Hard Labour Race Report SIMRAD 50 2006
09 Jul 2006
The Price we pay...
During the Post race debrief with the other 1020 sailors on "Share Delight", between lies, an interesting subject came up. "The high price we pay to win !" One of the other boats lost a near new spinnaker, complete with sheets, snapshackles and halyard and they didn't even win. Another skipper remarked "Jeez, thats approaching $100 per mile. You could have done the course in a chopper for less than that !" On the Hard Labour we destroyed a laptop and got alot of water in the boat more than what came aboard thoughout the entire Round North Island Race. The clean up (when we finally finish) will take longer than the race !
So what happened ? I had a very busy morning, (after staying up to 1am the previous night along with Dougall to prepare results spreadsheets, check handicaps etc) the boat still needed to be sorted for racing, plus I had to do a interview with Peter Montgomery. We finally left the dock and motored down to Orakei Wharf to be greeted by the safety inspector. I'm sure he targeted us because we looked busy and still had alot to do. I thought being Chairman of SSANZ would have had some advantages but no... Anyway we passed with flying colours.
It was obvious 8 bouy was the end of the start to go for. Our pre race prep worked out an apparent angle of 120 degrees, so the call was hoist the big kite as soon as we could. I think the shorthaul start was the most competitive with a fair bit of luffing going on, but everyone seemed to be pretty sensible and got away cleanly. We popped the kite up... but now the wind had swung forward to 75 apparent. It was going to be a bit touch and go to lay Rangi light but we had pace on the boats still under genoa. Luckily the forecast breeze hadn't arrived just yet and we made it past Rangi light with Grunty Chicken and Cool Change alongside. Next it was a flat run to Rakino channel. The prod boats headed off towards Tiri while everyone else sailed as low as they could. The breeze came in strongly causing many boats to change headsails in preparation for the next leg. Stratocaster went flying past to take the lead and Hellava Hurry came flying up under a huge masthead kite.
Going through Rakino channel every one dropped their spinnakers and sailed hard on the wind to Motuihe
Green Bouy. At the front of the pack we had a good battle with Stratocaster and managed to slip back in front. The smaller lighter sport keelboats didn't fair so well on this leg with Grunty Chicken falling back towards the pack of boats behind. After rounding Motuihe Green it was a two sail reach past Motuihe before bearing away a little more and setting a spinnaker. Stratocaster had retaken the lead at this point so the decision was made "Big Kite". Stratocaster set their spinnaker as well and we both charged off towards Passage rock enjoying the best kite ride I've had for a long time. With gusts of 30 knots we were often sitting on 12-13 knots boatspeed. However half way down Waiheke a bigger gust saw Stratocaster wipe out and forced them to drop their spinnaker. We carried on for a while longer until a particularly big gust sorted us out as well. We got back under control, rehoisted the little spinnaker and set off in pursuit of Stratocaster once more. It was quite depressing to find even though they were two sailing and we had the spinnaker up we could barely catch up. This wasn't a problem for the Young 88's who were absolutely flying. Outrageous was the 3rd boat to Passage Rock despite starting 5 min behind the Shorthaul fleet.
From Passage Rock it was a long hard beat to the finish. With wind against tide it was particularly lumpy on port tack. The best option was to head over to the mainland for flatter water before tacking. The boats on that side of the track also got lifted and made huge gains. We battled hard to get back in front of Stratocaster but a new danger was approaching. Hanse Off, a 37 footer, had a big edge in upwind speed and was just hauling us in. We kept in front to Browns Island but eventually they slipped past. We hung on for second across the line but importantly first 1020 by a good margin.