B&G Simrad 60 Race Report...
05 Aug 2008
Haven't had much luck with the weather this year ! Two races, two postponements ! The first race I even had to leave the country so it could improve enough to get a start.
During the week leading up to the race everything was looking good. Granted it was forecast to be breezy, but still within SSANZ's comfortzone. That was until Friday when metservice upped the forecast to a gale warning. Both predictwind and metvuw predictions had also deterioated to the point we were getting worried. Bugger, going to have to be a super early start and some early morning phone calls to make a decision about racing. Unfortunately all the forecasts seemed to suggest great breezes to start with, building thoughout the day with a nasty front due around 3-4pm... This would be when most the fleet would be coming back from Gannet with Waiheke as a leeshore. Sunday was looking like a better option !
In reality the front was late and we could have got the race in BUT without a crystal ball we were not to know (unlike so many armchair experts who have never been wrong yet!). Sunday was another super early start. Metservice had upped their forecast for Sunday to yet another gale warning but this time predictwind and metvuw didn't agree.... What should we do ??? At least this time the wind was more westerly and all forecasts suggested improving weather during the day and no nasties. Decision made "Let's have a crack, and make a final call on the water just prior to the start"
So I drove into town, cursing a massive downpour of rain, picked up a mate to help and got to Westhaven as the rain stopped. In the RNZYS RIB there isn't much protection, so it was full wet weather kit on then charge down to Orakei to drop the start buoy in. We then became a water taxi to ferry the race committee out from Okahu bay to the Committee boat "Hobbit" which was kindly provided by Rick Picot. After that a quick tweek to the start buoy position before picking a few victims for safety inspections. Time quickly disappeared and we were into the start sequence meaning we had to switch to our next role...official photographer. While I snapped pic's my mate Matt ticked off every boat that started. After all the boats had got away...and there is always one that is late, in this case a boat that came up from buck's direction who instead of starting by the wharf, insisted on sailing all the way to the other end of the line to start and in the process probably added 5 minutes to their elapsed time ! We went back to the committee process for morning tea and cross referencing of our starting lists. Steve and Dougall then got onto contacting the non starters we hadn't heard from before updating the coastguard with who was racing.
Everyone went home for a while but on the VHF news came though that Rattle n Rum had dropped it's mast. We soon heard everyone was all ok and the situation was under control. We had a few retirements before hearing Sublime had broken their boom.
It didn't seem long before it was time to head back for the finish. Taeping was first across the line, regularly flying a hull on their approach. Elysium was leading the cruising fleet with Simply the Best not far behind until getting a little to close in just before Bean rock. When they hadn't moved for some time we jumped in the RIB to try and help out. It probably took 15-20 minutes, a couple of bigger gusts and some persuasion from the RIB to stop the boat trying to round up before she was finally freed. Just like driving a car, it's often the home stretch where the accidents happen !
The rest of the finishes seemed pretty uneventful. We managed a few more safety inspections. Stand out performers would have to be Truxton, E nine and Playbuoy.
Finally after accounting for every starter it was back to westhaven after a long day...but no. Not over yet ! a competitor with engine issues had stolen Hobbit's berth. The RIB was pressed back into action to tow the offender somewhere else so we could pack up and head home.
Post race feedback would suggest predictwind and metvuw were on the money weatherwise with gusts to 30 but predominantly winds in the mid 20's. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.
See you in a month for the next race, which hopefully will be able to start on time.