One Very Good Race
There were 17 competitors sailing 10 boats for the SAMM races on May 19th. There was a dead calm when everybody arrived, but as forecast, the wind picked up to 4.5-5 knots at the start, then built quickly to 6-8 knots where it remained for the whole 75 minute (4500 seconds) race.
Everybody made a good start and the fastest boat in the fleet, Topaz Duo, soon pulled ahead, hotly pursued by two groups; the Laser Radial, Laser 1, Omega and Laser 2000 then a few minutes later the two Sailfish 18’s and the two Gamba’s with the diminutive Sea Hopper bringing up the rear. These two groups had some exciting and tight racing, with boats constantly changing position as the individual crews tried different tacks to gain the advantage and lapping within seconds of the rest of the group. This order continued for a few laps, but eventually a couple of mishaps soon had the fleet spread out all around the course. The ‘about to finish’ signal was sounded at 4230 seconds and the boats finished in between 4252 and 4619 seconds. The corrected times gave the honours to the Sailfish Mistral (Julian Pering and Steve Rocks) with the other Sailfish Ginetta (Ian Sinclair and Peter Beck) second, just 3 seconds behind; a brilliant performance by the two largest boats in the fleet.
By the time the 5 minute warning signal was sounded for the second race, the wind had increased to 12 gusting 15 knots, the maximum for safe sailing for SAMM members, most of whom are between 60 and 75 years old! Within four minutes, the wind had increase further to 15 gusting to 18 so the Race Officer was forced to cancel.
The 2019 SAMM ‘Spring Bash’
For the last 8 years the SAMM Social Committee has organised the annual Spring Bash at the Costa Narejos Hotel.
The event started on May 14th with a ‘Sail to Sardine Island’ (Isla Perdiguera) in the Mar Menor for a picnic and swim. Eleven boats carrying 42 people struggled to get there in time for lunch due to the very light wind. The only boat to come from outside the Mar Menor, Lottie, had to motor from San Pedro Marina. A great time was had by all and everybody had a great sail back to their various bases as the wind came in strongly in the afternoon. Dinner at the hotel that evening was followed by a Fun Quiz complied by Paul Shard.
May 15th morning was taken up by the regular monthly SAMM meeting, followed by a free afternoon, then dinner and a Barn Dance at the hotel in the evening; a pity no photos as some of the dancing was hilarious.
May 16th offered a free ‘do as you please’ morning, a Chinese banquet at the Restaurant Asia at 1.30pm, with ten pin bowling at the Ozone Bowl to round off the celebrations.
Many thanks go are due to Jill Chorley and her Social Committee colleagues for all their hard work to make this a success.
The Drama and The Excitement
For the SAMM races on June 2nd, 10 boats crewed by 15 members came out for the morning race with the wind NEN 6.5 knots. All got a good start except Sirocco who was way off the line when the gun went and this was the start of several incidents that affected the race.
Sirocco had problems setting her foresail and eventually started the race 68 minutes late, but did manage to complete one lap before the finish. The start line/gate had been set at a slight angle to the wind and was difficult for most boats to negotiate. Ginetta got it completely wrong, snagged the port mark’s mooring line and dragged the buoy out of position. This caused most of the following boats to sail way off their best course before their lap time could be recorded. At this point Ginetta decided to retire. Next came the invasion of two canoes carrying two women and five young girls aged about 8. They did not have the skill or strength to battle the 7/8 knot wind from the east and just kept going round in circles in the path of the boats. They were told to steer to the leeward of the jetty to get sufficient shelter to reach the beach.
The support boat re-positioned the gate buoy and the race continued, with some very close racing until the Radial tacked too close and to windward of Dos, heeled a lot and caught the shroud on Dos with her mast top, precipitating a slight collision. The Radial had to do a 720 penalty, but Dos did the same, which probably put her one place lower in the finishing order. The corrected average lap times were well spaced except the notable exception of the 3rd placed Cuatro at 469.02 secs and 4th Topaz at an incredibly close 469.05 secs.
The afternoon race started in an E 6/7 knot wind which gradually built to 8/9 knots. This is perfect for the SAMM fleet as it is not so strong to make the lighter dinghies struggle, but of sufficient strength to get the heavier day boats sailing well.
All boats crossed the start line in a bunch; most on the favoured port tack, but Mistral chose starboard and had right of way; lots of shouting and deft manoeuvring by those on port to keep out of her way. The same occurred at the first mark as almost the whole fleet tried to round together. The leading three completed their first lap within 5 seconds of one another and then continued round the course with just inches between them and this very close racing continued throughout the race. The corrected times were equally close. The winner recording an average lap time of 333.86 seconds, 2nd 339.90, 3rd 346.33, 4th 350.08 with the tail enders not far behind; exciting for the competitors and equally exciting for the spectators.
Phew A Very Close Call
With high winds forecast from about 1pm, the SAMM Race Officer on June 9th again decided to try to get two races run back to back.
With numbers down slightly as competitors started to leave Spain for the summer months, 7 boats, with 12 crew members, started promptly at 11.05am for the 1 hour race. Uno crossed right on the gun with the other close behind and Ginetta bring up the rear 11 seconds later. Although only 5-7 knots, the wind was very fluky, swinging from W-S and back constantly. This caught the Topaz out and she capsized at the first mark, but was soon up and racing again. The boats soon spread out all round the course as some competitors read the wind shifts better than others.
The last boat finished at 12.06 and the second race started at 12.20, in a 7-8 knot SSW wind, again with Uno fractionally in front and all over inside 10 seconds except the Radial which had returned to shore to adjust the rig and followed 1 minute later, by which time the wind had become S 9-12 knots.
This was a much better race with some close battles, especially between the Laser Standard and Uno just ahead of the Radial and Cuatro. The Laser Standard and the Radial both pulled ahead of their rival by a minute at the end of lap 5.
At the finish the wind had reached 12-13 knots and soon built to over 15. By then everybody was safe on shore, but it was still a very close call by the Race Officer.
The popular winner of both races on corrected time was Uno, sailed by Vernon O’Byrne and Paulo Johnston. Great performance gentlemen.