Kiwi's B&G Simrad 100 2011
14 Sep 2011
Not the greatest of starts being 150m on the wrong side of the line with no gib on deck. Didn't think there was any possibility of an on time start and when the gun went without the red and white postponement it sent us into overdrive on board. At least the line was nice and clear for us. Gybed around and headed for the comeback. Hoisted the gennaker and was able to access what was happening ahead in the pack in the fickle breeze and came up with a plan. The shore turned out to be by far the best way and it eventually allowed us to be back in third place by Rangi Light, albeit dodging a few rocks. Capellia acting with total sportsmanship all the way along there.
A great upwind to the northern side of Rakino allowed a nice easy slide to Gannet. Or so we thought until within 500m of Gannet. Getting really sick of being nailed by fickle breeze and allowing all to sail up to us. Rounded there just in front of a huge pack all screaming into us on spinnakers. Let the race start again?
Once around it was dead maggot to Channel Is in a building breeze. We opted to stay left of centre thinking the Coro shore would be less breeze. Wrong! Well done to Starlight Express, they out sailed us all up there. Eventually we ended up over there but far too late. Rounded in half decent shape but allowed Laissez-faire and Fiction through. Both had gone into shore before us also.
Nice easy gib top ride to Little Barrier allowing a few snacks and some yarns. Looking ahead at the building clouds and hoping like hell we rounded prior to the predicted northerly build. Great to finally round L/Barrier without a huge wind shadow and the gamble that goes with that. Hoisted the big masthead chute and sent her towards Kawau. A few gybed onto starboard which seemed a little strange at the time. We figured the less manoeuvres the better in this now building pressure from directly behind and the shore seemed the best way with the wind moving the way we thought it would , and did. Now we were sending her down the waves and at times quite close to the small boats at speeds topping 14.5 knots. We figured the tide would be fairly slack by the time we reached closer to the Kawau shore and then we could use the waves there for a bit more surfing, and it meant only one gybe to the finish according to my calculations. So soon after Kawau we set up for the gybe, socked the chute and then started the gybe with a "what could possibly go wrong" comment to my partner in crime. Gybing 2 handed in a 43ft yacht with 23 knots of breeze in the dead of night is always something t look forward to. All went well and within a few minutes we were sending her again in even more breeze, topping at 17 knots prior to Tiri Passage.
The ride to Rang light was a dream, surfing in 20 - 28 knots of pressure then coming into several Young 88's close to Rangi Light. These guys were all keen to keep us to leeward and we didn't mind as it didn't slow progress at all and they looked to be battling hard. Right on Rangi Light we had a huge build in the waves and surfed at around 18 knots right below Flash Gordon. Good to see Dougy enjoying the ride there also. Sure it will be a talking point of ours over a rum at dinner sometime.
From there we continued to the finish talking over exactly how to get rid of this huge chute in this pressure in about 100m below the finish line before ending up in the piles. Thought about dropping early but decided we needed to continue pushing hard all the way. So just as we crossed the line all sheets were eased and the sock came down clean, thankfully. Into a crash gybe and easily missed the piles by at least 15m. Less than 4 hours from L/Barrier to the finish was a ride which we will not forget. Short stints each on the helm each and plenty of water and snacks kept us sharp and kept her at maximum speed.
Huge thanks goes out to the organizers and Simrad and obviously Mark Charlesworth my crew for a great series. He came through hand operations, dental work and cracked ribs to get fit for the races.
Always look forward to the SSANZ racing and cannot wait until next year.