THE Sailing Association Mar Menor (SAMM) has been in the thick of it recently, carrying out two spectacular rescues within days of each other.
The crew of the 24ft Stryker catamaran Hamoor was sailing to Los Najeros after enjoying a day out in Playa Honda when they came across a vessel in distress in the Mar Menor.
At first, they thought that the three people in the boat a distance from them were waving in greeting, as is normal amongst the sailing community. Waving back, it was not until they noticed the white flag that they realised that something was wrong.
Dropping sail, the Hamoor made its way over to the boat, which turned out to be a four metre dinghy, half full with water. With mast and boon down, and the sail dragging in the sea, the dinghy really was in trouble.
The boat contained a Spanish man and two young children around 10 years of age. Although they were wearing lifejackets, the two boys were visibly distressed and the language barrier probably didn’t help the matter.
The Hamoor’s crew, with the help of the Spaniard, managed to get the boys into the safety of the catamaran, before they proceeded to tow the half-sunk dinghy back to Los Nietos and dry land.
Reflecting on the incident, it seems that the SAMM members may well have been their only chance of help. With evening approaching, and no wind, the dinghy had no way of making it to dry land without help, and there were no other vessels in sight.
A couple of days later, other SAMM associates came across a pair of lads in canoes in distress in the water. One of the boys had got himself tangled up in jellyfish netting, and his canoe was capsized: all but vertical.
Although the canoe could not be saved, SAMM members managed to pull the occupant to safety, and they all returned to shore together.
These two incidents illustrate the benefit of having highly-experienced sailors active in the community, and that when working together SAMM members can achieve great results.