Team Surreal's Leg 1 RNZ report
27 Feb 2012
What a great start to the SSANZ RNZ Race ! Even better than the brochure !
On Surreal we got a reasonable start to be second behind Crafty Croftie and Super Sally on Expedition Coppelia. We quickly got that sorted and found ourselves leading the fleet out of Auckland Harbour. We took a fairly cautious approach and two sailed down the ditch before gybing at North Head. Truxton hoisted a gennaker and went screaming past. We waited until clear of Rangi Light before hoisting the gennaker, flying it from the spinnaker pole. This later proved to be an inspired choice as it made for vastly improved control and allowed us to pole back at times when we needed to soak. Krakatoa II proved plenty of entertainment with losing a jib sheet before the start to be well back. They hoisted a big gennaker and had all sorts of control issues before eventually wiping out once too often and tearing it.
Krakatoa II and Truxton flew their gennakers from bowsprits. This meant they had to sail hotter angles and necessitated a few gybes...most of them ending in tears ! Where as on Surreal we just poled back and stormed north bang on course. After Tiri Truxton got their game together and stormed off into the distance but Krakatoa II took until the Hen and Chicks to finally pass us for good. We think Krakatoa would be much better off by being a little more conservative in their sail choices...after all to finish first, first you have to finish.
We stuck to the game plan of a slightly offshore course for stronger breeze, going outside the Hen and Chicks and inside Poor Knights Rocks. The wind was continually over 20 knots with gusts into the 30's. Tim set the record peaking out at 17 knots boatspeed surfing a great set of waves off the Hen. It was interesting how his grip on the wheel tightened when conditions changed to allow speed record attempts...
We dropped the gennaker about 5 miles short of Cape Brett to give a nice angle two sailing in. Revs constantly haunted us from here to the finish but we kept them tucked away.
After Brett we tightened up a little and had a pleasant two sail reach to Berghan Point with a couple of lighter spots as we passed the Cavalli Islands and Stephenson Island. Looking at the Yellowbrick we were catching the leaders. By Berghan Point we were back in sight of the leaders and rapidly catching Krakatoa II. It was hard on the wind from here to the finish. Truxton got a luckly break when the wind died out as they finished. This stretched a 10 min lead into over an hour. Unfortunately by the time Coppelia came in the wind was back which allowed them to close the gap and beat us on PHRF by 12 min.
End result, 3rd on Line, 3rd PHRF and 1st IRC. We are pretty happy as the conditions were not our boats most favoured.
Leg 1 complete... Next stop Stewart Island !