Hard Labour Race Report SIMRAD 60 2006
06 Aug 2006
Yet another challenging race which provided a full range of conditions, just a pity about the rain. In the shorthaul fleet Grunty Chicken got the best start, right by 8 bouy, with their Code 0 on they were off and gone. On Hard Labour we were second out of the blocks and after 100m popped the kite up. Shortly after North Head things got interesting. Grunty Chicken parked up big time, we managed to climb to windward of them and keep going but a long way to windward Atom Ant was in a new breeze and scorching. Following in their wake were Stratocaster, Moving Violaton, Cool Change and Shokran (prob our biggest threat in the 1020 div). We were lucky to extract ourselves from the leeward position with minimal losses and felt sorry for Grunty Chicken who was still parked up. As we approached Rangi light the breeze started to fade again. This time being to leeward was a advantage as we could heat up our angle more and keep the boat moving.
Just past Rangi the breeze was filling in from the windward side, it was a case of rich getting richer and the first boats to get into it would make huge gains. By this time we had passed quite a few of the longhaul division that started 5min ahead ! There were some most unhappy faces and a general lack of eye contact. From Rangi light to Navy Bouy the breeze kept building and shifting left causing everyone to eventually drop their spinnakers. Atom Ant was first to round about 2.5 min in front of Stratocastor who was 1.5 min ahead of Elysium and us. Everyone tacked on the mark except us. We knew nobody would lay Gannet Rock on port and the forecast was to shift left so decided to carry on towards Tiri. We eventually tacked just before Tiri and were headed at Rakino. However we soon started lifting and ended 20 deg up and pointing at the Noises.
The breeze continued to build and was now averaging 20 knots so we changed to the No.2 headsail. When we crossed tacks with the opposition we now were in front of Elysium with Stratocaster and Atom Ant a few minutes behind. A few tacks to work shifts and clear the Noises and David Rocks then we headed towards Waiheke keeping a cover on Shokran and Hanse Off who were to leeward and going very well. Close to Waiheke we got headed so tacked over to be lifted and almost laying Gannet Rock. We had caught the leaders of the smallboat fleet and were passing SR26's. Rattle n Rum was most impressive going extremely well upwind and very hard to pass. They had a full main and No.1 up and were pushing the limits of the sails wind range. One hundred meters from Gannet we tacked and were only going to cross the "Rattle" by a boatlength when the mainsheet attachment broke off the boom !!! @#$% Not good timing, but luckily we could still make the cross with "Rattle" and just kept clear of Gannet Rock. A quick lashing with some spectra and we were back in race mode.
X Factor and Wings were the only boats to round Gannet ahead. Despite our breakage we still got the kite up before Rattle n Rum and were quickly doing over 10 knots. Rattle n Rum then put up a big masthead and started to boogie. A good puff of 27 knots soon sorted them out with a good broach ! While they sorted themselves out we snuck away again. Approaching Motuihe channel Rattle n Rum was right with us again running a fractional spinnaker. In the puffs they would surf more than us but lose a little in the lulls. With the wind lightening off a little they changed to a big masthead gennaker and cranked the pace back up. They were going so quick in a puff we yelled out to them they would need to go in the new high speed ferry lane ! It was quite amusing when they misunderstood and thought it was a fairway mark and did a big soak to round it. At least it got them closer for the camera !
With the big gear Rattle n Rum started to pull away. We also noted boats well behind obviously had more breeze as they were closing. Ublique was close behind us and we could also see Sundreamer and Exodus approaching with huge pace. At Bean Rock the breeze started to crank, by the finish we had 30 knots (the most seen all race). We finished just ahead of Ublique and took the Shorthaul Div gun, with a good lead over Shokran and Hanse Off. So we think we had a great race.... just got to wait and see about the handicap result and racetrack analysis !