All week the weather forecast was showing high winds and rain for Sunday October 28th so it appeared that, yet again, the scheduled SAMM race day would have to be cancelled. But luckily this changed on Saturday to give a window of good conditions on Sunday so it was on!
A new format “Average Lap Racing” was to be trialled. This requires all boats to sail as many laps as they can in a given time period, rather than completing a fixed number of laps. This offers many benefits for the great variety of boats that form the SAMM fleet.
They all sail in the same conditions for the full race, the slower boats are not sailing around alone after the faster finish. All competitors get the same amount of race time on the water and are not waiting for slow boats to finish and the race day can be managed better.
The Race Officer set a very short course and a 90 minute race duration for the morning race which started promptly at 11.30. It was a good start with four of the boats over the line together and the last within a minute.
The W 12-15 knot wind made for some thrilling sailing and there were many close battles throughout the race, especially between the Arabel of Robert and Trefor and the Gamba of Vernon, John and Shanae, Vernon’s granddaughter on a visit from her home in Austria.
Another battle royal was between the leading two boats, the Laser 2000 of Brian and Diane and the Topaz of Julian, with the lead changing between them on almost every lap.
The course proved to be a bit too short in the conditions with the fastest boats completing 11 laps and the slowest 8 laps. The winner on corrected time was Robert and Trefor in the Arabel.
Towards the end of the race a there was a call from the beach asking that the SAMM support boat go to help a sailor in difficulty and, at the same time a small yacht, which had broken it’s very inadequate mooring, slowly drifted across the race course.
In “people before boats mode” the support boat helped the sailor first and then took the yacht in tow back to the jetty at CTD. A bit of excitement for the helm Martin and his crew Sean and David and a chance for them to practice their skills.
By the time the afternoon race started the wind had dropped a little and was NW 8-10 knots but with the occasional stronger gust. The course was unchanged but the duration was reduced to 75 minutes.
Again a good start, five of the fleet crossing in under 30 seconds but the Laser Radial and the Sailfish well behind and only started as the leaders were completing their first lap. Further close racing ensued but this time the Laser 2000 got the better of the Topaz and opened up a good lead.
The shorter time and reduced wind strength meant that the lap count was between 4 and 9.The winner was the Gamba, much to the surprise of her crew.
Everybody expressed their enjoyment of the new Average Lap format saying it added greatly to feeling that the battle for supremacy continued to the race finished.