Porthpean Sailing Club

Scorpion 50th Anniversary

January 23rd & 24th

Another chapter in the history of Porthpean Sailing Club was created this weekend when many Scorpion sailors from the past as well as some from the present gathered in the Clubhouse to celebrate the launch of the prototype Scorpion 50 years ago this weekend. Over 50 members, ex members and guests, arrived to enjoy a Saturday evening of nostalgia, food and drink. I think quite a few were amazed at how the Clubhouse itself had changed over the years, with the extension, replacing the balcony and the bar and galley in their new places. In fact the Clubhouse at the time of launching was the beach house at the bottom of the slipway. The Clubhouse of today hadn't even been built. Carol Haines (President of the Scorpion Class Association) and her husband, Jon, travelled down to join in and reminisce with the rest.

The Scorpion was launched at the start of the swinging 60s and from a fleet of 4 in the first year grew to a fleet of 22 by the early 70s. Over the years Porthpean has played host to the Scorpion Nationals 4 times. However times change somewhat and we are now down to only 3 racing fairly regularly.

The evening brought together many former and current members, some hadn’t seen each other for many years, having moved away from the area or had given up sailing completely. It was pleasing to see so many making the effort to return to a place were I am sure that they all experienced many happy times. Interesting the Clubhouse had the current Commodore and 6 ex Commodores in attendance. Yes the evening was certainly an ideal time for them to reminisce and catch up with old friends. There were numerous photographs and scrapbooks laid out on the pool table and a video taken from the late 50s to the mid 60s showing Club life as it was in those long ago days, was shown to the delight of all as many recognised themselves, albeit looking much younger.

One of the attendees was Chris Davies who described his time at Porthpean S C and the arrival of the Scorpion as having a huge influence on his future. He went on to crew in the Flying Dutchman and won a gold Medal at the Olympics in 1972 with Rodney Pattisson and reckons that “the foundation for all that was laid at Porthpean all those years ago”.

The sailors of the earliest numbered Scorpion present were Guy & John Morgan who sailed number 48 and Michael Whetter (sail number 49) was also there. Some of the attendees have sailed 6 or more different Scorpions over the years and several had owned 4 or more.

We have had a picture hanging in the Club house for many years showing a group of members standing round the prototype Scorpion waiting for its launch into the surf. Most of us hadn’t a clue who the people were apart from a young or should I say, very young John Hill. Well with the help of all the visitors, many of the faces were identified and now can be added to the picture for posterity.

On Sunday, in glorious weather which displayed the Cornish beach and sailing water at its best, in complete contrast to the launching 50 years ago. four of Porthpean’s current Scorpions took to the water in what was to be an Anniversary sail but turned into, a typical Porthpean style, Anniversary race.

With sunshine, flat seas and 9-12 knots of wind from the NNE, the race started from the beach with a Le Mans start, out to a mark in the bay and then a long reach across St Austell Bay to the SW Water mark with a reach back to the finishing mark.

Paul Beacon, in a borrowed boat (1916) crewed by Bob Grose who was back in a Scorpion after 40 years, were quickly off the beach. Kay Ecclestone & Craig Varley (sailing 1996) were first to hoist their spinnaker but were only placed third at the buoy which was rounded speedily by Ron & Michelle Barrett (1961) closely followed by Andrew and Jenny Kendall (1889).

The fleet retained their spinnakers for longer than was probably effective (just because it was fun to do so) and then dropped them for a 2 sail reach to the SW Water mark. The Barretts and Kendalls tussled for position allowing Kay & Craig to close in on them but it was Andrew & Jenny Kendall first around the SW mark, then the Barretts.

Unfortunately the Kendalls headed back to the beach rather than the finishing mark allowing the Barretts through. 1916 had a slight problem at the SW water mark when the rudder decided to detach from the boat; luckily it was salvaged before going over-board but despite their best efforts with the spinnaker, they couldn’t close the gap. Meanwhile 1996 (Kay & Craig) steadily reduced their deficit and eventually passed the Barretts on the 2 sail reach, sailing on to win. The Kendalls, having rectified their directional mistake, passed the Barretts and sailed into 2nd place.

Below are the pictures taken at the evening party plus some of the launching, and race that followed.

Barrie & David Edwards with John Morgan
Heather & Colin Campbell
Pam Jenkins, Colin Hutchings & Alec Bawden, Jenny March & Hilary Wingrove
Wendy & Colin Leach
Roger & Jan Winslade
Steve Mitchell & Chris Davies
Allan Mitchell & Polly
Peter Milne & ?
? & Jennifer Whetter
Mike Whetter &?
Mary Rendell & Robbie Blackie
Bob Cornelius & Guy Morgan
Derek Waters & John Hill
"Rocket" Ron Keeping
Paul Jenkin & Colin Cambell
Heather Cambell & Bob Cornelius
? & Sheila Hadlow
Marina Nancarrow & Robin Hadlow
Derek Waters, John & Linda Hill
Colin Hutchings & Alec Bawden
John Morgan & Carol Haines
Jon Haines
Jenny Kendall & Hilary Wingrove
Ron Barrett & ?
Andrew & Jenny Kendall
Steve & Hilary Wingrove
Mike Baker & KIngsley Martyn
Gary Lewis & Jenny March
Liz Saunders & Ken Fobbester
Jane & Bob Grose

The Pictures below were taken by Nigel Dowrick


The Pictures below were taken by Chris Hazell


The Pictures below were taken by Steve Wingrove