SAMM Racing Re-Starts
The St George's Day racing was the first of the racing season for The Sailing Association Mar Menor (SAMM).
The start of the season had been delayed by unforeseen circumstances and also to allow the Junior Laser 4.7 European Championships to take place at CTD, Los Alcazares where over 330 junior sailors took part over 9 very windy days; many suffering broken masts or lost sails.
By Sunday the wind had dropped, thank goodness, to a challenging but pleasant 17 knots and eight boats arrived at the start line. The two larger Sailfish were sent off 5 minutes before the dinghies, to avoid any clashes, but were soon caught up by the first of the dinghies; the Hartley 12.2 helmed by Don Clarke, closely followed by Julian Singleton, a new member, on his Topaz Uno. The wind overpowered Norman Vener on his Laser Radial who paid a heavy price by losing his rudder to the depths of the Mar Menor. The support boat quickly took GPS readings and hopefully will recover the rudder another day.
The race continued with some helms getting stuck in 'irons' and losing valuable time, but all but Norman completed the four lap race.
For the second race the course was shortened by removing the third buoy to make a triangular course as the wind appeared to be stiffening. The gusts didn't last long, but enough to cause havoc going up to the first mark with the larger Sailfish boat with Leon, Janice and Derek suffering most.
The dinghies all crossed the start line together with only Bob and Geoff slightly off the pace, but it was clear that Dianne with Vernon and Ingo meant serious business aboard the Gamba.
Meanwhile the support boat crew spotted a kite surfer in difficulty with the lines wrapped all around her, decided to offer their assistance and brought the young lady back to shore.
The back markers fought hard for their places with Mick winning out over Bob and Geoff. The only thing left was to work out the results on handicap which were as follows:
First Race Winner Topaz Uno
Second Race Winner Shoestring Cuatro
A Bit Of A Breezy Day
After three cold days of high winds, cloud and rain the weather forecast for Sunday April 30th looked good, other than the wind strength increasing to 19 knots by about 3pm, so the second race day of the SAMM Spring Series was on.
12 competitors in eight boats arrived at the beachfront of CTD Los Narejos at 10am to glorious sunshine and a nice 4-5 knot breeze, but at 11.30am the wind suddenly increased to 15 knots which is the maximum it is considered comfortable to sail in for what is supposed to be 'fun club racing'. As the start time approached it had increased to 17 knots and Don Clarke, single handed in his two person Hartley 12.2, decided not to compete.
All other seven boats got away safely for the scheduled 4 lap race, although there was some confusion over the start time and two boats went early. By the end of lap 2 the wind was gusting at about 20 knots so the race officer had to decide whether to abandon the race on safety grounds or continue. He decided that, as all boats had been trying so hard in the conditions, he would shorten the race to 3 laps.
wo boats retired, one because they got lost and the other because they missed a mark, but the other six all finished safely and there were no capsizes; a tribute to the skill of all the competitors.
When the results were calculated on handicap it was found that between 21 and 42 seconds separated each place; a superb achievement in the conditions. The winners were Tug Wilson and Vernon O'Byrne in their Laser 2000.
Many thanks went to the crew of the support boat who, despite getting very wet, did a sterling job monitoring the competitors to ensure every ones safety.
With no lessening of the wind strength it was agreed by all to abandon further racing for the day.