Notts County Scorpion Open 2024

 The early May bank holiday weekend saw a good turnout at the Notts County Sailing Club Scorpion Open, with 26 entries. Sailors travelled from as far afield as Yorkshire, Chew Valley, Lymington, Emsworth and Wales. 

Saturday saw light to moderate wind with some planning reaches and that rare commodity sunshine. The evening entertainment kept all happy with a hog roast and various games and a well stocked bar. Sunday was a flat calm and after a vote was abandoned and prizegiving took place late morning. 

It was great to see so many junior Notts County sailors out 15 year old Sammy Mason crewed by her mum Sarah was 10th and 13 year old Cillian Dyne and Josh White were 15th in a very competitive fleet, Cillian beating his dad by 2 places. 

Report from Ben Rayner:

Saturday dawned at Notts County Sailing Club for the start of the Scorpion Open, part of the Silver Scorpion Travellers Series. With 26 competing boats, the usual Scorpion pre-start stories started to unfurl upon arrival, all worthy of Pecker nominations. Competitors forgetting rudders and having to return home to collect, some reading the wrong NOR and thinking the start time was an hour earlier than the scheduled midday start having dragged their helm from the south coast at a very early hour. 

With it having been about 8 years since I last sailed at Notts County, I consulted with local legend and sponsor of the event, Nigel Potter from Paintcraft as to the buoy placement – very simple he said, numbered 1 – 10 in a clockwise direction. This was duly logged to memory as we went out to the start with a pleasant breeze and sunny conditions, but unsure how many races we were in for as the NOR allowed for ‘an indefinite number’ of races. It was very clear on the start time however!

Sailing to the start of R1 proved to be interesting for Tom Gillard and Rach who suffered gear failure almost immediately with their new-on-the-boat lazy guy system, recently fitted by Pete Gray, forcing them ashore. Following a clean start, Pete’s alleged sabotaging allowed him, crewed by Rich Pepperdine to round Mark 1 in the lead, followed by Dave Wade/Ben Rayner and then Ollie Meadowcroft/Simon Forbes. It was immediately clear that Pete and Rich had also been to Nigel’s buoy placement school with a clear understanding of Marks 1 – 10, but no idea where ‘T’ was. As ‘T’ was not on Nigel’s syllabus, both the 1st and 2nd placed boats went in the wrong direction for a bit allowing Ollie and Si to take the lead. R1 finished with Ollie/Si taking the win, followed by Pete/Rich, Dave/ Ben with Nigel Pepperdine / Andy Thompson 4th and Junior helm Sammy Mason and Sarah Mason with a great 5th.

Race 2 showed that you can launch a brand-new boat and be straight on the pace with Ian Cadwallader and Ellie Devereux taking a 2nd having port tacked the fleet with Pete/Rich ultimately winning the race having now understood where T was on the lake and team Lymo, Nev Herbert and Karl Thorne in 3rd.

With Pete/Rich still remembering where T was, Race 3 was won by them, followed by Myles and Bill Jackson in 2nd and Dave/Ben in 3rd. The breeze by this point was still a very nice F2 with crews needing to be on the side and in the straps, but typical Notts conditions with heads needed out of the boat looking for the shifts.

Lunch was next on the cards, expertly arranged by Pauline and her team who have provided catering at the Club for over 25 years. The main conversation topic over lunch was how many races was ‘indefinite’ going to be?

With more lettered buoys not on the syllabus being introduced in Race 4, Pete and Rich took their 3rd win of the day having successfully found ‘A’ from the get-go. Chris Martin and John Tailby chalked up a 2nd and Ian/Ellie 3rd, again showing how a new Scorpion can have all of its systems dialled in straight away.

Race 5 saw a new name in the top 3 finishers with Dave/Ben leading from start to finish, Ollie/Si in 2nd and local sailors Matt Potter and Kev Hope in 3rd. By now the breeze was not quite as consistent as it had been with more holes starting to appear.

It turns out that ‘indefinite’ is in fact 6, with the last and final race of the day started under a U flag. Stand out sailors in this race were Junior pairing of Cillian Dyne and Josh White who after a great first mark rounding finished in a very respectable 6th, with Ollie/Si taking the bullet in dying breeze followed by Pete/Rich and Nev/Karl in 3rd.

Saturday nights entertainment was a Gladiators style inflatable battle arena, complete with pugil sticks and a hog roast for the hungry sailors, none of whom could remember a day where they’d done 6 races in a day before!

Sunday morning was glorious; bright sunshine, no clouds in the sky except stationary jet plane contrails, shiny water and ZERO wind. Following an excellent breakfast at the club, with little prospect of any wind the competitors quickly voted to call it a day. Many thanks to Nott County SC and especially to John Tailby for organising an excellent event. The next Scorpion open is at Lymington Town on the 1/2nd of June.


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