Sidmouth Silver Scorpion Open 2023

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.

Sidmouth SC Silver Scorpion Open Report
17/18 June 2023

After the success of last year's event scorpions decended 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 Jeffercote 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. Days 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 braul 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 over all - 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.


Scorpions are a great class for young sailors

Scorpion 1052 "Shandy"

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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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