Proud Winners receive their Trophies
The SAMM Autumn Series racing finished with the races on November 11th. Of the planned 22 races, only 11 were completed, the others having had to be cancelled mainly due to adverse weather conditions.
Fixed Lap races (normally 4 laps) were the norm at the beginning of the season but the Race Committee switched to Average Lap racing for the final 6 races as this was thought to make for closer completion between the very wide range of boats in the fleet. The smallest being the little 3 meter Seahopper of Mick Burgess, through the privately owned dinghies, the Shoestring Group owned Lasers and Gambas to the 6 meter Balaton Group owned Sailfish and Arraez Arabel.
The group boats were sailed by many different members as the season progressed because not all members live permanently in Spain. A total of 28 SAMM members took part at some time during the season.
The races are scored using the “low score” and the 3 worst scores for each boat were dropped to calculate the final scores and positions.
First with just 13 points (4 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds and 1 fifth) was the Balaton Arraez Arabel “Lavanter” mainly skippered by Robert Hudson but with various crew. Second with 23.5 point, the Topaz Duo sailed by Julian Singleton and third with 33 points, the Shoestring Laser 2000 “Dos” sailed by Dianne Hardwick and Brian Murray.
The results were announced and the trophies presented at the SAMM meeting on December 12th. Robert and Dianne collected theirs but Julian was unable to attend because he is one of those people who still have to do something called work.
The Spring 2019 Series will start sometime in March. We will be putting the 2019 race dates on the web site after the next Race Committee meeting sometime in January.
The climax is fast approaching
With only four races left this season some non-resident members had already returned to their main homes so the entry was down to only six boats but the competitors were all keen to do well in the races on November 11th.
The weather was also not conducive to exciting competition with less than 2 knots of wind as the normal start time approached so the race officer delayed until 12 noon and reduced the race duration to 60 minutes.
At the start the wind had increased to SE 3 knots, just sufficient to move the only big and heavier boat, the Balaton Groups “Lavanter”. All boats crossed the line in less than a minute of the start signal, except “Rosita who had disappeared well down wind and had to tack back so she did not start until 16 minutes later.
The wind was very patchy with holes in it as it increased and died and the boats that started to pull ahead were those whose crews saw this and adjusted their course accordingly. At the end of lap 1 three boats, Shoestrings Omega and Dos and the Topaz, were neck and neck. By lap 3 the wind had increased to SE 4-5 knots and to ESE 6 knots by lap 5. This spread out the fleet and helped them sail faster, so most completed 5 to 7 laps in the hour except “Rosita” who only managed 2 laps.
After handicaps were applied the winner was the Omega, John Down and Andrew Walten, with the Topaz, Julian Singleton, second.
Everybody was hoping that the wind would increase a little more before the afternoon race but this was not to be and it had dropped to E 2.5 knots for the start at 2.15pm. It was a good start with all boats crossing the line within 45 seconds of the signal, except “Rosita” again but this time only 1 minute 41 seconds behind. The wind became very fickle varying from SSE to S then back again and never exceeding 3.5 knots so, once again those who read the changes did better. Only the Topaz managed 4 laps and all the others only 3, except “Rosita” who had retired.
This extra lap made it a clear win by the Topaz with “Lavanter”, Robert Hudson, Nik Novak and Shelly Ryves-Lugger, second, a great result, in the conditions, for such a heavy boat.
For the third week running the SAMM support boat, Martin, Dave and Graeme, went to the aid of a non-SAMM vessel, a large Spanish owned power boat that had experienced engine failure. Great job guys.
Phew What a Day
10 boats and their crews turned out for the SAMM race day on November 4th, the most for a day in the Autumn season.
Again the format was Average Lap Racing with the majority wanting a race time of 75 minutes. The wind was light westerly 4-6 knots when the race started and all boats got away well except Rosita with Mick on board who was 3 minutes late and the Sailfish ‘Sirocco’, Nik, Leon and Trefor, who eventually gave up trying and did not start.
The ‘Omega’, Brian and Kent’ soon took the lead hotly pursued by the others and there were some exciting moments as various boats jostled for position when rounding the marks. In the light wind, which had backed to the south west by the finish, the fastest boats completed 6 and the slowest 3 laps.
The winner ‘Omega”, Brian & Kent, just 1.45 seconds ahead of Don in the Hartley 12.2.
During the lunch break the wind went fully south, so blowing straight onshore, and started to build reaching 10 plus knots as the boats were trying to launch and get out to the start line. This required some very quick tacks back and forth across the channel, with the ‘Omega’ and Topaz getting in each other’s way. When the ‘Omega’ finally got out she unexpectedly turned back and did not compete.
By the 2.30 pm start the wind had veered to SW, increased to about 12 knots and the waves started to build. Another great start by all boats which were flying around the course so fast the Race Officer had a buoy moved to increase the length of legs 2 and 3. Again there was some close competition throughout the race, especially as the faster boats were lapping the slower.
Close to the race end ‘Sirocco’ failed to go through the start/finish gate and, despite being alerted to the fact surprisingly carried on, she had to be disqualified. The ‘Topaz’ capsized 3 times in quick succession but Julian managed to right her and continue to finish the race.
Then the Hartley capsized on the last mark before finishing (the jibe mark). Don got back up twice but could not for the third time. A shame after such a great race. He had become very cold, and had to be taken aboard the support boat, which took his boat in tow, and bought both safely to shore. Thanks to those on duty, helm Martin and crew Dave and Graeme.
In the increased wind five boats completed 8 laps and two 6. The winner was the largest boat competing Lavanter, Robert and Ian, with the smallest boat Rosita second.
No photographs were taken of the first race winners as they had left whilst Don and his boat were being recovered.
Great racing to a new format
All week the weather forecast was showing high winds and rain for Sunday October 28thso it appeared that, yet again, the scheduled SAMM race day would have to be cancelled. But luckily this changed on Saturday to give a window of good conditions on Sunday so it was on!
A new format “Average Lap Racing” was to be trialed. This requires all boats to sail as many laps as they can in a given time period, rather than completing a fixed number of laps. This offers many benefits for the great variety of boats that form the SAMM fleet. They all sail in the same conditions for the full race, the slower boats are not sailing around alone after the faster finish. All competitors get the same amount of race time on the water and are not waiting for slow boats to finish and the race day can be managed better.
The Race Officer set a very short course and a 90 minute race duration for the morning race which started promptly at 11.30. It was a good start with four of the boats over the line together and the last within a minute. The W 12-15 knot wind made for some thrilling sailing and there were many close battles throughout the race, especially between the Arabel of Robert and Trefor and the Gamba of Vernon, John and Shanae, Vernon’s granddaughter on a visit from her home in Austria. Another battle royal was between the leading two boats, the Laser 2000 of Brian and Diane and the Topaz of Julian, with the lead changing between them on almost every lap.
The course proved to be a bit too short in the conditions with the fastest boats completing 11 laps and the slowest 8 laps. The winner on corrected time was Robert and Trefor in the Arabel.
Towards the end of the race a there was a call from the beach asking that the SAMM support boat go to help a sailor in difficulty and, at the same time a small yacht, which had broken it’s very inadequate mooring, slowly drifted across the race course. In “people before boats mode” the support boat helped the sailor first and then took the yacht in tow back to the jetty at CTD. A bit of excitement for the helm Martin and his crew Sean and David and a chance for them to practice their skills.
By the time the afternoon race started the wind had dropped a little and was NW 8-10 knots but with the occasional stronger gust. The course was unchanged but the duration was reduced to 75 minutes. Again a good start, five of the fleet crossing in under 30 seconds but the Laser Radial and the Sailfish well behind and only started as the leaders were completing their first lap. Further close racing ensued but this time the Laser 2000 got the better of the Topaz and opened up a good lead. The shorter time and reduced wind strength meant that the lap count was between 4 and 9.The winner was the Gamba, much to the surprise of her crew.
Everybody expressed their enjoyment of the new Average Lap format saying it added greatly to feeling that the battle for supremacy continued to the race finished.
It turned out all right in the end
Depending on whose forecast you looked at, for Sunday October 7th, the weather was either going to be perfect for the SAMM racing or totally unsuitable! Which do you think we got?
Whilst the course was being laid and boats prepared the wind was measured at SW 5-6 knots, OK but opposite that forecast and a bit light for exciting sailing. By the time of the start of the morning race at 11.30am it had died to almost nothing.
The closest dinghy, Shoestrings Omega with Tug and Kerry on board, was only about 2 meters from the line at the gun but did not cross it until two minutes later. She was closely followed by Shoestrings Dos (Dianne and Brian), then the Laser Radial (Norman) after 4 minutes and the Topaz (Julian) after 5 minutes. Rosita (Mick) and the three larger boats were becalmed, the later being too heavy for the wind to move them.
At 11.40am the wind started to come up from the NE, the completely opposite direction, reaching the becalmed boats first and all had started by 11.42. They caught the dinghies half way down the first leg and it was a tussle at the first mark but, as usual, the dinghies slowly pulled away and were neck and neck down the second leg.
At the end of the first lap the leading boat, the Topaz, was timed at 20 mins 30 secs and the wind had increased to NE 5-6. The Omega, Radial and Dos took 21/22 minutes, then Rosita, 33 minutes, Lavanter (the terrible twins Rob and Rob) and Mistral (Peter and Justine) 25 minutes with Sirocco (George and Shelly) bringing up the rear in 34 minutes.
The wind continued to increase so the Topaz completed her second lap in just 12 mins 30 secs (lapping Sirocco and Rosita at the third mark) and the four lap race in just over 54 minutes, by which time the wind was at 8-9 knots.
This was an advantage for the back markers as the last lap for Lavanter, Mistral and Sirocco only took 11/12 minutes. It balanced out their disadvantage in the light wind of the first lap. Rosita had retired.
After applying the handicaps some of the placings were very close, separated by only 12 to 30 seconds. Lavanter (Rob and Rob) was declared the winner, Mistral (Peter and Justine) second, the Radial (Norman) third.
Photo: The winners, Robert Hudson left, Rob Peck, right
As the race officer returned to the shore for lunch the wind had increased to 15 knots and a nasty chop was developing so it was decided not to go ahead with the afternoon race. A wise decision as the wind was soon up to 18 to 20 knots.
This is when the fun started! Sirocco was on her mooring as George had hurt his shoulder and did not plan to compete in the afternoon. Lavanter and Mistral were on the jetty so the support boat followed them to their moorings to bring the crews back. On the way it was noticed that Sirocco was merrily sailing off towards Los Alcazares, the mooring chain had parted.
The support boat, whose newly fitted steering system had started to malfunction, collected Rob Hudson from Lavanter and managed to get him and Julian Singleton aboard Sirocco, which buy now was on the reef. In a deft move they managed to both stand on one side and tilt her over so she floated over the reef. Martin Bisofsky, the support boat helm, did the same by raising the engine as he was too close to the reef to motor away safely. Robert started Sirocco’s outboard and after a struggle in the worsening conditions he and Julian got her back on Ginetta’s vacated mooring and everybody returned safely to shore, albeit rather wet.
Well done and thanks to all concerned.
So, as was said at the beginning “It turned out all right in the end”.
A Beautiful Day except not much wind
The start of the morning race for SAMM members on September 23rd was delayed by 30 minutes as there was no wind at all at the usual time of 11.30.
The Mar Menor was flat calm and crystal clear around the jetty at CTD where the bottom is covered in healthy weed growth and numerous large shoals of baby fish could be seen on the surface, plus a few dinner-plate sized jellyfish. A magnificent improvement on the pea soup water of last year and a sign of a healthy environment.
The eight boats eventually started in only 1 knot of wind from the east so it was a struggle for the larger boats. The wind slowly increased as the race progressed but was still only E 2.5 knots by the end of the four laps.
The lighter faster dinghies soon pulled away from the others with the new Shoestring Group’s Topaz Omega in the lead which she held to finish in 51 minutes. The last boat Balaton’s Mistral took 97 minutes.
After applying the handicaps the results was: 1st Topaz Omega (Tug Wilson), 2nd Topaz Duo (Julian Singleton), 3rd Lavanter (Julian Pering and Peter Beck).
The afternoon race started at 2.40pm by which time the wind had increased to E 4 knots and again this rose to E 6 knots by the finish. It was a great start with all 8 boats across the line within 3 or 4 seconds of each other.
Again the Omega took the lead and was the first to finish in just under 50 minutes. With the increased wind the last boat finished in 76 minutes.
On corrected time the results were: 1st Lavanter (Julian Pering and Rob Peck), 2nd Omega (Tug Wilson and Vernon O’Byrne), 3rd Laser Radial (Norman Vener).
The winners, left to right. Julian Pering and Rob Beck, Lavanter, afternoon race. Tug Wilson, morning race.
SAMM’s Autumn Race Season Underway
The SAMM Autumn Series should have started on September 9th but the day was cancelled due to the stormy weather the Costa Calida has been experiencing this year. So it was encouraging to see 13 competitors and the 8 officials arrive bright and early on Sunday 16th. 3 Shoestring dinghies, 2 Balaton Day Sailers and 2 independent dinghies comprised the fleet.
The new timetable that sets fixed times for the day was nearly thrown into disarray when the gate to the beach refused to open and CTD had to get their maintenance man to clear the problem. Then all the locks to the jetty and the control office were found to have seized after weeks without use. However a liberal application of silicon spray and a few taps with a hammer managed to free them and the 4 lap morning race started on time at 11.30am.
The wind was from the NNW at only 3 to 5 knots so it was a reaching start with all boats starting within seconds of each other, Balaton’s Sirocco across the line first, closely followed by Shoestring’s Dos and then the remaining five in a bunch.
Within 10 minutes the wind had swung 60 degrees to NNE and after 27 minutes another 15 degrees to ENE and up to 6 to 7 knots. It finally settled at from that direction but was very variable. The race was decided mainly by how well the crews read and reacted to these early wind changes.
The first to finish was the fastest boat in the fleet, the Topaz Duo and the last one of the slowest, Balaton’s Sirocco. After the application of handicaps the Topaz was declared the winner, Balaton’s Mistral second and Sirocco third.
As the wind had increased to 6 to 8 knots, the Race Officer set the second race at 5 laps over the same course and this started promptly at 2.30pm.
John Down in his Quba caused mayhem at the start. As you know, boats on port tack must give way to boats on starboard. Most of the fleet started on port tack and were horrified to see that John had chosen starboard which meant his course after starting was almost directly down the length of the line . There were very loud shouts for “water” from John and frantic maneuvering by all the others to get out of his way without impeding anybody else. The Topaz took advantage of this to follow the Quba across the line and these two were soon tussling for the lead, which, as the faster boat, was taken by the Topaz before the first mark.
The wind was again very variable and the Race Officer was forced to shorten to 4 laps to finish in the time limit.
On the last lap Balaton’s Mistral thought they had hit the final mark so did a 360 degree penalty and re-rounded but still managed to win the race on handicap. Her sister boat Sirocco was second and the Quba third.
The new handicaps must be reasonably accurate as, after they were applied, there were some very close finishes in this race. Only 14 seconds separated 3rd and 4th, 31 secs between 4th and 5th and 19 secs between 5th and 6th.
A good day and everybody is looking forward to racing next Sunday, September 23rd.
Photo: Left, Julian Singleton, first race. George Noden and Julian Pering, second race.
New Commodore Presents Trophies
Following the unexpected resignation of our Commodore, Paul Shard, for health reasons, an EGM was called for September 12th to elect a new member to the post. George Noden, a long time member of SAMM and an experienced sailor and competitor, was duly elected un-apposed.
The EGM was followed by the normal SAMM monthly meeting during which the results (based on the low score system) of the Spring race program were announced.
17 races comprised the main series and, when the worst 6 scores were dropped, the results were completely dominated by boats from the Shoestring Group.
First the Gamba ‘Shoestring Uno’ with 28 points. Second the Laser 2000 ‘Shoestring Dos’ with 32.75 points. Third the other Laser 2000 ‘Shoestring Tres’ with 45.5 points. Shoestring members who had sailed on the boats during the series collected the trophies. The photograph shows (from left to right) new Commodore George, Dianne Hardwick for Uno, Brian Murray for Dos and John Down for Tres.
For the first time a Mini Series, comprising only the races between April 15 to may 27, was run in the hope that some of the non-Spanish resident SAMM members could also share in the glory. This did not prove the case as the winner was permanent resident John Down in his RS Quba ‘Lola’.
Details of the Autumn Series racing were also confirmed, they can be found on the Race Dates page of this web site.
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.