Motorboat's ATL B&G Simrad 60 2013 report
17 Jul 2013
Simrad 60 report "shorthaul course" MOTORBOAT
Having missed last year's ssanz series due to doing some modifications inside the boat I was really looking forward to doing the series this year. Giddy and I did some tweaks and last minute prep to the boat during the week and we were all ready to go on Saturday morning and gave ourselves heaps of time to get out to the start, which in usual fashion ended up being a just in time mad panic rush.
Giddy drove the start and got us out of the blocks in good shape given the fuster cluck that was going on around us at the boat end. Once clear of the start line we peeled to the fractional gennaker as it was quite tight through to brwons. The fractional wasn't quite as quick as a proper zero would have been but our zero is quite small so we figured this was the better of the 2. We had to just sit and watch the rattle n rum and pepe slowly pull away from us. After browns we hardened up a bit more and peeled to the zero which seemed to work quite well and we concluded that we should have been on it from the start but you live and learn. It was the first time we have used either sail for more than 4 minutes racing. As the breeze started lightening off in Tamaki strait we peeled to the masthead gennaker and as the breeze slowly died we could see boats in front parking up and it looked like there was better breeze to leeward of them so we stayed low and ended up sailing right up until we were about 150m to leeward of the pepe. Looking around the course we could see there was more breeze close to waiheke and looking back up the course we could see the boats beside waiheke had the breeze from about 30 degrees more south than those towards the middle of the strait. That along with our game plan of hugging the waiheke shore lead us into doing some gybes on a breeze vain that we had and we made our way to the shore. At times going gybe for gybe with pepe. Giddy was doing an awesome job of keeping the boat is a really good mode (3.6-3.8 knots of boat speed was target, while trying not to sail to high) and the boat was proving quite slippery in those really light conditions (as SR's tend to do). We slowly pulled away from the pepe with gains and loss between the two of us at every gybe. All up we did about 8 gybes. The closer we got to passage rock the lighter the breeze got and it was obvious that the only wind (approx. 1-2 knots) anywhere was within 100m of the shore as everywhere else was a full glass off, so we went right into the shore, at times we would have been only 3-4 boats lengths from the shore doing between 0.5 - 2 knots of boat speed, with a couple more peels from the masthead gennaker to the code zero and back to the masthead geannaker again we managed to sneak around the point inside passage rock and lost sight of the fleet behind us, then the breeze completely died, a full glass off. The tide was taking as down the channel and with no wind and nothing on the horizon we took the gennaker down and just drifted with the main only while we had a beer and waited with the speedo reading 0.00 but we were doing about 1.2 over the ground. We saw a breeze line starting to come down from the firth so we put up a headsail and tried to work our way towards it and as it filled in we ended up on the wind in about 6knots of breeze, after a couple of tacks it quickly clocked and built to 10-12 SE and we peeled to the fractional gennaker and shot off towards kauri point at 7 knots. At kauri point we peeled to the masthead kite and sailed downwind across hookes bay, at which time we were starting to go through the A division boats on their way to shag island so determined it must be quite light down the outside of waiheke as well. After a gybe we peeled back to the masthead gennaker at gannet rock and poked it up as the breeze lightened off and we ended up heading straight down the rum line at 4-5 knots. The breeze slowly died and we ended up chasing small patches of the dying breeze as best we could until we completely parked up off onetangi. We could see the new SW breeze starting to fill in at the top of waiheke so with the little breeze we had we made our way towards it. we were only completely stopped for about 15 minutes. When the SW finally got to us it came through at about 8 knots, so we peeled to the zero and we were off again pointing straight at rakino doing 7 knots. As the breeze filled in a bit more we got rid of the zero and went to the #1 about 2 miles short of rakino, at which time is was starting to get cold so we put on more gear and got ourselves ready for the final upwind leg home. We stayed cracked sheets to motutapu and then put it on the wind in about 12-14 knots of wind. We went straight out into the middle of the gulf to make the most of the incoming tide, we were flying upwind even with only 1 person on the rail. We did a couple of tacks and laid through to the finish from rangi light by which time the breeze had dropped to about 8 knot.
It was a great race for us, it make it so much easier when you have a good crew and Giddy did an awesome job of driving the boat in that light stuff down the inside of waiheke while our game plan of getting close to the waiheke shore really paid off. Josh and the guys at norths have done an epic job with our sails which couldn't be better and kept the boat feeling nice and fast. And to cap of an epic day we ended up having a rather large debrief back at the dock with the stereo cranking and far too much rum being consumed.
It was a great day to be on the water, you can't complain about shorts and tshirt yachting in the sun in the middle of winter thats for sure.
Looking forward to the next one.