Racing again at last!
This year’s high winds had forced the last 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 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 did not increase, 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 fourth 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 within 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.