Yacht Swagman

Used a Get Out of Jail Free Card today

15 October 2017
This second race in the autumn 5 Clubs series was hosted by RCN Altea, saw us playing this card to pick up a second place in Division B.

Absolutely crap start, maybe 30 seconds too early, right on the start boat with a fleet of hollering Spanish boats all pushing themselves, and us, up and up.

A few were pushed over. We got pushed out. Had no option but to bail out just missing the start boat, effecting as swift a 360 as we could do, whilst avoiding the remaining late starters, to eventually settle back down and chase the leaders.

The course was from Alteas Marina up northward into a N/NE 10 knot breeze, starboard around a fish farm off Calpe, back down due south to then round a fish farm off Altea also to starboard - and into the finish.

Our two Division B running mates, Paguelin and Dale Andar, had got a clear start. Dale Andar plugged away on starboard, paralleling the coast and heading north. Paguelin tacked off and went offshore.

We mirrored Dale Andar, and whilst we couldn't match her height, had a tad more speed, and it was soon obvious the course we took was the right one. The N/NE winds took a huge veer as they came round Cabo Croix, a high cliffed headland that lay across our path, and we were both able to lift and lift as we got close, to eventually gain 40 degrees on the boats behind. Quite surreal sailing parallel with the curving cliffs (at times only 10 metres off) but managed to pop out of the headland lying 3rd and 4th boats in the combined fleets of both Division A and B.

Got round the Calpe fish farm in good order. Slick kite hoists, and off we went chasing Dale Andars transom running before freshening winds heading south. With her symmetrical kite we had to put in two more gybes than her, but again, pretty close as we rounded the Altea fish farm and with our A2 carried shy, began the starboard reach into the finish a mile or so shoreward. Trouble was we had a big kited 44XP Division A yacht closing on our stern and threatening to kill our wind. Had no choice but to discourage them with a luff or two and once she gave up and settled to try and get through us to leeward, we continued our chase on Dale Andar. Didn't get her, but knowing she owed us time and knowing we were close, I was pretty sure we might at long last in this series, get a top spot.

But sadly right on the line, as the 44XP surfed inside us to finish, a Division C yacht, coming into the line on port, simply ignored our shouts and left us no option but to climb above her stern and avoid a collision, before we too could bear away and slide across the line.

A real bummer - we learnt later we had missed out on 1st place by 2 seconds! The offending yacht said sorry in the bar and bought us some beers but afraid it didn't make up for the trophy loss!

But a great day again on the water in warm winds and bright autumnal sun. Our crew of Sue, Kevin, Edo, Eric and Rob were brilliant all day. Top jobs all round. It was me who buggered the start, and me that ducked the Division C boat. Sorry chaps. Should have rammed him.........

On. On.

Copa Del Canal Rescue

10 October 2017
The chart above shows where Sonia was picked up. The line shown is her approximate line of swim / drift over the seven or so hours in the sea without Lifejacket. One tough lady who never gave up.

Here's a link to local reporting in English.


And here's a link to Spanish report including a video clip taken from the helicopter as she was picked up.

Helicopter Video

Copa del Canal - Great Result

09 October 2017
Sonia looking remarkably happy in the rescue helicopter

There were 22 yachts lined up for the 1100 start on Saturday. Very light variable winds saw the fleet crawl across the line and very shortly after - some heavier weather arrived.

We had worked our way south east and was one of the first boats to feel the strengthening wind, and within minutes found ourselves beating into 20+ knot gusting 28, smashing through the short sharp seas that came up quickly in the shallow coastal waters off Denia.

Torrential rain soon followed, reducing visibility at times to 100 metres. It was so heavy it flattened out the seas, and created the opportunity to change down to our small AP headsail, and still maintain our speed.

Approximately 9 miles out we first saw one of the larger yachts to leeward turn back, then another. We hadn't heard anything on the regatta race frequency, but checking with another English speaking yacht on the radio, we learnt the race was being abandoned.

Here's an abridged report as published after by RCN Denia. Excuse the English, blame Google Translate.

Everything has been in a scare after finding S.M, Valencian sailor who after taking the exit of the XXI Cup of the Channel has fallen to the water at 11.30 am on Saturday morning. Eight hours later, the Salvamento Marítimo helicopter has located the 44-year-old sailor with symptoms of hypothermia alive and the helicopter has moved her to the airport of Manises (Valencia), where she landed a few minutes before 20 hours and a ambulance has taken her to the hospital La Fe de Valencia.

The sailor of the Barcelona yacht 'Oceanic' has fallen into the water with four of her crewmates past 11.30 hours and 1.4 miles east of Denia. Only four of them have managed to get back on board and the difficult weather conditions have caused the loss of sight of S.M in seconds.

The sportswoman has been located 3, 2 miles southeast of Alicante (that's incorrect), which means she has drifted two miles to the southeast during the hours she has been missing, according to Maritime Rescue.

Rescue teams, along with the regatta boats and the organizing committee, have done an exemplary search. After the loss of the sailor, all the boats have returned to the point of loss that marked the Oceanic vessel and have been tracking the area until after 15.30. Without success they have returned to land to organize and to comb the area again coordinating next to the devices of Maritime Rescue (Helimer), Generalitat (Víctor 1) and Provincial Consortium of Firemen of Alicante.

At 16.00 hours, the regatta's companion boats have returned to the sea to comb the area and collaborate with the search again, along with the helicopter of the provincial Consortium with pilot, co-pilot, diver, health and two rescuers to the 19.00 hours, when it started to dusk while the helicopter Salvamento Marítimo took the last laps before the big news.

In the search device, coordinated by the Center of Maritime Rescue of Valencia, in addition to the helicopters of the Generalitat and firemen and the Hemimer 206 and Helimer 205 of Maritime Rescue, have intervened the vessels LS Diana Red Cross, Salvamar Levante Rescue Maritime and the safety boats of the regatta, Tagomago II and Nerissa.

The Royal Nautical Club Dénia wants to thank the great work of Antonio Vidal, Sports Director of RCNDénia and Race Coordinator of the Regatta, which together with Salvamento Marítimo has coordinated the search efforts. To the regattas committee, composed by José Luis Aranzueque, Evaristo Cabanell and Jorge San Miguel for the involvement and order of all the boats in the search procedure.

To Nerissa vessels of Juan José Lidón, RCND Fishing Vocal, and Tagomago II of Juan M. Riera, RCND Vice President accompanied by J. Antonio Carmona, Commodore of the RCND, to offer all their support and effort without rest in the hours of search. To the Red Cross of Denia, who has been on land and sea helping, encouraging and giving all their support to the crew. To Fernando Calatayud, manager of RCND that has provided the support and encouragement to the Oceanic crew until the last moment.

And all the boats participating in the regatta XXI Canal Cup, who have worked side by side throughout the day without fainting.

The city of Alicante is 60 miles south, so they found her still off Denia, but she is a remarkably strong and resilient lady to have survived so long in 24C surf cresting waters.

The surge in emotions we all felt after turning back into the marina at dusk after searching all day, thinking the lady was lost, to then hear she had been found alive, was simply fantastic. Tears and hugs all round.

We danced the night away to flamenco music along with the non hospitalised remainder of the all girl crew from 'Oceanic' and their supporters. A lovely group of very happy ladies. Great, great evening.

No prizes this race, but the best result we've ever had!

Autumn Series 5 Clubs - La Vila

01 October 2017
Token crew reps with our 3rd place trophy

Our grandchildren will love it. A shame they couldn't put the keel on the right way round, eh?

Very light winds suited a very small fleet at this first race in the Autumn 5 Clubs series. We only had four in our fleet so picking up 3rd place was hardly auspicious - but we tried to do better.

With sub 7 knots winds from the east the course out from La Vila was to round Benidorm Island some 5 miles away, and then head back downwind home. Couldn't be simpler, right?

Gut feeling was to head offshore after the start. Seatrack routing software said short tack up the rhumb line. Local top boat all headed inshore.

What's a boy to do? We copied the local top boats and it was the wrong call. Gut feeling would have worked much better.

One Division B boat went offshore and totally cleaned up. 'Chrono' a Russian Farr 34.7 almost beat all the top 50' local heros to the island. We rounded it maybe 20 minutes after her.

The run back was a drift affair with winds going from 3 to 8 knots max. Even the symmetrical kites were being flown shy to try and gain pace but invariably they worked better than our asymetric. No way we could make up what we had lost upwind to Chrono, and we were further trumped by another symmetrical Division B 37' Grand Soleil, to eventually drift over the finish line in third position close by 1600 and just inside the cut off time.

Results were as per finishing order, so we got awarded the cute model yacht trophy (with its rear facing keel).

Long slow day and our crew of Sue, Keving Moss, Eric Degerland, Laurent Montesse, Rob Mitchell and Chris Deboer all did well, totally focussed right to the end.

Sad day as in the dock we said our farewells to Laurent who having completed his local studies, is off to his future in France then Canary Islands. He presented us with a team bottle of his favoured VSOP Calvados from his native Normandy. We presented him with a can of beer and some olives........

So yet another trophy for the sideboard / grandkids presented a tthe BBQ, and it's now on on for next weekends Cope del Canal. A much more serious affair from Denia over to San Antonio starting Saturday. We are going 5 up. Let's hope the forecast light winds are what we get on the day.

Fingers crossed!

Jornadas Pitiusas Regatta - We did good!

26 September 2017
From left to right, that's Eric Degerland (CBYA), Marian Volker (CBYA), Sue and self (CBYA and RORC), Edo Volker (CBYA) and Teddy Chad (RORC).

The only one missing from the podium was Laurent Montesse who had to leave before the presentations at CN Ibiza on Sunday night.

Every one of the crew sailed really well, allowing us to pick up third place in Division B and a classy new trophy to go on the sideboard. Huge improvement over last year.

Race 1, run Friday from Ibiza town, saw us beating at the start in fresh winds along the bottom coast of Ibiza island to a finish boat set at the eastern end near the islet of Tagomago. Good blustery start in the fleet of 45, and despite the earlier winds exceeding the design limits on our new Genoa, it helped punch us upwind in the initially lumpy seas alongside the bigger yachts, and as the winds eased and the water flattened, it really came into its own. Super height and speed compared with our old Genoa. We crossed that finish line a good ten minutes ahead of any similar sized boat, but a surprisingly low rated Dufour 40 just in front of us secured 1st place. We got a 2nd.

Race 2 was the second half of the day timing us from the boat line up around the top of Ibiza and running back to San Antonio. We did well over the first half broad reaching with our assymetric A2, but strayed a little too far off the northern coast and simply couldn't keep up with the symmetrical kites hugging the coast in the medium breeze run to the finish. It got us a 5th.

Nice nice nice night out in backstreet San Antonio, and Saturday saw us off on a course with a running start out from the bay, and over around Conillera islet and down the Ibizan west coast to pop out twix Ibiza and Isla de es Vedra, to then tight reach across south to the finish off Savena on Formentera. It was another solid performance in that 3rd race. We stuck with our plan and went north from the start across the bay under A2 and found ourselves up with the big boys again as we turned south around the islet. The reach down the coast was a gamble with the high cliffs forming wind holes and the valleys creating wind tunnels, but staying a little offshore and when we went in, swopping from A2 to Code 0 half way, again saw us get through the notoriously fickle area using back currents close inshore by Vedra, in good order. The blast reach which followed over to Formentera gave us a chance to cool down and we ended up with a 4th.

At our debrief over dinner in Savena, we worked out that we had no chance of doing the well rated Dufour (who had by then 3 X 1st places) but the two next best were local boats (Espada 34s) and were the ones we could beat - with a bit of focus. So an early bed (01:30) saw us all ready, fresh and eager, on the Savena start line Sunday.

Possibly the best start we've ever got. Right up to pace, right on the favoured committee boat, 5 seconds to spare. Focussed on height and speed in the sub 7 knot breeze on mirror like water, trimmed like demons, and didn't look back.

Light airs saw the new Genoa prove its worth on the two hour beat down the Formentera west coast, short tacking into and out of every little indentation to try and stay away from a northerly flowing current. It worked for us. We popped out to round Cap de Barbaria leading our fleet (including the Dufour 40) and with a slick hoist of the A2, and carried really shy, it's 110 sq metres with staysail set inside helped us cream across towards our finish set off Punta Roja. The few 50 footers ahead acted as wind vanes, and as it was obvious the wind was backing by the point, we continued to sail tight and high, and made the line maybe ten minutes before any other Division B boat. We then turned northward running before the building winds towards the end of Race 5 at Ibiza Town.

Super race leg for us. One of the Espada 34s carrying a symmetrical caught us on our zig zagging assymentric run, but clearly our early night to bed met the favour of the Gods. They had sneaked ahead but some 6 miles out from the line the wind both veered and freshened, allowing us to take the stern of the Espada, climb a few degrees higher, to starve her of some wind and take back our lead. We led her over the line by maybe 30 seconds. It always feels so good, doesn't it?

When results were announced later that evening we had secured a 1st for Race 4, and a 2nd for Race 5, and discarding our 5th the total points scored moved us up from 4th to 3rd. The very nice glass trophy we got for that is what Sue's holding in the photo.

I keep saying it. But a brilliant weekend.

Super company - the crew were just great on the boat and in the bars - a pleasure to sail with.
Got our very first 1st Place result since we brought Jumbuck to Spain - a milestone.
Got a series result not to be sneezed at and not least gained a degree of further respect from our local Spanish competitors.

Go go my weekend warriors of pensionistas........(with apologies to Teddy and Laurent).

Ibiza Here We Come

19 September 2017
There's a small fleet of Calpe boats all heading east to take part in this weekends Jornadas Pitiusa regatta.

Weather looks good. Winds medium to light from the east, and mainly sunny skys.

On last years experience, this was probably our favoured annual event. Great competition, three good parties, and lovely locations in Ibiza Town, San Antonio and Savena on Formentera.

It's also our anniversary event, last years being the first time we raced Jumbuck here on Spanish waters. Managed to secure a 5th spot from 19 in our Division, and 14th overall in the complete fleet of I believe, nearly 50.

We are a year older, a year wiser, and hopefully a year more skilled in sailing these waters. Fingers crossed for an improved result!
Vessel Name: Jumbuck
Vessel Make/Model: J109
Hailing Port: Lymington UK and Calpe Spain
Crew: Sue and John (here crossing the line to win the 2007 ARC) on Swagman
Married 46 years and been sailing for 35 of those. Keen racers and cruisers starting in Australia and now based out of Europe. From 2004 to 2009 we cruised most summer months on our yachts exploring UK to West Med, East Med to Caribbean. [...]
In 2010 tried the darker side with a classic 45' motor launch. It opened up the rivers, canals and backwaters of Europe for a year, but that did not hit all buttons, and yacht racing drew us back. Got a Scow dinghy for club racing in 2011 and called her Billy Can, got a J109 for racing 2012 and [...]
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Added 2 September 2011