A windy week in Bridlington for the 56-strong Scorpion fleet 24/8/07

After a number of years on the South Coast, Scorpion fleet headed ‘up North’ to the enormous sandy beach, marquee village and ‘slightly colder climate’ of Bridlington – under the dinghy burgee of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club for the class national championship sponsored by Everbuild Building Products.

After almost the whole 56 boat fleet checked they could be over the line in the practice race, the real action coincided with the real wind – as Sunday dawned bright and Force 4-5. This immediately became 6 as the fleet blasted and flogged on starboard up a massive shift only to be abandoned at mark 1. After that was through, races 1 and 2 saw Speed Sail’s Tom Jeffcoate and Andy Smith show their intent with first and second as the breeze stayed well above 20 knots. Paintcraft’s Nigel Potter and Simon Hibbert led almost throughout in race 2, to add to their 6th, with PandB’s Dave Wade and Ben Rayner also in the frame with a 2 and 3.

Monday’s started controversially with an aborted lap of a long course due to another big shift. Wade and Rayner put the practice to good use and scored their first bullet in the lightest race of the week, from Jeffcoate and Smith with Potter and Hibbert in third.

It was probably fortunate that Tuesday was blown off (even the Fastnet was postponed).

On Wednesday the days breezy racing really sorted the men from boys. John Mursell and Nick Keast scored a first and fourth putting them right in the hunt, Wade and Rayner hit the top of the leaderboard with a 2 and 1, and Jeffocate and Smith posted two thirds. Tim Parsons and Sarah Maguire had a cracking day with a 2 and 4 to add other top 10s, the Masons were also consistently good and John and Joyce Henderson starred with a 5th.

Thursday was big – with an absolutely full on westerly Force 5-6. Spectacular wet close action provided a new race winner in the shape of Dave and Mike Hannan with a masterclass of heavy weather kite reaching at one point. Overall Mursell and Keast (1 and 3) and Jeffcoate and Smith (2 and 2) won the day’s honours setting up a three horse final day with Jeffcoate and Wade on equal and Mursell only 6 points adrift.

The long and short shifty breezy final races saw Matt Potter and Olly Wells show late form with a 3 and 4, and Kevin Gosling and Max Hayman had their best day including a 5th. Where the points really mattered, Mursell and Keast did all they could with two excellent wins, Jeffcoate helped the sums by scoring a discard and a 3, but having done their maths – Dave Wade and Ben Rayner’s 4th and 2nd secured their second hard fought title by just 1 point.

Overall Results
1st 2008 ‘Box ‘something” Dave Wade and Ben Rayner (Northampton) 14pts;
2nd 1936 ‘Bottyburp The Barbarian’ John Mursell and Nick Keast (Castle Cove) 15pts
3rd 1986 ‘Secret Squirrel’ Tom Jeffcoate and Andy Smith (Notts County) 15pts
4th 1962 ‘In The Bag’ Tim Parsons and Sarah Maguire (Lyme Regis) 43pts
5th 1997 ‘Peaches’ Richard Mason and Sarah Mason (Notts County) 50pts
6th 1970 ‘Custart Tart’ Kevin Gosling and Max Hayman (Sidmouth) 53pts
7th 1930 ‘Optimus Prime’ Dave Hannan and Mike Hannan (Netley) 56pts
8th 2001 ‘Zephyr’ Catherine Putt and Simon Maguire (Lymington) 61pts
9th 1998 ‘Paintcraft ‘ Nigel Potter and Simon Hibbert (Notts County) 62pts
10th 1934 ‘Moonlight’ Terry Flanaghan and James Barr (Pwlheli) 70pts
First Lady Helmsman – Catherine Putt 8th
First Lady Crew – Sarah Maguire 4th
First Junior Helmsman – Alex Hayman – 25th
Under 18 crew – Andrew Rose – 11th