined effort to start at the pin end closely followed by Dave and Kev. Graeme  tacked off almost immediately and cleared the fleet on port, Dave decided to stand on until everyone else had gone which appeared a wise decision as by the time the fleet arrived at the first mark it was only Graeme and Jerry who were marginally in front. Paul and John rounded third followed closely followed by Jon and Nic. Somewhere in amongst us was a pesky RS200 who ended up doing rather well in the medium fleet, but no one cares.

The first reach to the outer course  loop was a tad tight which favoured the ILCAs et al so it took longer than usual to shake them off but by the end of proceedings they were all in their rightful place.

Rounding mark 2 Graeme and Jerry had pulled out a decent lead but Dave in 2nd had the close attention of two more Scorpions and a menagerie of ILCAs and Supernovas.

2049 chose left and gybed out into clear air and although they did actually make it to the leeward mark still in 2nd it was Jon and Nic who made a better rounding and moved into 2nd place.

Graeme and Jerry had chosen an inshore course and consolidated their lead mean while 2049 2055 and 2017 engaged in a tacking battle on the second beat. It was 2049 who had got her nose in front by the second windward mark and with 1st place wrapped up all bar a dismasting 2nd place was theirs to lose!

Again the run was a series of tactical gybed in the light and shifty wind.

At some point 1969 with Chris and John also entered into the mix (after having a dreadful start which involved some ILCAs who need to go to a rules evening) and needed keeping an eye on .

At the final leeward mark 2049 looked to be nailed on for 2nd but Jon and Nic had other ideas with another excellent rounding and in the reach to the line just managed to shade the fight by a couple of seconds.

In 4th place were Chris and John then Paul and John close behind.

Both Jerry and JT had given a significant amount of pre race tuning advice to Dave and Kev for which they were most grateful. JT on the other hand who had had to spend most of the race staring at Daves transom in the distance was heard to say “that's the last time you get tuning advice from me!!”

Race 4

With the Sunday tide about to turn this proved to be the last race of the 2023 Regatta. The Scorpions were again dominant on the start line with 2001 Zephyr holding the starboard tack a long way inshore whilst most of the fleet tacked out to sea. 2001 eventually tacked onto the port layline and rounded the windward mark well ahead of 2044 and 1969. Downwind the chasing pack eroded some of Zephyr's lead, with 2044 making major gains up the second beat. 2044 followed by 1969 gybed soon after rounding with 2001 again preferring to stay inshore but which this time lost her ground. 2044 gybed just ahead at the leeward mark to take the win, with 2001 second, 1969 third and the ever consistent 2017 in 4th place.

Unfortunately for 2001 her pre-start duel with 2055 resulted in both boats being disqualified UFD. All competitors now raced ashore to get derigged, packed and off the beach ahead of the incoming tide!


Extract from Mark Jardine’s interview with Tom Gillard re his (together variously with Rachel Gray & Andy Thompson) remarkable success in multi-classes this year …

"A good time off the water is just as important as the sailing, so I asked Tom which class, in his opinion, has the best social activities:

I would say the Scorpion. It's a chilled-out vibe, a nice bunch of people, with newcomers to the fleet alongside old hands, and everybody's very open about what they do to make the boat go fast. It's a real community. The class is going from strength to strength; whether you've got a wooden boat or a fibreglass boat, there's help everywhere, and no-one feels at a disadvantage."

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