Race 2 2005 SSANZ SIMRAD Series
08 Aug 2005
The "Hard Labour" experience...
As predicted the competition for line honours stepped up another couple of notches for race two of the SIMRAD series, unfortunately it also ended Hard Labour's unbeaten run since the start of last years series. Well I guess all good things must come to an end ?
After the first race the forecast promised to be somewhat kinder for this race (unfortunately). With a Northeasterly it was likely to be hard on the wind all the way to Gannet Rock then a tight spinnaker reach to Navy bouy and another tight spinnaker reach to the finish. Also the day was predicted to start light and build up to 20-25 odd knots by the finish. Unfortunately the forecast was pretty accurate, these were not the conditions we wanted ! With a light to moderate beat to Gannet we wouldn't have such a advantage upwind and with the breeze building from behind plus a tight angle we would be at a disadvantage to the lighter boats with gennakers...Bugger ! Only one thing for it, had to get as far ahead as possible before Gannet and then try to hang on till the finish.
As we were the second start we had the opportunity to watch and learn from those ahead, we very quickly decided copying those who started 4 minutes late was not a option. We ended up going for a start close to 8 bouy. This kept us clear of congestion, in maximum tide, clear air, but at a slight disadvantage to a few who got a good start at the other end. Ambiance was the closest boat to us, just on our windward hip...the battle was starting already !
Prime Suspect had won the start and was ahead at the first cross, we managed to slip ahead of Ambiance but Rapport and Rebel Rouser were chopping away. Namu also quickly joined the fray. The righthand side of the course was paying big time, every other cross saw the lead change. Closing on Motuihe saw Namu ahead with a small lead over Hard Labour then Rapport followed by Ambiance and Prime Suspect. Getting to the Motuihe channel a bit ahead of the bunch was a huge help as we got up to 1.5 knots of tidal assistance and jumped away. We then tacked over towards Waiheke and on tacking back were pleased to have caught back and passed Namu to take the lead. Unfortunately this was short lived as next cross they were back in front. The battle royal continued all the way along Waiheke with Namu holding the advantage. However a big left hand shift put us back in front and also brought Ambiance right back into contention. In the final few miles to Gannet Namu again took the lead with us rounding Gannet right on their transom and Ambiance less than a minute behind. Namu started to slip away and Ambiance was catching us as they got each gust first. A little further back Rapport, Rebel Rouser, Iorangi and Sliver were looking threatening close. The breeze kept continuing to build and swing forward making it continually harder to hang on to the spinnaker. We thought this may give us a chance on Namu who had a biggish masthead on...we were wrong ! They held their kite longer than anyone ! Iorangi with her gennaker was smoking along and also passed us. We ended up having to drop the kite and 2 sail in to Navy bouy. Rapport had a small kite up which they carried right to the mark, but unfortunately the gybe saw them wrap it around the forestay and dropping them from contention. Iorangi got their gennaker up again and proceeded to hunt down and pass Namu to take the gun. We again had to watch out for Ambiance as they continued to catch up. Sliver was also catching with a gennaker which looked a lot easier to handle than our spinnaker. We hung on to third place until Rangi light when the wind swung further forward. Sliver came charging through to pass us. Ambiance started to struggle and eventually blew out their Spinnaker. We carried on to right by the finish where a extra gust plus the incoming tide saw us really struggle to lay the finish. We ended up having to luff up collapse the kite and struggle round on our side...But we made it ! Just lucky no one had a camera ready ! (I hope).
Although disappointed not to get line honours again we were pretty happy with our race considering the conditions were not to our advantage. After finishing we were surprised to see how much Cool Change had caught up on the downwind legs, this showed in the results with the girls finishing second behind us on ORC.
Once again it was a tough race. We are starting to wonder why the boat seems to insist on living up to it's name ??? maybe a name change to say "easy winnings" could be the answer. At least 3 1020's blew out spinnakers during the race. So if the last race was for the riggers, this one is definitely for the sailmakers !
So now only one race left to go, and it's the longest and involves some night sailing ! The battle for shortest elapsed time in the shorthaul division is going to be white hot. Iorangi leads over Namu, Hard Labour and Sliver but only 10 minutes between them ! I guess we will need every trick in the book to pull this one off !