Communique's B&G Simrad 50 2011 report
18 Jul 2011
Communique B&G SIMRAD 50
The best thing about winter is the B&G SIMRAD series, eagerly anticipated for months and like Christmas it arrives. The series begins with a preparatory weekend to get the sails on board and check our safety gear. The Man Over Board beacon is a mess of liquefied batteries and corroded light bulb. Yet another visit to Westhaven's "chandlery corner" is require. Thursday morning a visit to Sharpies new home for the Floating Dock on the end of Xpier. I agonise over a small scrap on the keel, an errant anchor chain maybe? The briefing that night is a chance to see the usual suspects. This time it is Mark Taylor complaining of Pahi and her status as scratch boat in Shorthaul Division One. God bless the dark hearts of KORCs PHRF committee, giving us 4 min 48 sec per hour.
Saturday morning Stew and I are laden with food and warm clothes in anticipation of a hard day at the office. A very uneventfull motor in very calm weather to the start we catch Tony Newmarch and Bays Flyer. Tony reminds me he beat me three times in the Farr 9.2 champs in three different boats, but today he is on the small boat course (the junior course in his Marauder) leaving the men to sail on the shorthaul course.
A nice start at the buoy allows us the gratification of watching the S34s and F1020s catch us as we creep down the harbour under kite past Browns Island to the Great Motihue Parking Lot. Here we are joined by the Multis crabbing their way towards us with close sheeted extras. We study the deck layout of first Taeping and then Timber Wolf as they slide past. It becomes clear that the small boats are enjoying the new breeze under kite from Browns Navy Buoy.
The breeze comes to us and we reach up around the large fleet to leeward seemingly stranded on the beach at Motihue. It is delightful sailing romping along in flat water. We hang on to the headsail for a while as we run out of the breeze line from time to time but it is soon clear spinnakers are the go and with 7 miles to run to Passage Rocks it is a magnificent sail. We are line abreast with V Team, L'Avanti and Share Delight. More than 3 hours from the start it is good company. Our nomination for the "Triers Prize" goes to Pork Chop for determination to set a kite, third time lucky for those boys.
Rounding Passage it seems we are in a squirt and it looks lumpy ahead. Unfortunately for Team Bilkey on Drop Dead Fred it must have felt very lumpy as they are beached on Passage Rock. Much cautioned by the sight of DDF we round wide and must drive off to leeward in the bad air of the fleet. However it proves to be a lay through to Motihue and we round the Island with John Barley Corn and Delicado ahead.
From Motihue Green it is a very flat run to Home Bay, Credit to Delicado who appeared to cope well under a big mast head kite, not so good for V Team who chinesed and came hunting for us. Fortunately they missed and Stew put a gybe in for us. Some great peak speeds in the waves of the channel convinced me the #2 would be the call for the beat up Rangi and the change was duly done under kite. The crossover for the #2 is around 14 AWS and we had been well in excess of that on the wind coming up from Passage.
We hardened up at Billy Goat Pt after once more taking a wide rounding to find not as much wind as anticipated however we were comfortably in the zone for the #2 and short tacked up the shoreline. We found we were picking off the skidders which had humbled us on the reach to Passage Rock but on approaching Rangi Lite saw Delicado well ahead, she had clearly done what those Townsons do
so well and given us a reality check. We round Rangi Lite and it is one tack to the Tamaki Yacht club. Unfortunately it is soft now 10knots AWS but no enthusiasm for a sail change. The tide is huge and the finish is welcome, we finish at 1707.We know it is good but the sight of Delicado heading home tells us it is not good enough.
On Sunday morning the results tell the story, well done John Barley Corn, Delicado and Knight Hawk. The question I cannot answer is where did where give away those so precious 3 minutes and 27 seconds on corrected time?
Click HERE to view photo's taken from onboard Communique