Jagged edge's Simrad 60 report.
05 Aug 2008
Jagged edge's Simrad 60 report.
Plan was to start at the boat end on port (Couldn't lay the line on STB anyway), we managed to pretty much nail it and had Rattle and Rum alongside as we both hoisted fractional gennakers for the kite reach to north head. We could see the longhaul boats stuggling after north head with gennakers so decided we would drop ours in the lee of north head and get the boat tidy and ready for the long 2 sail to Navy Bouy, We lead the fleet past north head with the Playbouy just to leeward.
Our main competition was our good friend Richie on Jagged Edges sistership Rattle and rum. Richie has been setting the Pace for the SRs for a long time now so we know that as long as we can beat him or at least stay in contact we are doing well have him on PHRF. They had carried the gennaker much longer than us and were ok in the lulls but were slow in the puffs, we knew they would have to drop it at some stage and the breeze was still building. Finally it was too much for them and they dropped it and went back to headsail. We had made the early call to go with the #2 blade jib as we thought there would be more breeze out there. Richie had the #1 genoa on and was starting to struggle as the breeze built, we made the most of our extra height to sail low and fast in the big puffs to get ahead and on their line, we had just a very slight edge extending our lead slightly as we neared Tiri. Regular surfs up to 11-12kts as we 2 sailed into navy bouy on some decent sized waves that were building nicely for the run. As our mast is very soft in the top section we decided on the fractional gennaker as this was our only fractional sail and we didn't want to pull the top off the rig. We gybed around Navy bouy with the company of the 2 elliott 45s and playbouy and hoisted in the relative calm of tiri passage. We had just got going OK when maddock went to pull the jib down and we got hit by a nasty puff sending us into a wild broach (the SR's don't like weight forward!! Hence the reason I was driving!) We learnt here that the boat won't come up unless you ease the halyard so eventually we got the boat upright again after what seemed like a fair while down and kicking. The leeward sheet had come off the kite so we had to drop it completely and clip the sheet on again. Finally the kite was up and set again and we were off! Sitting on 12-15kts with regular bursts of 17+ nicely in control with a beer in hand, looked back to see Richie hoisting the masthead gennaker in an attempt to get past us, we were thinking that maybe we were lightweights in the SR 26 class and that Richie was about to give us a lesson on big gonads! They were looking good for a while fully on the burst before the backstay broke and the mast fell over. We thought about stopping but to be honest we were a fair bit downwind of them and we didn't think the 8hp outboard would be very effective into 30 kts and 2m waves, also there were plenty of bigger boats with inboard diesel engines and without kites who were closer and could be of assistance if required. So we carried on. The wind continued to swing aft and we ended up coming in right under the noises where the breeze dropped dramatically.
We gybed out back into the stronger breeze and bigger waves and were off again. At this stage we were wishing we had a fractional spinnaker as the boats that were poled back were doing very well against us as we were doing so many extra miles!
When we gybed back onto the lay line for Gannet rock, the mainsheet caught around the block and we did another skid. This time we tore the kite near the clew and decided to ditch it rather than ruin it completely. We had an old small masthead gennaker which we hoisted from the fractional halyard (we really didn't want to break the mast here!) it worked OK but was very unstable and about a mile out from gannet we did a little woopsie and the sheets came off again (last time we ever use clips!), this time it was both sheets so this gave us the rather unusual situation of having the gennaker attached to the end of the prod and mast but with no way of getting it on board again. Pulling it all the way back up and then running low (but being VERY carefull not to wrap it around the forestay) we got it to blow behind the main and managed to grab it and get it down.
From here we couldn't even see the next sports boat or SR26 so we didn't bother hoisting another spinnaker or gennaker and instead prepared the boat for the 25nm beat home.
Removed all the kite sheets, packed the kites, set the reef up, tidied the cockpit had a quick lunch (OK and another quick beer), and got our mind set on the task of making a downwind boat go upwind into 20-30kts for 25nm!!
Some fickle breeze around gannet rock and then into it, to say it was unpleasant was an understatement. We had decided to run with our #2 which is a full sized non overlapper and 1 reef. This combo was nice in under 25kts but we were not so flash in the puffs, I was really happy with how the new main looked reefed, we had never done it so had no idea how it would go. We were able to flatten it out completely and somehow managed to hold our own up the beat. We could just see Grunty Chicken and one of the other SR26s Trainsmash a fair way back. R'n'B was also just behind us and gaining a bit with every big puff. We managed to extend away from Trainsmash which surprised us as we thought they might be faster upwind than us with the new keel. R'n'B, Cool Change and Grunty chicken slowly caught up to us and Grunty Chicken finally crossed just ahead of us thru Motuhie Passage. We had lumped the #2 the whole way thinking that the breeze would be lighter as we go closer to the city but this didn't seem to be the case as we still had solid breeze right into bean rock! We did seem to be going much better in the flat water and a combination of a good shift and the flat water enabled us to pass Grunty Chicken again and cross the line just behind R'n'B to be the 3rd prod boat across the line and 3rd on PHRF behind the 2 Elliot 9s who had both had a great race.
Great day on the water but seriously hard work.