Copa del Canal – Great Result – 09 October 2017


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 meters. 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 Mari­timo 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 an 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 (Vi­ctor 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 Mari­timo 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 Helimer 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 Denia wants to thank the great work of Antonio Vidal, Sports Director of RCNDenia and Race Coordinator of the Regatta, which together with Salvamento Mari­timo has coordinated the search efforts. To the regattas committee, composed by Jose 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 Jose Liden, 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-hospitalized 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!