Crac-A-Jac B&G Simrad Report 2010
21 Sep 2010
After 2 races of drifting conditions and late finishes the wind finally turns up, enough wind for all 3 races in 1 day.
A real drift fest and when the breeze did arrive it hardly blew over 10knots. Still we sailed well and mostly went the right way to finish 3rd on line behind Quarter Pint and Mumbo Jumbo and taking the race on handicap.
After a slow crawl to Rangi light, a little beat in shifty conditions, by the time we got to the Hay Stack the breeze that was blowing 60knots at the mercs was nowhere to be found and we sat, and sat, and flip flopped for hours while we waited for the tide to change and hopefully bring a little breeze. When the sun went down, calls from most of the competitors wanting to call it a day and go home. One by one they disappeared and with each retirement up went our hopes that either Mumbo Jumbo or Quarter Pint would see things that way too.
Drifting our way to Gannet Rock. Both Quarter Pint and Mumbo Jumbo had called in when they rounded the rock, about 1 1/2 hours later it was our turn at the rock. By this time, around midnight, a gentle southerly had settled in and we were dead maggot for 25 miles to the finish. The tide at this time was starting to turn, so a short tack into Onetangi and some inside rotation on the guys out to sea - we're back in it. Clipping the corner by Oneroa we had made some very big gains on the two 727's ahead, then picking our way through Motuihe channel we spanked a few more sleepy yachties. It's about 03:30. Once through Motuihe we again went the right way and pulled a few more back. Finishing just 7 minutes behind Quarter Pint and Mumbo Jumbo , collecting another 3rd on line and our 2nd handicap win.
The score card had us with 2 wins and a good result in the 3rd race would be a series win
A storm the size of Australia was coming. Forecasters were saying gusts to 70 knots and 5meter swell for the west coast beaches. The now casting Friday night was reading 68knots at Manukau, solid 50's at Tiri and in the harbour at Bean Rock solid 40's. Our weather gathering was showing solid 25 - 35 for the race area and big dark grey squalls of rain and more wind.
SSANZ did the right thing and called for the heavy weather courses which meant our kite ride from Tiri to Gannet Rock was going to have to wait for another time and a short 15 miles spanking around the harbour was our treat for the day.
A great breakfast, pack up some nibbles and we're off to Crac-A-Jac to see if we can take out the series. A couple of days before all this and the handicapper in a valiant attempt to level the playing field, has suggested our number should be changed, Winning does have its drawbacks - oh well shit happens - as it turned out the numbers settled on were spot on and had us all finishing within a few minutes on corrected time, great handicapping.
Back to the race.
As we departed the marina Edwin looks at the breeze and suggests we put both reefs in. We decide that 1 might do as the breeze is forecast to hold around that 25 level and we should see what happens closer to the start time. The little jib is hanked on and we make our way to the start line????.. mmmmm ?????.a look back towards where the breeze is coming from - West Auckland - there is a nasty grey cloud building mmm????? there will be more breeze ahead of that mess and our start is 20 minutes away, time for that 2nd reef Edwin "I think I like your suggestion."
Two sail reaching towards our first mark by Rangi light, the tide has just turned and is building a few waves. Approaching the mark, Quarter Pint has got there before Mumbo Jumbo by a few lengths with us not that far behind. We have been caught by some of the bigger cruising boats doing the same course and the mark rounding is very busy with the breeze now a solid 25 with gusts to 30, cruising boats with big bows landing all around us, water and spray everywhere. Spot the gap and we gybe without any drama, almost kite country never the less we stick with our 2 reefs and little jib, catch a few waves. The other 2 727's with only 1 reef and what looks like a bigger jib are able to extend a little, a few little surfs and we peak at 11.1. Edwin is driving, he catches a great series of waves and then another opens up and we surf our way towards Northern Leading, our next turning mark. Easy gybe, set that kite up Edwin the breeze has dropped and gone aft. Then, Hewy sends us warning of things to come a little skid and the kite sheet has got itself around the boom. Kites up, brace is on, but drama with the sheet get it down, sort the sheet and a rethink. Meanwhile the others have extended with kites while we lick our wounds and listen to the wind Gods.
Islington Bay Red is our next mark tucked in the shelter of Rangi we are a little under powered, however a look back over towards St Heliers sees a foaming angry sea and that's where we are going. The beat home is going to be testing , lets hope Crac-A-Jac has some big shackles. Rounding Navy buoy we tack back towards the sheltered waters off Rangitoto and try to work the windward shore. By now the breeze has built to a solid 30 with puffs to 40kts, Bean Rock is peaking at 47 and Manukau is still 50plus ???mmmm????.. the sky to the west is very grey now and the city scape is disappearing. "Watch those guys up ahead Edwin if they start to fall over get ready to tack." One by one they all suddenly tip over,"Right tacking." As we head back towards Rangi the squall passes down the St Heliers side and turns the water brown. Last time I was out here in these conditions it was blowing 50knots and the tops of the waves were been blown off the chop so hard it felt like hail. On port tack we crash & bang, burying the bow into the steeper waves the foredeck flings water back down the deck washing over the cabin flooding the cockpit while on starboard we are sliding down the faces with the sea washing over the leeward rail submerging the windows. We are certainly overpowered with our 2 reefs and steering through this stuff just trying to keep us right side up is the goal. Putting poor little Crac-A-Jac through these conditions is very wet with the tip of the mast just a meter or so clear of the foaming sea. We are struggling to make forward ground and I'm not liking the lee shore of St Heliers , another tack to port crashing and bashing into what is now the top of the incoming tide. As you can imagine the wind against tide is building some short steep cresting waves washing over us completely. Wet wet wet.
Just a few minutes before our tack I noticed both Quarter Pint and Mumbo Jumbo pass Bean Rock, they are about 20 minutes ahead and it's touch and go whether we have time on them still. No time to worry about that now, just got to finish in good shape and try not to break anything. Later reports from those less fortunate tells a tale of broken rigs and broken steering with Taeping losing their fuel tank. A tack back onto starboard towards the finish, we are hit by more breeze and we are heading for the shallows off Tamaki Yacht Club. The waves in here are getting bigger and we are been swept towards the beach, got to get out of here! Another tack to Port back out into the tide where the bigger waves are but at least we are heading away from the beach. Past the red channel marker and tack back to the finish. A great race in testing conditions with no breakages , but where did the other 2 finish? Have we done enough to take the series?
Quarter Pint has beaten Mumbo Jumbo by 7 minutes and us by 24minutes, Quarter Pint takes 1st on line and Handicap well done boys, Mumbo Jumbo has beaten us by 17 minutes however on corrected time we have beaten them by just over 1 minute giving us a 1,1,2 score card.
Crac A Jac 4 points, Quarter Pint 7 points, Mumbo Jumbo 8 points
Finish - Winner on handicap 1,1,2