Communique's B&G Simrad 50 2010 report
05 Jul 2010
Communique SIMRAD 40
I said to Nicole, "how would you like to do the SIMRAD with dad?" Naturally my princess said "Yes daddy". Did she regret that? Possibly as she shivered under a pile of clothes down below at midnight becalmed opposite the lights of Kohimarama.
The day started well enough with the father and daughter team meeting for breakfast at 0630. Lynne had assembled enough food for a lengthy stay away from home (what was she thinking?).We needed two trolleys at Westhaven to lug all our stuff down to Communique.
Motoring out to the start it looked like a light westerly breeze but otherwise a nice gardening day. The early plan was a leeward start and this was duly achieved and the kite hoisted, to the sound of a VHF broadcast after the start announcing that the AP was flying. A less informative display of radio communication would require some effort. In any event we managed to undo the rubber bands on the kite, Nicole reaffirmed her view that banding kites was a dumb idea practiced by old people.
The restart found us nicely on the line with a good clear lane. Once underway it was clear the previous start was parked at North Head. My call was "let?s stay out from North Head and the wind shadow". Wrong, this was the defining decision of the race. We spent the next hour or so flopping around on the edge of the shipping channel. Eventually yours truly a world famous slow learner noticed that the fleet along the North shore had thinned out dramatically. Taking the hint we set off to the Cheltenham shore and found what the smart money had experienced over the previous hour. If I could see them I would have congratulated them.
Eventually we found we owned the left and as Nicole pointed out, never a good thing. Tacking we laid through to Rangi easily and sailed fat through to Billy Goat Point. A short clearing tack became a longer tack as "Kev" hit one of the bricks with a resounding bong and in so doing confirmed the accuracy of the Cartography. A nice kite set in the Rakino channel and the satisfying sight of a full count of the F9.2 spinnakers behind us made it time for the soup and some more of our rolls. It was very light through to Motihue against the tide. Light kite sheets and hugging the shore as much as possible. Hot Gossip rolled up behind us, possibly helped by some more aggressive downwind angles.
Progress into the night through the Tamaki straits was very pleasant with the shy kite to within 4 miles of Passage Rocks. A tendency to over trim at night makes the headsail an easier option in these marginal conditions and so the early change. We gave the Sisters a wide berth on the exit, with too many stories of bumps and bangs from this rocky islet.
A fairly lonely, cold, and uneventful sail to within 4 miles of Browns where the wind lightened and clocked west. Checking ch21 gave little encouragement and I anxiously listened for the time of high tide. I did not relish the thought of pushing the tide at the finish. The red nav light behind us proved to be Hot Gossip who crossed comfortably in front having put in a tack earlier and stayed in a better breeze line to the north. However on rounding Browns roles were reversed and we sailed away to Bean Rock initially drifting in an imaginary reaching breeze but eventually enjoying a robust 3-4 knots of wind.
On rounding Bean Rock, drift mode resumed and ahead of us a large group of fellow sufferers. The deep water of the channel did not look good, as it was now an hour after high tide. Flopping our way into the Tamaki shore aided by a brisk but brief 2 knot gust we finally crept over the finish line beside the Orakei wharf at 0206. Our final challenge was to hand start the Bukh 10 and for a time it looked as though that would defeat me so it was a great relief when with my last desperate heave Nicole closed the decompression lever and the beast rumbled into life.
This has been a remarkable race, our BSP never exceeded 6 knots and nor did TWS. It is clear as I study the results that those who managed the first leg of the race astutely finished by 2200 with some breeze and the best combination of tidal influences. The rest of us had more adverse tide Rakino to Motihue and a test of patience and determination to finish in the early morning against the tide, and in the windless vacuum before the promised NE showed itself. Are we ready for the SIMRAD 60? Yes, but not until tomorrow.