Promise's B&G Simrad 100 2012 report
24 Sep 2012
PROMISE SSANZ100 Race Report
It had been a hectic week of juggling work and family to get the boat ready. All set by Friday except for replacing the mainsail batten we threw gybing around navy in the 60. Down at the boat Fri night to fit it and found it was too short and all the shops were shut...Fortunately there are several Stewarts on F1 so I hoisted the jolly roger and went and pilfered one from a boat I knew wasnt sailing. Thanks Bill. All set. Sat morning arrives, Up at 6, to the supermarket by 7am. Grab the usual food and drink to get through the day and arrived to find my islander mate putting the strings on.
Pushing tide motoring to the start, we arrive at the pin end of the line at 3 minutes to our start, damn, I want the other end, cant get there, oh well lets go so we crossed the line a few seconds late towards the pin end. Can we tack? Nope, not without dipping the entire fleet who were up by the committee boat. Sunstone and Revolution were just to weather of us and the rest of the fleet were up at the boat end. Can we tack? Nope, not without dipping everyone. OK will have to put up with what we have, we sail fast and get to the beach. extending on the two boats near us but losing weather ground. First tack we just clear Sunstone. The Farr had stepped out a little as expected. We work the shore and at our first tack out we see Pahi about half a km in front already. Its not a Stewart, its a rocket ship! About halfway between them and us is Hard Labour, another boat that is sailed far too well...Little did we know but thats how the line results were going to go....
Had some close racing with Sunstone and Pelagian up the coast, The shore seemed to be paying with the breeze at the top of the range for a number two headsail. Put in a long board into Tiri channel. We nailed the lay-line past the reef that sticks out off Whangaparoa. Breeze building and Sunstone were putting weather ground on us. We put a tuck in the main and sorted that, got maybe half a knot of boatspeed and ten degrees of height. Two more tacks to get passed Motuora where House of Elliot sneaked up inside of us. Two sailed to Flat Rock in building breeze and seas. Lumpy as by the time we got to Flat. We were maybe 20 minutes behind Pahi and could just make out their white spinnaker in the distance. Hard Labour were struggling to set their little blue kite. We opted to two sail and go wave hunting. So out into the gulf we went. 45 degrees off course and then bear away as the stern is lifted and the bow goes down, up she comes and we are launched down the face, yeee haaaa this is why i love these longer races, the wind and seas were building, we were getting some huge rides, sustained blasts of 16 and 18 knots at times. Got a max of 20kn on the GPS. Reefed main and a number two headsail. Never even looked like broaching, had to hang on and concentrate but what a blast.
After some time, I said we have to come down, we are going the wrong way. So I gybed the main (crash!) and goose-winged the number two. F#$% me what a ride! Dead downhill in those big steep waves, Bow goes down buried to the sheer, water peeling off past the shrouds and then up she pops and away we go. Didnt dare lose focus for a second...Thankfully S34s are so full in the bow. I was wedged in the cockpit, white knuckles around the tiller. I looked back at my mate and he is clutching the backstay with a huge grin and bulging eyes! After several minutes (no idea how long really) of screaming down the building seas, pointing at the approaching frontal cloud, Steve says 'thats black, do you reckon its rain or wind?' I say probably both, we gotta get rid of this, meaning the headsail. No argument there. I cautiously hand over the helm as we skate down yet another wave, go forward and throw the halyard as I go past the mast. I spent the next several minutes getting the sail below (again no idea how long it took, funny how time seems irrelevant when you are on the bow in big waves and its howling!). I hear a manic laugh coming from the cockpit with the wash off the bow going past the shrouds at waist height to discover we get an 18.5kn on the GPS with me on the bow and only a reefed main in the sky. Just as I get back to the cockpit the rain came, holy buckets! within a few minutes we were both soaked to the skin....The front went through surprisingly quickly. The rain killed the waves and the wind. The breeze swung west and we put up the number 3 headsail. Since the waves had dropped so had our speed. We hoisted the number 2 spinnaker for the run down to Shag which was pretty much square and uneventful compared to the last few hours!
The breeze dropped as expected behind Waiheke, we shook out the reef, passed the Farr, dropped the kite in the lee of Shag and rounded in the company of a couple of Young 88s and that had caught us in the lighter airs. Back on the wind up the front of Waiheke. A big long lay, no-one passed us but we could see red and green lights getting closer. Breeze knocking as we got towards the Motuihe end of Waiheke, we tacked and headed towards the Haystack, nailed the layline (again) across the top of Rakino when we tacked back. Crossed the line and pulled in the fishing lure just after 11pm. Back to the dock for the obligatory bacon and egg rolls, rum and debrief.
A quick race, max fun in the waves, thanks to SSANZ and all for running such a great event (again), a good call to run with the number two course for the Shorthaul. Still buzzing.