Hard Labour's B&G Simrad 60 2011 Report
14 Aug 2011
With Steve (boat owner) overseas and my brother (crew for the previous race) unable to race I had to come out of retirement along with Phil Crowther to sail our first B&G Simrad Race. We also had the added pressure of having to get a better result than the first race (got to do better than your brother !)
I was a bit worried in the days leading up to the race as the weather forecasts were changing rapidly and there was a strong chance on very little wind. Sure enough this proved to be the case resulting in a postponement at the start.
We eventually got away in a light breeze figuring we would have a better angle from the pin end of the line. We got a pretty good start and leebowed "Tour de Force" for quite a while until their 40ft eventually got the better of us. The next problem we had was sailing into the backend of the longhaul division. We were faster but couldn't sail through their lee. This let the other 1020's plus the Young 88's and SR26's catch up.
Close to Matiatia the wind went very funky. In the end the boats closest to Waiheke did best. We hedged our bets a little to ensure we weren't hung out to dry but this gave Max Headroom an opportunity to cross just in front. Max made the most of their time in front to make a smart remark but it backfired as a minute later we were well ahead again.
It was now on the wind to Gannet Rock. I was keen to work the Waiheke side as I expected the breeze to shift right. However it was quite strange in that although shifting right it was the boats in the left that got it first. We managed to work this out (even if we didn't understand it) and made a few gains. Tour de Force was first around Gannet well ahead of Fast Company, Rattle n Rum (they must love their code zero) and Psychic just ahead of us. We all gybed and sailed towards Navy bouy but the light airs meant we were above course.
After passing the Noises the breeze swung forward. Mercenery was charging up through the fleet with their masthead gennaker. We changed to the headsail for a short time as we thought this was the start of the SWer kicking in but it swung back 10 degrees so we put the kite back up. Slipstream made a good gain and slipped in front and Mercenery had stormed ahead into the distance. We made some gains on the Stewart 34 closing in on the mark and a nice rounding saw us slip inside them.
We worked the East Coast Bays pretty hard and think we made a few gains. We eventually caught Fast Company, Rattle n Rum and Mercenary just off Narrowneck at which point our house battery was so flat the electronics died. Not knowing the depth we had to be more conservative and bore away to give a pile marker more clearance. We finally passed the 2 SR's and were amazed to find Mercenery only just behind Rattle n Rum as Rattle had been miles in front earlier. We found in under 8knots we were the same speed in such flat water as they were powered up and we weren't. From North Head we went straight across to Orakei to escape the tide. We should have to a few more tacks in but didn't know the depth. This let the SR's catch up a little but it was great to see their Titanic battle.