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Scorpion Inland Championship in association with Craftinsure at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by John Tailby 28 Sep 2023 01:53 PDT

It would seem that I have once again landed myself the role of report writer (you'll all be sick of hearing from me this year) - we really need to sort ourselves out and start winning to avoid this...

Anyway, time to stop moaning and get on with it: The Scorpion and Lark fleets arrived at a sunny Draycote for both fleet's inland championships. The forecast was looking suspiciously light however the breeze on the water was painting a more positive picture. The racing began on time with a strong committee boat end bias, the last event was the nationals which felt like a while ago so the Scorps were all raring to get racing again - so all went early and a general recall was required.

The race officer wasn't having any more of this rubbish so put-up the U flag from then on making the first start the first and only recall of the weekend. Everyone managed to stay behind the line on the second time of asking so the fleet got away cleanly, the wind was still quite light with crews having to hop from being in the middle to 'one cheek on the side' in the patchy and shifty breeze.

I can't really remember what paid up the first beat, other than that wasn't what we did. The downwind legs were all a matter of staying in the breeze with to gybe or not to gybe being the biggest question at the top of the runs. These shifty and patchy conditions continued throughout the race with Pete & Rich making the best of the conditions to take the win.

Local sailors Millie & Szymon in 1929 had a great race to come in second. Rach was this time sailing with Ollie Meadowcroft (Gilly was busy winning the Fireball Europeans with Shandy - poor excuse if you ask me) and successfully babysat him to come home in third.

Race 2 saw a close battle between Ollie & Rach and Pete & Rich for the top two spots - until the final lap (or was it???) when instead of reaching across to the finish Pete & Rich decided to start beating again and do another lap, possibly to go and offer the Larks some company? Laurence & Ellie and Chris & myself thought, "well we'll take that then," and came in second and third respectively.

Meanwhile in the rest of the fleet William & Caroline were the first victims of the U flag and Stick & Jess learnt the hard way that some knotted dyneema isn't the best way to hold your mast up and had to get the dreaded tow of shame to go and sort themselves out.

Race 3 saw an increase in wind and rake started to go on (well it did in our boat anyway - wouldn't want to work too hard). The fleet got away cleanly, and it was another race of big gains and big losses in the challenging conditions. At least in this race, there was at times enough wind to heat it up down the runs to add to the fun (and tactical challenge).

By this time Ollie & Rach were getting into their stride and took another bullet. In second was 5o5 sailor Andy Smith who'd been recruited by Ben Rayner to sail with him in 2061. Graeme & Chris sailed an excellent race in 1880 to complete the podium (a nice demonstration that you don't need a new boat to get top results!).

Once ashore there was the usual post-race debrief analysis (with beer in hand) and repair sessions - most notably the remasting of Perdita. Most of the fleet then descended on the local pub 'The Green Man' for a combined social with the Larks (thanks to Nigel from the Larks for organizing!) - with the exception of Phill & Cillian who had booked accommodation at 'The Green Man' but not THE 'The Green Man'. Who knew that there were two?

The second day dawned on what appeared to be underwhelmingly sedate conditions (it didn't look like the 15 gusting 30 that we'd been forecast). The biggest challenge was getting out of the sheltered water by the bank (yes Yatsey we all saw you going backwards), but once out it was definitely enough with a fast run down to the start.

Boats raked and then it was time for the start of race 4, it was tight racing all the way round as the wind gradually built until midway through the race there was enough wind to send it down the runs and those who got it right made big gains. Ollie & Rach led from the first mark and were never seen again, there was a very tight two-sail drag race to the finish in which Chris & myself just managed to nose in front of Andy & Ben (only to find out that they'd been U flagged anyway so all that effort was for nothing) but this was good news for Pete & Rich who took third.

Race 5 got away cleanly (fortunately for us the race officer disagreed with Nick on the pin end as to whether we were OCS or not - I reckon it was the time the sound took to reach the pin that made the difference...).

The breeze really built in this race, there were white horses and all the flatteners and rake went on (except for Nigel's, which Jake's thighs weren't pleased about - but you don't argue with the boss). After some hard, and times patchy, beats and some epic downwind sending action it was once again Ollie & Rach that took the win, Pete & Rich came second - despite some more of Pete's questionable navigation at the leeward gate, and Chris & myself came in third.

The last (and as it would turn out the wettest) race of the day got under way with the fleet once again behaving itself and staying behind the line. On the first downwind leg Laurence & Ellie capisized to windward out of the gybe - and as this was now likely to be their discard they sailed in to give their legs a rest as the rest of the fleet continued to slog it out in the gusty conditions.

On the second downwind leg Chris & myself didn't stick the gybe and went for a swim - allowing Nigel & Jake in the newly twin-poled 1958 (who said you can't have twins on a bag boat?) to come through.

Most of the carnage however happened down the last run with all of the top three going for a swim and prompting me to suggest being conservative - I've never suggested this before (maybe I'm getting old?).

Pete & Rich managed to win the recovery race against Ollie & Rach and went on to take line honours. There was a tense race behind in which Chris & myself and then Graeme & Chris just managed to get past Andy & Ben after their swim, who in turn just held off Nigel & Jake to the line.

The award for most capsizes went to Phill & Jo in 1902 with five - who to their credit still went on to finish the race.

And onto the chocolates... first junior was Cillian Dyne (Notts County) who put in a great performance crewing for Al Sim, and at one point he was even spotted hiking! (This is a very rare event for Cillian - can tell he's usually a helm). First in the silver fleet was Malcolm James (Chew Valley) & Josh Oates (Bartley) who really pushed towards the top five in a few races. In third overall was Chris Martin (Midland) & me (Notts County) sailing 1969. Second was Pete Gray & Rich Pepperdine (both Staunton Harold) sailing 2058 and in first was Ollie Meadowcroft & Rachael Gray (Staunton Harold) in 2057 who put in an awesome performance in what was only Ollie's second Scorpion event.

A big thank you to Draycote Water Sailing Club for an awesome weekend and also a massive thank you to CraftInsure for their continued support in sponsoring the Silver Scorpion circuit.

I hope to see you all at the 'End of Seasons' at Staunton Harold on 21st/22nd October!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2057Oli MeadowcroftRach GrayStaunton Harold‑3111126
2nd2058Peter GreyRichard PeperdineStaunton Harold1‑15432111
3rd1969Chris MartinJohn TailbyMidland sc‑83623317
4th2061Andy SmithBen RaynerYorkshire Dales SC742(UFD)4522
5th1880Graeme BristowChris MuxworthyLeigh and Lowton SC463‑86423
6th2026Lawrence CreaserEllie DevereuxDraycote52845(DNC)24
7th1929Millie IrishSzymon MatyjaszczukDraycote Water SC295‑1510733
8th1958   1157‑127636
9th01WMalcolm JamesJosh OatesChew Valley Lake SC68‑1068937
10th1951Fiona TaylorGordon TaylorLymington Town‑1079591040
11th2048Chris YatesDave BarkerDraycote‑1514119111156
12th2017Jon WillarsNicola WillarsNCSC‑1713131112857
13th1970Edward ParsonsTony HanlonEsmworth Sailing Club‑14111213131261
14th2019Al SimCillian DyneSCSC9101416‑181463
15th1902Phillip DyneJo RiddellNCSC1212151414‑1667
16th2009Neil PetersJess PlailEastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club16(RET)DNC10151578
17th1052Tom DanielAlison SheldrickHertford County Yacht Club(DNC)DNCDNC7161380
18th1992William PinnockCaroline MonkGlossop13(UFD)161717DNC85
19th1997Samantha MasonRichard MasonNCSC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC110
19th2055Paul McHenryJohn HarlowNotts County(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC110
19th2018Nigel PotterJake WillarsNotts(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC110

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