FINAL SAMM RACE DAY OF 2017
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.
A GREAT EXTRA DAY’S RACING
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.
A GREAT DAYS RACING
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.
A STROLL IN THE PARK
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.
Photo: From left to right, Don Clarke, Julian Singleton, Tug Wilson, Dianne Hardwick, Vernon O’Byrne.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN A DISASTER DARLING
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!
Seven 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.
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.
The 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 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.
Morning race: Tug/John, Shoestring Tres. Di/Jack/Vernon, Shoestring Uno. Bob/Robert/Ernie Lavanter.
WE HAVE WIND AT LAST
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.
Five 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.
A 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 (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.
In 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.
The 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.
Next race day October 15th, Pursuit racing.
Current Series Position table shown left.
EXTRA RACING, DIFFERENT FORMAT
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.
Due 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.
The 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.
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.
SAMM’S AUTUMN SERIES RACING STARTS – Sunday Sept 10th
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.
The 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.