Our autumn racing season got underway on September 10th with a good turn out of competitors that allowed 6 boats to come to the line for the first race.
In a good ENE wind of 10 knots and a fairly flat sea four boats got away well, unfortunately Sirocco, a Balaton Sailfish 18, struggled and started 5 minutes late and Shoestring Dos, a Laser 2000, was delayed when their rudder downhaul failed and they had to return to the shore to replace it.
The fleet gradually spread out and the race became more of a procession except for a tussle between John Down,single handed in his Laser Radial and Shoestring's Tres, an Omega with two crew.
The about to finish signal was sounded after 52 minutes but the crew of Sirocco did not hear it and did not cross the line to finish but retired.
When the handicaps were applied the result was the closest ever in the history of SAMM racing with first and second positions having to be calculated to two decimal places. The winner being the Omega with an average lap time of 424.8 secs and second the Laser Radial in 425.1 secs.
It was then it was noticed that the starboard end start/finish line buoy had almost sunk (later traced to the inflation valve not being completely closed) but all boats saw this and finished correctly, but by then the buoy had completely sunk. Disaster!
The management team rushed around to collect and inflate a replacement and attach a new anchor, while the support boat crew used their anchor to drag for the sunken buoy which they managed to recover and replace. This delayed the second race start until 12.40.
It was again a great start with four boats starting within 52 seconds and the last after 2 minutes.
This was a much closer race with the four leaders in a close battle throughout and lapping with a minute or two of each other. The final result was an apparent win for the Laser 2000 with the 3rd, 4th and 5th places separated by only 3 seconds and only 16 seconds separating the four scoring places.
Unfortunately the result was marred by a protest that the winner had sailed inside the beach swimming exclusion zone. This was upheld by the race officers and the Laser was designated Did Not Finish for not sailing the correct course.
First race, Omega 424.8 secs, Laser Radial 425.1 secs, Gamba 440 secs. Sailfish 460 secs.
Second race, Omega 414 secs, Sailfish 427 secs, Laser Radial 429.6 secs, Gamba 429.8 secs.