2012 SSANZ B&G Simrad 100 Rattle n Rum's Race Report
11 Sep 2012
Rattle N Rum Simrad 100 report and video
With Richie the owner of the good ship Rattle away in Noumea doing the Groupama race I had managed to get Damon as crew for the last race. Damon also owns an SR and we have sailed together a huge amount on all types of boats so I was confident we had a good shot at it.
With the forecast looking like we may get some puff at some stage we decided that taking the small cruising main might be the best idea as the big one only has one reef and is rather large.... Its also Richies regatta main so without him there I didn?t want to give it a huge flogging. I think it turned out to be a pretty good idea.
We got off to a reasonable start, 2nd row at the boat end but this is where we wanted to be. We started with full main and #2 jib, a combination that we ended up using for the whole race and proved to go pretty well.
We kept hard right into Rangi light, I wanted to make full use of the tidal back eddie so we plugged back in there 2 or 3 times to come out right on Rangi light house. After that we tacked quickly to get back out of the tide along the Rangi shore. There was a big split in the fleet here with about half our fleet sailing along the bays and the other half out with us.
We chucked a few tacks in on some smaller shifts through the middle of the course and worked our way up towards Tiri with the breeze around 15kt, maybe gusting 20 at times. Pepe was the first of the left hand boats to come back and we had made solid gains to be a couple of hundred meters ahead. It was good to be first boat on the water upwind after 2 hrs of racing!
Slowly they clawed it back and passed us just before Tiri. A few of the boats that had hung out the far left had done OK but no one from our division so I was happy. We went through Tiri in good shape with just pepe in front and with a few Y88s and a 1020. The 1020 (L'vante) slowly rolled us on the lay through to Motuora. Quite a few boats sailed low here while we stayed high and we seemed to make some big gains.
The next leg sucked for us, it was a tight reach to flat rock, we watched Pepe sail off into the distance and Fast Company smoking up to us. It was a good time for me to pull out my ace card, 6 piping frankfurters in a thermos and nicely prepared long rolls with cheese, mustard, onion and t sauce, spectacular to have freshly made hot dogs on the rail of an SR26!
Once clear of Kawau about 2 nm from Flat rock the seas really built and the wind slowly crept up to 20-25kts, we had the masthead gennaker on deck ready for the hoon down to Shag island but after getting knocked down by a sizable wave we decided to play it safe and go with the fractional. At this stage it was actually quite lumpy and the waves were breaking so we got our lifejackets and harnesses on for the run. We set the gennaker at flat rock and took off. We had set up a martin breaker for the tack line so we could blow it if it turned to shit. Unfortunately it let go on us and so Damon had to go forward and reset the tackline. This was about our only down time for the whole day but it took a few minutes to get sorted and rolling again. Gradually the pressure built a bit and we were doing some good speeds, stereo cranking and having fun. There were big bullets coming down and really pressing the boat down, we were sending it hard into the backs of the waves with walls of water coming back right over the cabintop. We ploughed into the back of one so hard that we both slid right forward so Damon had to brace us both with his foot against the primary winch. We were locked in and pretty cosy, a bit of a "manlove" moment. At that's stage a wipeout would have been quite heinous. The best thing to do in those conditions is to avoid the waves altogether, you seldom wipeout at speed, it's the downspeed moments on the backs of the waves that cause the grief so we sailed high keeping the speed on. Its also much higher average speeds to just avoid the waves unless you have to and always to bail out high before you lose the speed on the backside.
We knew the front was due over sometime soonish so were keeping a good eye on it. Once we saw the cloud coming we listened to the nowcasting which had a TWA of 270 degrees at Tiri so we knew we needed to gybe ASAP. At that stage it was reasonably fresh and pretty marginal for gybing a gennaker, it was going to have to be a "Nam" gybe!
The perfect set of waves appeared right on cue so we gybed the gennaker first, goose winged it, then cleated the sheet and Damon pulled the main across. We did it all on the same wave and came out of it still doing 18kts. It was pretty good timing as the wind had already started shifting and it was now raining hard. We were actually steering under Shag rock and the sea state was pretty awkward but we were still hauling so we hung in with the gennaker. I thought that the westerly might just be right in behind the rain line and then it would swing back slightly to the NW, I think this was right as we ended up making it right down to Shag rock with the gennaker.
Not a single wipeout for the whole run, it wasn't until after the race that we heard how windy it actually was. We don't have any wind gear so had no idea, just held on and put our balls were our brains used to be. Cam recorded 38kts from the hard labour and I heard other reports of 40+. All I know is that we found terminal velocity for an SR26.
Pepe had come in from a long way out to sea to be about 10min behind us at the rock, but with a 25nm beat to go I was pretty worried they would pass us. The breeze was down to around 10-15kts and we contemplated changing to the #1 genoa but we were still making good numbers so we stuck with it.. We chucked a few tack into hooks bay and tacked right on a lay along Waiheke shore. Out came the final few hot dogs which were still nicely hot, hot food seems to make a big difference and it gave me a good perk up. Changed the ipod play list, had a beer and felt as fresh as new.
Pepe carried on for quite a while and this cost them quite a bit as we layed right through to the bottom of rakino and they had to bear away to go below the reef pretty much back down to our line. We saw another boat coming at us quickly and actually thought it was Pepe, this made us work hard to not get passed and we tacked on a few good shifts but they were still coming at us quickly. On the 2 sail down to Rangi light they eventually rolled through and we could see that it wasn't Pepe but instead House of Elliott. No wonder we couldn't hold them!
We hoisted the masthead gennaker at Rangi light and had quite a nice sail to the finish sitting on 8-12kts we still know if we were actually the first boat but I really couldn't see how anyone had got through us. Sure enough there was a gun at the finish and we were pretty sure it would be a handicap win as well. That put our score card at 3,1,1 and gave us the line and handicap series win.
I fear we may have ruined our PHRF handicap for good this time....
Well done to Pepe, the young fella has got it going well and they are real contenders.
Thanks to SSANZ for letting us all have a go in those conditions. We were well prepared for it and would have been hugely disappointed if they had given us the short course. The boat is just so well setup and has one of the best sail inventories on the harbour. Full credit to Richie for running a tight program.
Bring on next year.