Archive for 2017 Series


The SAMM Autumn Series of handicap races was a great success. With no days lost due to the weather or other events held at CTD causing cancellations, the 8 days of the handicap series saw 16 races completed between September and November, all well supported by the competitors.

The results are determined using the “low points” system with each boat able to drop the scores of their 6 worst races leaving 10 scores to count for the series.

Final Positions Spring 2017 Series

The series was supposed to be 16 races with 10 to count but for various reasons we only managed to have 7 races. The Race Committee, without knowing the full results, decided that we should drop 1 race.

We score races as follows. Winner 0.75, then 2, 3, etc for those that finish. DNS, DNF and Retired 1 point more than the number of boats who came to the start line. DNC or Disqualified 1 point more than the number of boats in our fleet. This season there were 16 boats in the fleet, hence the 17 points in the table.

The final positions are therefore shown in the following table and it is interesting to note that the top boats were those that raced most often and not those who won or were often well placed in races.

Congratulations to the winner, John Down in his RS QubaFinal Series Positions - Spring 2017

Our Sixth and Final Race Day – A Day of Disasters

The winds were forecast at 14 to 16 knots in the morning building to 18 to 21 by early afternoon for what was to be our last race day this spring, so the officials and competitors were keen on getting an early start to the first race. Considering it’s the time of year when many members have returned to the UK for the summer, enough people turned up to get two Balaton boats, a Shoestring dinghy and two independent boats out.

The Balaton members set out for their boats in their rib and the race crew readied the Whaly, loaded the buoys and left to set the course when the first disaster was discovered; one of the Balaton boats, Sirocco, was missing from her mooring. The Balatons returned to shore and set out to walk south along the paseo to look for her while the Whaly went north.

She was soon spotted up against the jellyfish nets a short way north. Martyn took the Whaly alongside and Steve Crane went on board and fastened a tow rope but, no matter how hard they tried, they could not budge her, she was stuck fast.

Martyn was returning to CTD when it was agreed to get him to set the course so the dinghies at least could race before he went to assist recover Sirocco again.

While he was doing this Bob Miles, Robert Hudson and Robert Langdon launched the old rib for the slow journey upwind to Sirocco and, on arrival, Robert H climbed onto the nets to discover that she had turned a full 360 degrees and wrapped the net around the keel. With super-human effort (is Robert the latest Super-Hero?) he managed to twist her round by hand then force the net down while the Rob L and Bob heaved on the tow line. She suddenly broke free leaving Robert on the net and Steve on Sirocco. While Steve set the jib and sailed back towards CTD Robert was collected by the rib which followed but, with only a 4hp engine could not catch up.

While all this was going on the dinghy race, with just three boats Shoestring Cuatro with Vernon O’Byrne, Jack Moss and Janice Penning aboard, the Laser of Norman Vener and the RS Quba of John Down, was started with the wind at about 12 knots.

The second disaster happened at the second mark when Norman capsized after his main sheet looped under the boat as he jibed. It lifted the boat up and over as soon as the sail powered up and she completely turned turtle. Norman could not get her up so the Whaly had to assist, effectively disqualifying Norman, and this took a long time. We now had just a two boat race and they both completed their first lap without incident and were neck and neck on the second.

Now for disaster number three. As the wind had increased quite a bit, the crew of Cuatro decided to tack round mark two, rather than jibe. In the process they lost their bearings and headed for the fourth mark, missing out the third. Despite valiant efforts of the Race Officer to attracted their attention they ignored his shouts and gesticulations and blithely carried on, chased by John who thought he had victory in the bag.

The Whaly was asked to go and inform Cuatro but could not as they were towing Norman back. They had eventually managed to right the Laser only for Norman to find he had damaged his tiller and could not sail back.

Cuatro finished their incomplete second lap and, despite more shouting, arm waving and jumping up and down by the Race Officer, carried on. John was a long way behind but sailing well when his disaster struck. He tacked to cross the line for the start of his last lap only to get it wrong and capsize.

He was soon up but as he tried to continue sailing was seen to go over a second time. He got the Quba up again but with the wind right behind the sail so over he went for the third time. His final attempt to right the boat resulted in another swim by which time he was completely exhausted.

While all these dramas were going on the Balaton boys had got Sirocco back on a spare mooring and were returning to shore. They were passing John as he got the Quba up the second time and asked if he wanted help but he said no so they carried on. Luckily they kept an eye on John and saw him go over twice more and now getting dangerously close to the jellyfish nets so they returned and helped him get upright again and towed him back to shore. John later explained that his problem was due to his outhaul failing so the clew slid along the boom allowing the sail become over powered.

Cuatro duly completed their final lap but were summoned back by the Race Officer giving 5 blasts of the horn three times before they finished.

The Race Officer checked with everybody to see if they wanted a second race but the wind had built as forecast and the answer was no so the Whaly crew went out to collect the buoys. The final disaster was then discovered, the mooring of the Balaton Mistral had failed un-noticed sometime while everything else was going on and she was on the jellyfish nets about half way to Los Alcazares marina.

The Whaly quickly returned all the buoys to shore then took Robert and Bob down to recover Mistral; she is now on one of the old ferry moorings so will need to be moved soon.

We had organised the race day as an extra to try to make up for some of those lost to us during the season but two escaped boats, two capsizes and a crew who got lost meant we finished the season with only 7 races completed out of the planned 16.

Let’s hope we have a better Autumn season which is scheduled to start on September 10th.

Have a good summer everybody


Total Bedlam – Fifth SAMM Race Day

When the competitors and officials arrived at CTD for the fifth race day in the SAMM Spring Series 2017 they were greeted by a scene of total bedlam. Hoards of disable children were being treated to a host of water sport activities generously provided by various organisations. The was loud music, kids dancing, playing ball games, shouting, screaming whilst the various water craft were being launched and readied.

When the buoys were being laid to mark the course they had to be moved three times to avoid the ever enlarging area being used by the jet skis for joy rides.

First race winners, Jack, Jeff and Bob

First race winners, Jack, Jeff and Bob

Eventually the first race got underway at a late 11.45am in gentle 6 to 8 knot winds with six boats in contention. All other than Sirocco had a leisurely sail of four laps, except for having to avoid the jet skis, kids in Optimist dinghies, kids in kyaks, groups on large ribs or in Gamba dinghies and none of them paid any attention to the fact that there was a race going on and used the start/finish line to play around. Then, as a finale, they were joined by a guy performing stunts on a water jet flyboard right in front of the channel as the boats came ashore for the lunch break.

Second race winner John

Second race winner John

But everything was over, except for a couple of jets skis, by the start of the second race which again was fairly leisurely but in a slightly increased wind. There were some close tussles going on, especially between Norman in his Laser Radial, John in his Quba and George and Jack in the Gamba Shoestring Cuatro, who all finished within a minute of each other. The Areaz 20 Levanter, a new boat to the fleet led all the way and finished first on the water but was placed 4th after the handicaps were applied.

A good day that was enjoyed by all, the next race day will be the last of the season.

Spring 2017 - R6


A Day to Remember

On arriving at CTD the Whaly helm found that the new prop guard, that had only been fitted the day before was broken. The race was inevitability delayed whilst it was examined but a decision to use the Whaly at low speed was agreed upon by those around the rib.  This meant a much slower laying of course during which time the winds started rising to an estimated 10 knots.

A few minutes before the Balaton’s 10 minute gun Bob reported he could not steer Mistral and she was crabbing sideways down the course towards the start line, he took decision to retire dropped the sails and went back to the mooring under power.  This has been a re-occurring problem all this season and the Balaton members need to get it fixed.

Robert, Janice and Ernie crossed the start line in Sirocco, if a little bit confused by the start signals due to the visual starting boards being a few seconds behind the start horn, a (slight malfunction in the Race Officers role as he couldn’t be outside and watch the clock at the same time). This was rectified quickly by Carol doing a 10 second count down for the dinghy start, which is the usual practice.

Eventually everybody was away and the Whaly took station at the first buoy. Within minutes the first of many capsizes happened when one of our most experienced helms, Julian aboard his Topaz was hit by a very sudden gust of about 16 knots whilst out on his trapeze and went over in a flash. He was clearly seen working energetically to right the boat, which he did within a minute or two, not needing the support boat which had started to make its way towards him.

Everybody was around the windward buoy when a request by the Mistral crew to be ferried to shore came over the radio and the support boat went over to pick up its passengers.  This proved to be one of those decisions which sometimes goes against you and did so when the wind suddenly gusted again and caused the second capsize whilst the support boat was off the course in the channel alongside the jetty.

The crew were notified but seemed to take ages to get back on station meantime another capsize, the third, had occurred. George and Dianne had gone over but could be seen to be quickly getting things into order so the Whaly went to assist Norman, who was sailing solo on his Laser radial, and had also capsized, the forth, on the far side of what now looked like a very large course. Again the response by the Whaly was being hindered by the need to keep the revs down and everyone in the race office expressed relief when the Whaly got to Norman and stood by as he battled to get the Laser back upright and sailing again.

Meantime those who could stay upright were flying along. Sirocco was proving a handful for its crew in the gusts, whilst Tug on a Quba, Julian on the Topaz and Brian and Jim on a Laser 2000 were enjoying the stronger than forecast winds.

Next it was George and Dianne who went over, the fifth capsize, and were in trouble as the rudder pintle pins, which had been modified some months ago, snapped leaving the boat helpless. Vernon on the second Quba went over; sixth capsize, whilst the Whaly attended to George, Dianne and the rudderless Laser 2000. After much effort Vernon got back aboard but came upright with the wind fully behind him which pitch rolled him again into the water and separated from his boat which drifted away to the direction of the rocks.

Meantime Norman was back in the water again; seventh capsize, on the downwind leg on the far side of the course whilst the Whaly was towing the Laser2000 off the course and towards the shore. With so many boats in trouble at once, a quick call was made to our friends at “Pro Vela Sailing” asking if they could assist with their rib to give support to Norman, who was still fighting to get upright on the Laser Radial. The Whaly managed to pick up Vernon, who by then had been in the water for more time than he would have liked, while his Quba had come to a stop up against the rocks. Realizing this could seriously damage the boat; the lads from Pro Vela, having sorted Norman out went after the Quba and brought her safely off the rocks and back to the slipway.

Freak gusting of the wind and the lack of full power to the Whaly led to the “Abandon Race” decision after 2 of the proposed 4 laps. This didn’t put too many sailors off wanting a second race, and although the second race didn’t go ahead many of the dinghies went back out an hour later when the gusting winds had dropped to a still very strong but steady blow.

Sorry if I got some of the capsizes in the wrong order, after all it was a very eventful 2 laps. Well done to those who stayed upright in very gusty conditions.

John Down, Race Officer on the day


Perfect Racing Weather

Sunday May 7th, 10am and the race officials and competitors arrived at CTD for the third race day of the Spring 2017 season. The sky was blue, the sun warm but where was the wind? Don’t worry, the forecast says it is coming and by the time the first race was due to start it had arrived at a gentle 7 knots.

The two Sailfish 18’s were first away at 11.45am followed 10 minutes later by one two man and five single handed dinghies for the planned four lap race. The Sailfish maintained their lead for the first lap but were passed by three of the dinghies during the second lap. Due to the conditions the pace was slow and unexciting so the Race Officer shortened the race to three laps.

The wind was up to 9 knots by the start of the second race at 2.30pm and gradually increased to 12 knots, which produced the excitement missing in the first race. The Sailfish were again away first. Mistral got the best start but was soon overtaken by Sirocco. The Laser 2000 and RS Quba Kiwi had the best start of the six dinghies and these two and the Topaz Duo were soon fighting for the lead. The Skipper 12 was struggling especially when trying to tack to get through the gate and lost so much time in the process that she retired after three laps. The finish was difficult, requiring a tack to finish up-wind.  The RS Quba Kiwi got it wrong and hit the finish mark requiring a 360° penalty and re-finish. The RS Quba Lola almost did the same as did the Sailfish Mistral.

Tug Spring 2017A bit of fun ensued when the Sailfish Sirocco twice dropped their boat hook overboard when trying to pick up their mooring under sail because the outboard would not start. Thankfully it was recovered both times by some skilful manoeuvring and they eventually were safely secured.

After the handicaps were applied the RS Quba Kiwi with Tug Wilson at the helm was found to have won both races despite the mishap at the finish of the second.Spring 2017 - R4

Spring 2017 - R5





After three cold days of high winds, cloud and rain the weather forecast for Sunday April 30th looked good, other than the wind strength increasing to 19 knots by about 3pm, so the second race day of the SAMM Spring Series was on.

Bit Breezy, race day 30.04.1712 competitors in eight boats arrived at the beachfront of CTD Los Narejos at 10am to glorious sunshine and a nice 4-5 knot breeze but at 11.30am the wind suddenly increased to 15 knots which is the maximum it is considered comfortable to sail in for what is supposed to be fun club racing. As the start time approached it had increased to 17 knots and Don Clarke, single handed in his two person Hartley 12.2, decided not to compete.

All other seven boats got away safely for the scheduled 4 lap race although there was some confusion over the start time and two boats went early. By the end of lap 2RS Quba in windy conditions the wind was gusting at about 20 knots so the race officer had to decide whether to abandon the race on safety grounds or continue. He decided that, as all boats had been trying so hard in the conditions, he would shorten the race to 3 laps.

Two boats retired, one because they got lost and the other because they missed a mark, but the other six all finished safely and there were no capsizes, a tribute to the skill of all the competitors.


Vernon and TugWhen the results were calculated on handicap it was found that between 21 and 42 seconds separated each place, a superb achievement in the conditions. The winners were Tug Wilson and Vernon O’Byrne in their Laser 2000.

Many thanks went to the crew of the support boat who, despite getting very wet, did a sterling job monitoring the competitors to ensure every ones safety.

With no lessening of the wind strength it was agreed by all to abandon further racing for the day.

Spring 2017 - R3







SAMM Racing Re-Starts

The St. George’s Day racing was the first of the racing season for The Sailing Association Mar Menor (SAMM).   The start of the season had been delayed by unforeseen circumstances and also to allow the Junior Laser 4.7 European Championships to take place at C.T.D. Los Alcazares where over 330 juniors  sailors took part over 9 very windy days many suffering broken masts or lost sails.

By Sunday the wind had dropped, thank goodness, to a challenging but pleasant 17 knots and eight boats arrived at the start line. The two larger Sailfish were sent off 5 minutes before the dinghies, to avoid any clashes but were soon caught up by the first of the dinghies, the Hartley 12.2 helmed by Don Clarke, closely followed by Julian Singleton, a new member, on his Topaz Uno. The wind overpowered Norman Vener on his Laser Radial who paid a heavy price by losing his rudder to the depths of the Mar Menor. The support boat quickly took GPS Readings and hopefully will recover the rudder another day.

Topaz low resThe race continued with some helms getting stuck in “irons” and losing valuable time but all but Norman completed the four lap race.

For the second race the course was shortened, by removing the third buoy to make a triangular course, as the wind appeared to be stiffening.  The gusts didn’t last long but enough to cause havoc going up to the first mark with the larger Sailfish boat with Leon, Janice and Derek suffering most.Cuatro 2.11

The dinghies all crossed the start line together with only Bob and Geoff slightly off the pace, but it was clear that Dianne with Vernon and Ingo meant serious business aboard the Gamba.

Meanwhile the support boat crew spotted a kite surfer in difficulty with the lines wrapped all around her, decided to offer their assistance and brought the young lady back to shore.

The back markers fought hard for their places with Mick winning out over Bob and Geoff ,  only thing left was to work out the results on handicap which were as follows.

Spring 2017 - R1

First race winner Topaz Uno – Julian Singleton,


Second race winner Shoestring Cuatro – Diane Hardwick, Vernon O’Byrne, Ingo Wilson

Spring 2017 - R2









The SAMM Autumn Series of handicap races was a great success. With no days lost due to the weather or other events held at CTD causing cancellations, the 8 days of the handicap series saw 16 races completed between September and November, all well supported by the competitors.

The results are determined using the “low points” system with each boat able to drop the scores of their 6 worst races leaving 10 scores to count for the series.

The clear winner with 8.75 points was the Topaz Duo sailed by Julian Singleton with the scores for 9 firsts and 1 second place counting.

Second was the Laser 2000, Shoestring Tres with 17.5 points with 2 firsts and 8 second places counting. She was sailed by Tug Wilson alone for 6 of the races but he was joined by Jack Moss for 2 and John Down for 2.

Third was the Gamba, Shoestring Uno with 21 points, with 4 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 forth places counting. Uno was skippered by Dianne Hardwick for most of the races but her crew varied from race to race, depending on who else from the Shoestring Group was able to compete each day.

The trophies were presented at the SAMM meeting on December 13th. This is the first time an individual, in his own boat, has won a SAMM series, well done Julian. With more members sailing their own boats this could be a future trend. Unfortunately Tug Wilson had returned to the UK for Christmas so could not collect his trophy and the photo only features Julian and Dianne.

The Spring 2018 Series is scheduled to commence on March 11th.


The final race day of the Autumn Series 2017 attracted a good turnout of competitors and 9 boats came to the start of the first race, five single handers and 4 with crews of two or more. Due to a timing error by the race officers the boats had to be recalled and re-started, the first time this has happened in many years.

Unfortunately the SW 4 to 5 knot early wind gradually faded to virtually nothing and the uneventful race, so uneventful that it looked as if John Down had fallen asleep at the helm, had to be shortened to just two laps, which some boats took nearly 2 hours to complete.

By the time the 10 boats started the second race at 2.30 the wind had gone to the forecast Easterly at 5 knots with some gusts a little stronger. This was still a problem for a couple of boats who had difficulty with the up-wind leg.

As in previous weeks the lead was being contested by the dinghies led by Julian in the Topaz, Tug in a Laser 2000, John in his Quba, Norman in the Laser Radial and Di/Tom in a Gamba, with the bigger boats and the diminutive Sea Hopper bringing up the rear.

The dinghies took between 51 an 66 minutes to finish the 4 laps and the fastest bigger boat the Sailfish 18 of Julian/Jane/Ernie 71 minutes. The race officer decided that the slower boats were going to take too long to finish so shortened their race to 2 or 3 laps. Rather than record a “Did Not Finish” it was agreed that their average lap time would be used to calculate their total time over 4 laps.

The results after handicaps, in both races were: 1st Julian, Topaz Duo. 2nd Tug, Laser 2000. 3rd John, Quba.

That’s five straight first’s for Julian, five seconds for Tug and 4 thirds for John in the last five races. A brilliant achievement by all of them. You must be tired of looking at the faces so no photos of them this week.

The Spring 2018 Series is scheduled to begin in March, keep an eye on the Race Dates page.



At the request of the competitors after the racing on November 5th, the SAMM Race Committee added an extra day to the scheduled program on Sunday November 12th to make the most of the continuing fine weather we are all enjoying at the moment. As it was Armistice Sunday, at the briefing, a one minute silence was observed.

The Committee were rewarded when 9 boats came to the start line for the morning race at 11.30.

As the wind was off-shore a figure of eight course was set with upwind leg between marks two and three for safety. All boats started well but soon became strung out as many of the faster boats gradually pulled away from the others. It almost became a procession with the order of the Topaz followed in turn by Shoestrings Tres and Dos then the Laser Radial and Shoestring Uno which continued to the finish.

The afternoon race was more exciting. Just before the start The Topaz capsized twice due to gear problems but managed to start in the middle of the pack. There was controversy over a call for “Water” at the first mark which resulted in an official protest.

The Laser 1 had to retire during lap 2 due to gear failure and was towed to the shore by the support boat. The Topaz again capsized during lap 2 when a sudden 90 degree wind shift from NW to SW caught out many boats. The mornings procession was almost repeated but in the order Shoestring Tres, Dos, Topaz, Uno, Laser Radial although the Radial did managed to overhaul Uno during lap 3.

The protest was heard after racing had finished when it was determined that the boat calling for water had not achieved the desired overlap required under the rules so his protest was unfounded.

After handicaps were applied the winning order for both races was. 1st Topaz Duo, Julian Singleton. 2nd Shoestring Tres, Tug Wilson. 3rd Shoestring Dos, John Down. The Shoestring boats are both Laser 2000’s.


Coming to the end of the Autumn 2017 Season, SAMM racers can look back on a mixture of days with either not enough or too much wind. At last, like last week, another day of good conditions, brilliant sunshine and a flat Mar Menor. To be ready for the forecast wind shift and strength drop at midday a triangular course was set but, it never came and was NW gusting from 8 up to 14 knots all day, which called for alertness and quick reactions from all boat crews. This they all did well so no capsizes or other incidents.

Seven boats started the morning race, a little strung out, with Lavanter bringing up the rear. Her skipper Robert is very experienced but, for his crew Martin, a new Balaton member, it was his first time on a boat in 40 years. Tug and Jack on Shoestring Tres soon took the lead which they held to finish in 32 minutes, chased all the way by Julian on the Topaz in 34 minutes and Diane and Tim on Shoestring Uno in 34.5 minutes. A very short race caused by the continued high wind.

For the afternoon race the wind was the same, so the windward leg was extended, to give a longer race. Seven boats again started and were all over the line within 20 seconds,  probably the best start for some time. John Down, in his Quba, was the first over with the fleet in hot pursuit. The first leg just off the wind, the second leg a downwind run and the third leg a long beat on the up wind leg. The course change resulting in the desired effect as the fastest boat took 49 minutes to finish.

At the end of the first lap the Laser of Tug and Jack had taken the lead followed by the Topaz, Shoestring Uno, Quba, Sirocco, Lavanter and the Sea Hopper. This order stayed the same  until the last lap when Lavanter overtook Julian sailing single handed on Sirocco.

The result order is changed by the handicaps but show how close the racing was. Morning race: Shoestring Uno, Diane/Tim. Shoestring Tres, Tug/Jack, plus 35 seconds. Topaz Duo, Julian, plus 24 seconds. Afternoon race: Topaz Duo, Julian. Shoestring Tres, Tug/Jack, plus 12 seconds. Quba, John, plus 39 seconds.


After the events of the previous week, where boats were capsizing and being blown onto the rocky reef, this week, October 29th, seemed like a stroll in the park.  Race Officer John Down was scratching his head as to whether a race was even possible as not a ripple could be seen on the Mar Menor.

By 11 am there was just a sign of wind and Martin and Steve were dispatched in the support boat to lay a triangular course. By 11.40 there was enough of a breeze to get the race under way, a great sight as 11 boats made their way to the start.

Unfortunately for Janice and Derek, the crew of Mistral, they couldn’t make the start line as they discovered their boat had suffered damage after going on the reef the previous week but, new guest sailors Esther and Jesus, aboard their F18 catamaran, did compete.

In the light winds the single handed boats soon developed a substantial lead whilst the 18ft and 21ft Balaton Group boats struggled to get around the course.  The race was shortened to 3 laps giving the widespread crews the chance of some quick refreshment ashore before the afternoon race.

For this the course was set as a figure of eight and now, with the wind picking up, the boats rushed to get to the start line. Ashore it was good to see Bob, with his newly acquired Laser 1 (single hander), feverishly preparing it and getting it on to the water for the first time in time to join the race.

From the control tower our time keepers Carol and Rosie kept a close eye on the boats as they dodged and weaved through what had become a challenging course.  As the results show the winds favored the lighter boats but the day was enjoyed by all.

The results were
Morning Race: Topaz Duo, Julian Singleton. Shoestring Tres, Tug Wilson. Hartley 12.2, Don Clarke.
Afternoon Race: Topaz Duo, Julian Singleton. Shoestring Tres, Tug Wilson. Shoestring Uno, Dianne Hardwick/Vernon O’Byrne.

From left to right, Don Clarke, Julian Singleton, Tug Wilson, Dianne Hardwick, Vernon O’Byrne.


It’s Sunday October 22nd, people are arriving at CTD Los Alcazares for the SAMM race day. Instead of the 15 knot winds forecast the day before, they are greeted by 18 knots gusting 21. The water is fairly flat as the wind is from the ENE. Shall we risk it? A big YES!

Topaz low resSeven boats come to the start and off they go at 11.30 am followed 10 minutes later by Colin and Leon on Mistral who had a gear problem to fix first. All made the first mark but, tacking upwind to the second mark the first disaster. Julian in his Topaz Duo capsizes 8 times in as many minutes. He’s a small guy and does not have the weight to counter the wind strength, so retires.Shoestring Uno

The next disaster is Bob, Jeff and Norman in the Gamba, Shoestring Cuatro, who capsize just before completing the first lap. Cuatro is a heavy boat and they struggle to get her up, with the SAMM support boat standing by in case they need help. Up she pops at last with only Norman on board, but the tiller is damaged and he cannot steer. She drifts away too fast for the others to swim and catch her. They are picked up by the support boat and taken back to shore. Cuatro drifts downwind and onto, then over the reef and finally beaches.

Sirocco in a Blow 30.04.17The support boat returns and finds all the remaining boats are safe but almost immediately the next disaster. The late starter Mistral comes close to the same reef before tacking only to go into irons and hit the reef. She is too big to drift over it and Colin and Leon can’t get her off so the support boat goes to her rescue and, after a struggle in the conditions, manages to tow her off and back to the jetty. Thank goodness we bought the 40hp engine.

The remaining 5 boats continue in the difficult conditions until poor Mick, in the tiny Sea Hopper, suffers gear failure as he starts the last lap and is forced to retire.Tres 2014

The Race Officer is not sure if the afternoon race should go ahead but everybody except Leon is keen to go. 7 boats start at 2.40 pm and find the wind has now dropped to 15 gusting 17 which is a bit more manageable.

There is a bit of excitement at the start when Lavanter, Robert, Bob and Ernie, have their wind taken and, not only hit the starboard start mark but get it’s anchor line caught around their keel and drag it out of position. Luckily all boats except one have started so no need to organise a re-start. After getting clear she follows the
fleet but is about 8 minutes behind.

A passing holidaying dinghy sailor has joined Julian on the Topaz, so no capsizing. In fact all boats complete an exciting race, with Lavanter managing to haul in other boats and cross the line in 5th position.

Autumn 2017 - R7 Results on handicap

Morning race: Tug/John, Shoestring Tres. Di/Jack/Vernon, Shoestring Uno. Bob/Robert/Ernie Lavanter.


Autumn 2017 - R8Afternoon race: Tug/John, Shoestring Tres. Julian/Bernard, Topaz Duo. Di/Jack/Vernon, Shoestring Uno.



Autumn 2017 - Positions after R8







For the first time in many weeks there was a good wind all day for the Pursuit Racing on October 15th, 8-10 knots for the morning race and 10-12 knots for the afternoon.

Esther, Jesus and MattiaFive new people joined the regular competitors, three crewed in some of the regular boats, but a young Spanish couple, Esther Gonzales and Jesús Saura competed in their Mattia F18 catamaran (pictured left). If the regular fleet were Ford Focus and Renault Magan then the  F19 is Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 race car.

Our pursuit races last 90 minutes with the slowest boat starting first, fastest last and, if all things were equal they would all be neck and neck at the end of the 90 minutes.

Nine boats came to the morning start and all the fleet stared within 17 minutes of the first boat except the F18, which is so fast its start was 45 minutes later.

Topaz high resA good race ensued and gradually the first away were being caught and passed by the chasers so that with 7 ½ minutes to go the fifth boat to start, the Topaz Duo (pictured right), rounded the mark to start the 5th lap followed by the F18, which had been steaming round the course, just 45 seconds later. That last 6 ½ minutes was enough for the F18 to take the lead just before the finish gun sounded.

Esther and Jesús were both surprised and jubilant but could not stay for the afternoon race.

With one other skipper going home to watch a football match only seven boats started the afternoon race. The Sailfish 18’s “Sirocco” and “Mistral” were first away and “Sirocco” held this lead for 3 laps but had been passed by the Gamba “Shoestring Uno” and the Topaz by the end of lap 4.

Julian Singleton 2017Julian (photoleft) in the Topaz had started 4th but made up a place every lap so 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st and held the lead until the finish signal. It later transpired that the Topaz had capsized at one time but recovered to continue, so an excellent performance to finish in the lead.

Morning race result: 1st Mattia F18, 2nd Topaz Duo, 3rd Gamba, 4th Laser 2000 “Dos”, 5th Sailfish 18 “Mistral”

Afternoon race result: 1st Topaz Duo, 2nd Gamba, 3rd Laser 2000 “Tres”, 4th Sailfish 18 “Mistral”, 5th Laser 2000 “Dos”


Glorious weather but where’s the wind?

For the fifth week running no wind and a flat calm Mar Menor greeted our competitors as they arrived for the racing on October 8th, so yet again the morning race did not start until 12 noon.

Julian Singleton 2017In only 3-4 knots of wind seven boats started, and Julian Singleton, Topaz Duo, was soon in the lead which he gradually increased as the race progressed. The rest of the fleet followed and soon it was a procession of with only two changes of position when Di Hardwick/ Jack Moss, Gamba, passed Norman Vener, Laser Radial, during lap 2 and then Tim Wills/Tug Wilson, Laser 2000, also passed Norman during lap 3. Mick Burgess, Sea Hopper, retired after lap 2 as he was so far behind. The Race Officer shortened the race from 4 to 3 laps due to the time it was taking with Julian the only boat finishing in under an hour.


John and Vernon 2017The afternoon race started at 2.30 pm by which time the wind had increased to a perfect 8 to 10 knots. This time it was Tug and Tim who took the lead closely followed by Julian and, although the lead changed from time to time, Tug and Tim always completed each lap a few seconds ahead. It was a great tussle to watch. A similar battle was taking place further down the field between the Gambas of Vernon O’Byrne/ John Down and Jack/Di, where again just seconds separated them as each lap was completed. In this race 4 boats finished 4 laps in just under the hour.

Results after applying the handicaps were:-

Morning race; Julian Singleton, Topaz Duo; Di Hardwick/Jack Moss, Gamba; Julian Pering/Nick Novak, Sailfish 18. A great performance by the heavy Sailfish in such light winds.

Autumn 2017 - Positions after R6Afternoon race; Vernon O’Byrne/ John Down, Gamba; Julian Singleton, Topaz Duo; Jack Moss/ Di Hardwick, Gamba.

Next race day October 15th, Pursuit racing.

Current Series Position table shown left.


October is the month that many non-resident members of SAMM and those that were away during the heat of the summer arrive back in Spain. So the race Committee decided to organise racing every Sunday during the month and, by popular agreement, make the extra three dates Pursuit Racing.

For those of you who don’t know, a Pursuit Race has a time limit; 90 minutes in this case, starting the slowest boat first, followed by the remaining boats at irregular intervals calculated using their handicaps.

Tres & Dos 2.11.14Due to the lack of early wind, the first race started at 12.10pm, in about 4 knots, with 9 boats competing around a triangular course. The little “Rosita” was away first, followed by the rest over a 26 minute period. Unfortunately “Rosita” struggled badly in the light wind and could not make the start line for over 10 minutes, so retired.

A good race ensued with “Sirocco”, who was one of the second boats away, gradually being caught by Shoestrings “Dos” and “Tres”, the last boats away and racing neck and neck. “Sirocco” finally being overtaken just minutes from the finish after completing just over two laps of the course.

By 2.40pm the wind had increased to 8 knots and this time “Mistral” and “Sirocco”, were the first boats away. The Skipper was second away, 6 minutes later, but had to retire when her mainsail split.

“Mistral” led the field for 3 laps as “Dos” and “Tres”, again racing hard against each other and just seconds apart, chased her down. They both finally passed her during the 4th lap, with 30 minutes of the race remaining and then continued to battle each other for the lead. At times only 10 seconds separated them but eventually “Tres” won by a margin of 36 seconds. The Laser Radial also managed to pass “Mistral” with just 5 minutes to go to secure third place.

Everybody enjoyed the change from the normal race format and are looking forward to trying pursuit racing again in two weeks time.

Morning race First: Dos, John Down/Tim Wills. Second: Tres, Jack Moss/Vernon O’Byrne. Third: Sirocco, Julian Pering/Steve Rocks.

Afternoon race First: Tres, Tug Wilson/Vernon O’Byrne. Second: Dos, John Down/Kerry Marlow. Third: The Laser Radial of Norman Vener.

Photo: Shoestring Dos and Tres battle it out



Great Second Race Day for SAMM Sailors

Sunday 24th September, 10am at CTD and the competitors and officials arrive for the second race day of SAMM’s Autumn Season Handicap Series, pity the wind did not decide join them till much later so the first race start had to be delayed until 12.15pm.



With more members back in Spain after their summer away, 8 boats containing 12 crew total got away with only a little shouting of Starboard, get out of the b++++y way, etc.  With the gentle 4 knot breeze, for the first time in a good few years, the race officer had set a short, figure of eight course which called for some careful manoeuvring and adhesion to the rules where the route crossed.

RS Quba in windy conditionsThe single hander’s of Tug Wilson and Julian Singleton were soon battling for the lead as they drew away from the rest of the fleet and they completed the first three laps 5, 1 and 2 seconds apart but, Tug opened the lead slightly on the last lap to cross the line 14 seconds ahead. Great, tight, racing by two good sailors. All the other boats completed the race within 50 minutes as the wind had increased to 8 knots at the end.

Seven boats started the second race in winds that had increased to 12 to 15 knots. Unfortunately ‘Mistral’ had its’ fore stay snap at the first mark and was forced to retire. All the other boats completed the first lap within a minute of each other and the 7 dinghies remained in close contention throughout the race until the Topaz retired after capsizing following a collision during lap 5.

John left, Julian right

John left, Julian right

The larger, slower ‘Sirocco’ gradually dropped back but still performed extremely well, as can be seen from the result.

Tug again crossed the line first followed 50 seconds later by the next three boats which finished just 1 second apart, again really exciting and close racing.


The results after applying the handicaps:-
Race 1, Topaz Duo- Julian Singleton; Laser 2000-Tug Wilson; RS Quba,-John Down.
Race 2, RS Quba- John Down; Gamba,-Di Hardwick/Vernon O’Byrne;
Sailfish 18,-Robert Hudson/Steve Rocks.

Next race day October 1st, Pursuit racing, then every Sunday in October.



Saturdays forecast promised strong and gusty conditions but, as the forecast is not always accurate the Race Committee decided to turn up and see. Guess what, at 10am Sunday Sept 10th at CTD in Los Alcazares when everybody arrived, the forecast was spot on with winds of 15 knots gusting 25, luckily from the NW, so off the land and the Mar Menor in the racing area was flat.

It was decided to postpone the first race until the wind eased but, it was not until 1.15pm that a slight reduction was evident and the first race was started at 1.45pm with a second race run back to back. Possibly due to the forecast and the fact that many non-resident members had not returned to Spain, only 4 boats, containing between them 10 crew, took to the water.

The two Gambas, Shoestring Uno and Cuatro crossed the line neck and neck closely followed by the Balaton Groups Sirocco.  A new boat to the fleet, the Balaton Groups Lavanter, crewed by people who had never sailed her before, struggled with rigging problems and did not follow until 12 minutes later.

Shoestring UnoThe two Gambas raced as though they were joined together and were only separated by 11, 20, 9 and 10 seconds as they completed the four laps. Sirocco, a slower boat was gradually dropped further and further behind, while Lavanter, who couldn’t get her sails set properly, retired after 3 laps to avoid delaying the start of the next race.

The second race started at 3.05 and again the Gambas dominated and fought each other all the way round the four laps. A great performance by two well matched crews.

Final results on corrected times were. First race Shoestring Uno by 8 seconds over Cuatra with Sirocco third. Second race the positions were identical but this time Uno was 63 seconds ahead.

The next race day is September 24th. 10 am at CTD for registration. Guests’ boats welcome.