SAMM – It could have been a disaster, darling

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SAMM - It could have been a disaster, darling

PEOPLE arriving at CTD Los Alcazares for the latest SAMM race day were expecting the 15 knot winds forecast the day before…but not the 18 knots and gusting 21 that they were greeted with!  With the water fairly flat thanks to an ENE wind the question was, “shall they risk it?”  They did…

Seven boats come to the start at 11.30am followed 10 minutes later by Colin and Leon on Mistral. All made the first mark but, tacking upwind on the way to the second, the first disaster happened. Julian in his Topaz Duo capsizes eight 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.

And finally, 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.

The Race Officer is not sure if the afternoon race should go ahead but everybody except Leon is keen to go. Seven boats start at 2.40pm 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. All the boats completed an exciting race, with Lavanter managing to haul in other boats and cross the line in 5th position.

Results on handicap:

Morning race: Tug/John, Shoestring Tres. Di/Jack/Vernon, Shoestring Uno. Bob/Robert/Ernie Lavanter.

Afternoon race: Tug/John, Shoestring Tres. Julian/Bernard, Topaz Duo. Di/Jack/Vernon, Shoestring Uno.

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