A Perfect Last Day
The last race day of the SAMM Spring Season 2018 was going to be crucial in deciding the series title as only 1 point separated the first and second placed boats and 0.25 point separated third and forth.
The weather promised to be ideal with the forecast of sun and ENE, veering E, 12 knot winds all day. But, in the end, the winds were only 6 to 9 knots.
Five boats were due to start the 5 lap morning race but, at the last moment, the largest, the Sailfish “Mistral” had to drop out when the skipper’s glasses were knocked off and into the sea just before she left the jetty. A 10€ reward was offered to some children for their recovery and they were found after half an hour but too late for the race start.
Three of the boats got a good start but the Laser Radial lagged behind after misreading the start signals. The Topaz (the fastest boat) soon took the lead followed closely by Shoestrings Dos and Uno until the Topaz capsized at the end of lap 2 and was passed by the other two. She righted quickly and managed to gradually regain the lead to finish just 6 seconds ahead of Dos.
These four boats were joined by the Topper of Lesley Singleton for the afternoon race and all made a good start. A battle royal ensued between Dos and the Topaz. Dos completed the first four laps just ahead, but was overtaken by the Topaz during the beat to mark 1 on laps 3 and 4, only for Dos to reclaim the lead on the run between marks 2 and 3. The Topaz managed to retain the lead on the last lap until she capsized at mark 3, the jibe mark, to allow Dos to finish first. The last boat to finish was the Topper, not unexpected is she was the slowest boat of the fleet.
Final results were. First race Shoestring Uno, Di Hardwick and Paul Johnson, second Laser Radial, third Dos, forth Topaz. Second race Topper, Lesley Singleton (in only her second race in this boat), second Uno, third Laser Radial, forth Dos, fifth Topaz.
We will now have to see how the results have affected the series points table.
The SAMM Autumn Series 2018 is open to all and starts on September 9th.
Mini Series Spring 2108 Results
This season the Race Committee have organised racing every Sunday since the beginning of May (weather permitting) and it was decided that the races held between April 15 and the end of May, when many of non-resident SAMM members were here, would form a Mini Series.
We managed to complete 9 races and have chosen the best 6 results to count for the title and the results table is as follows. The results highlighted yellow are those dropped. Boats that did not race in the series are not shown.
Congratulations to John Down for a well deserved win.
A Beautiful Day but No Excitment
The weather on June 17th was perfect for the SAMM race competitors, 8 to 10 knot ENE winds with few shifts or gusts but this lead to two races with little excitement and no incidents.
Numbers are still reducing slightly as more people leave Spain for the summer, resulting in 9 competitors in 6 boats starting the first race over a triangular course forced upon them when one of the marks broke free from it’s anchor whilst being positioned.
It was a close start for the 5 lap morning race. Shoestring Tres led followed by The Laser Radial, Topaz Duo, Quba, Shoestring Uno and Sirocco who was last across the line 1 min and 36 secs after the signal. As the race progressed the boats gradually spread out but there were some good tussles for position between the Radial and Quba. Sirocco was lapped by Tres during lap 4 and the Radial and Quba finished just 6 secs apart.
The winner after handicaps were Tug Wilson and Jack Moss on Tres, second the Quba only 26 secs behind and third Sirocco just 33 secs later.
As the wind had dropped to 6-7 knots, the Race Officer increased the afternoon race to 6 laps. Lesley Singleton joined the fleet on her Topper, but Sirocco did not compete. The 6 boats again had a very close start, except for the Laser Radial which was delayed by a rigging problem and finally started a whole lap behind.
Again Tres led for the whole of the race but this time did not build such a commanding lead so lost out once the corrected times were calculated to finish third behind the first placed Quba of John Down and second placed Uno.
Lesley had retired after lap five so did not finish, a shame because she would have probably been third in her first race in a single hander.
With just one race day (two races) remaining in the season there is only 1 point between first and second placed boats and 0.25 points between third and forth.
Weather nothing like the forecast
With people starting to leave Spain for the summer, the numbers taking part in the racing on May 27th was reduced to 11 just competitors. All were looking forward to a good days racing as the forecast was perfect with winds a constant 10 to 12 knots. However this was not to be.
In the first race the boats were faced with a very light southerly wind which, as the start sequence gradually counted down, ended up as SE 2-3 knots, not good for the bigger boats. The start was down wind with 6 boats crossing the line.
First over was the Sailfish “Mistral” followed closely by the Topaz, Laser Radial, the Gamba “Uno” with the second Gamba “Cuatro” way back. The wind continued SE rising to 4.9 knots and the race quickly settled down with Topaz leading the way followed by the two Gambas, who changed lead over the 4 laps. The Radial retired with steering problems during the second lap.
The wind gradually changed direction to due east and started building in strength and, at the close of the fourth lap, went due S at up to 14 knots. n the conditions the crew on “Mistral” struggling to keep going.
The eventual winner on corrected time was the Gamba “Uno” with Kerry, Tim and Dianne on board.
As the wind continued to build the second race was cancelled for safety reasons.
SAMM Racing on May 20th
Well, to be honest, after the previous week, the racing seemed a bit boring on May 20th despite a good turnout of 15 competitors and 10 boats, until the results were examined.
The winds were quite light for the start of the first race. No incidents occurred and the race was a case of follow my leader. The Topaz led from the start followed by the Hartley, a Laser 2000, Laser Radial, the second 2000, Quba, Deltania with the two Sailfish bringing up the rear. This order remained unchanged for most of the race. The Topaz was the winner on corrected time.
The second race had more wind and the both Laser 2000’s and the Hartley soon pulled away but, on the second lap, as they were beating from the start gate up to the first buoy, the wind shifted and whilst they had been forced on a long tack both the Quba and Laser Radial got a ride straight to the first buoy cutting the corner so to speak and affecting the results for sure.
This produced one of the closest results for many weeks once the handicaps were applied. The Topaz again was first but the following 4 boats were separated by just 10, 74, 2, and 6 seconds.
For the first time in a number of years one of the two Deltania day boats in SAMM came over and joined the racing to be rewarded by two 7th place results.
As it was the day after the royal wedding it was agreed a group photo of all competitors and officials would mark the occasion.
Really weird conditions for racing
On May 13th both races were contested, over a planned four laps, by 14 members sailing 9 boats, an excellent turn out that looked good on the water.
Race one, got off to a lively start, in three separate tranches, the two Laser 2000’s, the Hartley 12.2 and the Quba take front stage, closely followed by a Sailfish 18, the Areaz 20 and the Gamba. Taking it rather leisurely and doing their run in from nearer Lo Pagan than the start was Mistral, the other Sailfish 18 in the fleet.
The course included a tricky leg near the moored ferry making all boats aware that they needed to get their tactics right.
Soon a pattern established with the Lasers taking the lead followed by the single handed Hartley and Quba, then the Gamba, a Sailfish, the Araez finally the second Sailfish.
The really fluky wind, probably caused by the coming off the shore and being deflected by the taller buildings, continually changing direction and going from 0.5 knots up to nearly 12 knots, caused havoc as some sailors got stuck in the dead zones whilst others just 20 yards away seemed to get onto the gusts and move up through the field.
The finish was a close run thing between the two Lasers who were separated by just 22 seconds with Tug and Di the winners.
Race two, what a different story! Over the same course but, with a warning from the race officer at the briefing, to expect some serious wind gusts was, in everybody’s opinion, one of the strangest they had experienced
It started with a very close race to get to the start line first with Brian and Jim on a Laser 2000 making some pretty nifty turns to get across just before Tug and Diane on the other 2000. However, excitement got the better of both of them, and they crossed before the start gun and had to return and start again. However they soon caught up with fleet and soon a similar pattern to the first race began to establish.
All of the boats rounded the second buoy pretty much together and then a strange phenomenon happened, the wind dropped completely but the waves continued to build and then the wind erupted from the east slowly veering to the south and increasing to 15 knots plus.
Sirocco had to retire after lap one as she was being sailed single handed, heeling badly and taking water over the cockpit. She had to be helped onto her mooring by the support boat. On the next lap and with boats scattered around everywhere, the two Lasers and the Hartley were disqualified for missing one of the marks in their attempts to try and keep upright, leaving the field wide open for those who could manage to keep their boats going.
The race officer wisely shortened the course to three laps, although no one heard the signal and continued to do a forth. Eventually all boats finished, but Mistral had her foresail jam, could not pick up her mooring and landed on the reef. Again the support boat came to her assistance and towed her off.
The eventual winner, the very popular Mick Burgess on Rosita.
The heroes of the day, the support boat crew Martyn Bisofsky and Julian Singleton. The baddy of the day the weird wind conditions.
Racing again at last
This year’s high winds had forced the previous two SAMM race days to again be cancelled but at last, on May 6th, they were forecast at a steady 9 to 10 knots from the east, so racing was possible for the 19 competitors manning 10 boats. For a change and more of a challenge, the Race Officer set a “figure of eight” course.
The morning race started in only 4 knots of wind which favoured the smaller, lighter boats and Shoestrings Cuatro, Uno, and Dos plus the Laser Radial and Quba crossed the start line very close together. The best of the heavies Sirocco started 12 seconds late but her sister Mistral took 12 minutes to cross the start line.
The leading pack stayed very close together for most of the race with Shoestring Dos just holding the lead. On lap two seven boats were fighting for position to get around mark two at the same time.
The wind had not increased so the race was shortened to three laps, which Dos (Tug Wilson and new member Richard Dopson) completed in 63 mins 54 secs. The Quba (John Down) was forth to finish in 67 mins 31 secs but was declared the winner once the handicaps were applied.
At the start of the afternoon race the wind had increased to 8 knots and the start was the best for many months with the whole fleet jostling for position and starting with a few seconds of each other.
All boats, except Mistral, soon chose port tack as the best to start the beat to mark one but Mistral met up with them and sailed well to round in seventh place just behind the faster dinghies.
The stronger winds soon had the fleet spreading out except for Shoestrings Cuatro and Dos who battled hard for the whole race, completing lap two just two seconds apart. Dos, the faster boat (Laser 2000) eased out to finish the four lap race in 53 mins 57 secs with Cuatro (Gamba) crewed by Kerry Marlow and Paul Johnson finishing 1 min 39 secs later. Application of the handicaps reversed the positions on corrected time.
The corrected times showed some very close finishing, 15 secs or less between boats in both races. The closest was the Quba’s third place in the afternoon race, just one second behind Dos.
Race winners: John morning race left, Paul and Kerry afternoon race right
Better Weather at Last
After yet another cancellation due to the very high winds, SAMM’s second race day on April 8th dawned bright and warm with gentle 7 to 10 knot WNW winds. At Los Alcazares this means they blow off the land so the Mar Menor has little in the way of waves, excellent racing conditions.
Eight boats came to the start line at 12 noon and six got a good start, including the recently launched Sailfish 18 “Ginetta” of the Balaton group. Their other two Sailfish languished at the rear.
John and Julian in the Laser 2000 “Shoestring Dos” quickly pulled away from the fleet and were to lead to the finish with four other boats all finishing within the next 10 minutes.
However, once the handicaps were applied, Bob and Martin in “Ginetta” were declared the race winner, just 17 seconds ahead of “Dos” on corrected time.
Only six boats came out for the second race and, at 10 minutes to the start, found themselves becalmed. At 2 minutes to the start this all changed when the wind came in with a vengeance, blowing at 12 to 16 knots from the WSW.
Again “Dos” slowly pulled away from the fleet as the sea started to build and the wind gust at over 18 knots, and this is when the problems started. “Ginetta” retired because of a tiller problem, then Bob Lagden capsized at mark 3, then Brian Murray capsized at the other side of the course.
The support boat quickly went to Bob’s aid, took him on board, then helped Brian right his boat and start sailing again, but the assistance meant he had to retire. Returning to Bob’s boat they could not right it so were forced to tow it back to the shore.
The remaining three boats managed to complete the race with “Dos” finishing first and this position was confirmed after applying the handicaps.
Mick Burgess, in the diminutive “Rosita”, is to be congratulated for completing the race in the conditions. His reward was to find that he was placed second in the race. With the support boat occupied with towing, thanks also must go to Don Clarke for sailing along with Mick on his last lap as a safety precaution.
The third race day on April 15th also started in perfect weather, sunny, warm and WNW winds of 6 to 10 knots. A close start saw the 8 boats battling hard around the first lap with
“Dos” just ahead and “Rosita” at the rear. On lap 2 “Ginetta” missed a mark and retired whilst
the other boats continued to fight hard with the tactics on the up-wind leg being the key to success. After 5 laps only 10 minutes separated all the finishers except “Rosita” who retired after lap 4.
All boats, except “Ginetta” started the second race, in near calm conditions but, the wind backed as forecast to WSW and increased to 12 to 14 knots. In challenging conditions a very tight race ensued, with the leading four boats Shoestrings “Uno”, “Dos”, “Tres” and the Hartley 12.2 completing laps within seconds of each other.
The Balaton boats “Mistral” and “Sirocco” had had their bottoms cleaned and their rigging tweaked since the last race day which made a vast difference in the performance so were not far off the pace. They finished the morning race first and second and the afternoon race first and third with “Dos” in second.
SAMM RACING SEASON SPRING 2018 STARTS
The first race day of the SAMM 2018 Spring Series on March 11th had to be cancelled due to the extremely high winds but was re-scheduled for Sunday March 18th.
The day dawned cloudy and colder than of late with 10 to 12 knot winds gusting to 15/16 on occasions and this probably affected the turnout which was disappointing at only 6 competitors crewing 3 boats, two Gamba’s, Shoestring Uno and Cuatro and the Balaton Sailfish 18 Mistral.
The Gamba crews, pictured left to right, were Cuatro Jack and John, Uno Jim and Julian; perhaps we should call them the “J” Class. On Mistral were Robert and Leon.
In the first race, the Gambas, being faster, slowly pulled away from the Sailfish as they strongly contested the lead over the four laps. As very evenly matched boats and crews the correct tactics on the upwind beat leg was the deciding factor on who was ahead throughout the race Cuatro was ahead on lap 1 by 17 secs, but by lap 2 Uno was in front by 29 secs and increased this to a 2 minute 44 seconds lead at the finish.
In the second 3 lap race these two boats again fought hard for the lead with Uno slightly ahead at the completion of laps 1 and 2. But they made the wrong tactical decision on the final upwind leg of lap 3 that allowed Cuatro to win the race by 1 minute 36 seconds.
The next race day, weather permitting, is Sunday March 25th.
The results for the 2017 season can now be accessed in the 2017 Archive Page.