Surveillance's B&G Simrad 60 2009 Report
12 Aug 2009
It was the usual SIMRAD start for us, a few days of comparing changing weather forecasts, debating techniques, and prepping the boat.
Then the usual pre dawn get up, last minute provisions, a flask of hot water for tea, and a fat pack from McD's on the way to the marina.
A quick rig of the spinnaker sheets, and we were off down the river!
Now the usual debates, do we use the #2 to suit the forecast, or the #1 to suit what was happening now? We go for the #1, and hope we are off the wind when the forecast blow comes in! HA!
We got to the start area in plenty of time and enjoyed cruising up and down out the back trying to keep out of the big boys way, then as the earlier divisions shot off, we unwound the genoa and the adrenaline started to pump.
The Committee end of the line looked favoured, but we needed to be on port for the first leg, as usual the favoured end was pretty crowded, with a number of boats opting for a starboard tack, so we dipped and dived and finally got to the line on port in about the middle, and out of harms way.
We appeared to be in fairly good shape on the first beat, using the dying current to squirt us toward the corner of the channel, we debated going left then, Comfortably Numb did and seemed to do well for a while, but opted to push across to the hopefully slacker water closer to Rangi, It turned out to be a good choice as we lifted nicely and had the benefit of the slacker water, and by the time we were at the north end of the channel we seemed to still be well in touch, if not in front of most of the other trackers, unusual for us!
Rounding Rangi light the wind was building so we pointed towards the top of Rakino, sails cracked and punching through some fairly big waves, accompanied for a while by a couple of dolphins!
Around the top of Rakino, the fun really started, it was now just possible to fly a kite, we thought, as did many others. A quick hoist in fairly lumpy conditions and it was all on. With the pole right forward we were just able to keep it filled, as soon as it filled we rocketed forward, and the pressure on the helm got worse and worse, until we had to dump the sheet to stop rounding up, and start again. We learnt a lot about settings in the next 15 min or so as we struggled to stay under control, then realised that to keep the kite we were sagging to leeward of where we wanted to go.
It looked like most of the others around us had come to the same conclusion, because all the kites quickly vanished and we were two sailing again, Elly and Comfortably Numb hung on for a while longer, but didn't seem to be going any faster than us, in fact when we got to Gannett as far as we could tell Aquaholic and Elly were the only boats of our division ahead of us.
A very quick gybe around Gannett, and we were back on the wind again as the wind started to go to the west, pick up more, and it began to rain as well. We saw Elly stop and change to their #2, and we rolled in our #1 a bit to try and get a bit more control, but as it turned out the wind eased slightly, and went a bit further west, so we were able to roll out the #1 again, and with the main mostly eased we were able to maintain a good pace.
By now Elly was to windward, and a bit behind, and Aquaholic was level but well to leeward, we?d lost sight of the others in the murk.
A couple of long starboard beats with a couple of short tacks to clear headlands, then we were heading down the Motuihe channel. By now we were regularly being overtaken by the big boats as they seemed to be travelling twice as fast as us.
Towards the end of the channel, we realised that we had only Elly ahead of us, and we were gaining! Then Elly slowed down as they changed back to their #1, unfortunately for us they were pretty slick and we didn?t quite catch them before they were off again.
Past Emu point, more dolphins, and we were concentrating on squeezing everything we could out of the now dying breeze to keep up with Elly.
We stayed high, and were promptly rewarded as the boats to leeward ran into a hole and seemed to stop for a while, we were feeling very pleased with ourselves until around lliomama the same thing happened to us.
Then the long drag to Bean, regularly being undertaken by Cats, and bigger boats, and watching Elly, working all the while to keep the speed up.
Elly just got to Bean before us, on the reach to the line we slowly caught them up, getting to less than a boat length behind, but they made sure we were not going to get past them, keeping themselves between us and the line.
Past the committee boat, Elly got the gun, but we were only 10s behind, which we were pretty pleased with. All in all a good day at the office, roll on September.
Thanks again SSANZ for a great event.