2012 B&G Simrad 60 Rattle n Rum's race report
13 Aug 2012
Simrad 60 on the Rattle n Rum.
We got off to an ok start mid line but quickly got rolled by the bigger boats and spent the first 15minutes trying to keep our air clear and get going. Marshy on the mercenary got the first cross on us but luckily that was to be the last time they were ahead. Slowly we found our groove and started to hold our own a bit better. Its always depressing doing upwind starts when you are one of the small boats(with the highest handicap!) in the fleet and a real downhill and light airs flyer and we knew we would have to work and hike hard to stay in touch with our division.
We worked the Rangi and Motutapu shore to avoid the tide, there wasn't much flow but enough to make a difference. Battling it out with a bunch of Y88s, Squid vicious, bump n grind, fast company and cool change, I was pretty happy to be hanging in as we were. The only boat that had really got away from us was the Pepe who were long gone.
My original game plan was to go right, and work the Waiheke shore but with the breeze the most right(east) that I thought it would be all day, we were going to have to go across on a bad header so we opted to carry on north and wait for the breeze to shift slightly more north. This never really happened and we eventually had to tack back on an average heading. There had been a big split in the fleet with cool change, TREX and a few others splitting right as per my original gameplan and then bump n grind, us, fast company, squid vicious and a few others much further out off shore. We were happy with how we had done on the boats around us but were seriously concerned about the boats to the working the Waiheke shore. Luckily for us we got a small favourable shift to the north and managed to cross well ahead of cool change which was the lead boat out of the right hand bunch. This put us in really good shape with just Pepe, fast company and the entertainer ahead of us on the water so we just dug it in and worked as hard as we could to keep going fast. Coming into gannet rock bump n grind came in from way offshore to close the gap up quite a lot, it was quite lumpy and probably up to 20kts of wind at this stage. We just snuck ahead of the entertainer and rounded in 3rd spot with Pepe a long way ahead and just a few minutes behind fast company. I would say we were about mid fleet with the Y88s which started with us but were in another division.
We hoisted the masthead gennaker (after the entertainer graciously headed down to let us hoist-thank you) but it caught on the jib batten and tore on the luff. It was a bit tight for that sail anyway so we decided to peel to the fractional gennaker so we didn't blow the masthead out as we might need it later. The fractional actually worked pretty well and we sent it pretty hard down to Navy Bouy passing a huge number of boats in the process. It gradually got windier as we came into tiri passage and we were sitting on 12-16kts, comfortable but just starting to get a handful. At this stage I was regretting just being in my shorts as there was a bit of water over the deck but the chances of me being able to put any more gear on were slim to none, my boots were full of water anyway. We pulled off a glamour gybe at navy bouy and caught a huge wave surfing down it at 18kts. This leg seemed slightly tighter or it could have been that the breeze was up to 25-30kts and we were well low on course but hauling ass. We could now see Pepe (for the first time since about motuhie passage) and they were just 2 sail reaching, and going a lot slower than us. The waves were really starting to build now and we were regularly surfing up to 18-20kts boatspeed and just loving it, we only did one small skid when I was really trying to push the height, if you don't know he limits then you are not pushing it hard enough! It was only a minor one and just a quick flap of the kite and we were off again at 18kts. It was magic sailing and we really were flying. After blasting through to leeward of 2 Elliott 1050s, then hard labour at pace we eventually sailed through to leeward of Pepe to take the lead on the water for the first time in the race. Unfortunately we were not going to lay north head with the gennaker up and had to drop the gennaker at about Takapuna and 2 sail reach to the finish, Pepe with its extra 4 ft of waterline slowly overtook us again. We setup the fractional gennaker with the plan to hoist at north head and try to sneak past them but we decided it was probably not worth it, the gun would have only been a moral victory for us anyway as we give Pepe time on handicap so they would have beaten us anyway. We actually went as far as having the tack out on the end of the prod before we pulled the pin on it and decided the safer option was best.
The end result had us 25 seconds behind Pepe 16 minutes ahead of fast company and the next boat almost 40 minutes behind.
Well done to Pepe who again sailed a good race. I think they will be hard to beat in this series now with 2 double line and handicap wins.
I don't think there was any more we could have done in that race, we sailed well upwind and hiked hard for the whole beat. Put up the big gear and sent it home. No downtime at all and some EPIC rides. The only downside of the day is that we really didn't have much time for a beer during the race. We made up for it with a rum frenzy on the rattle with the mercenary, cosmic cruise and faster coyote crews.
Thanks to SSANZ for another great day on the water.