Pepe's B&G Simrad 50 2013 report
09 Sep 2013
Pepe Simrad 50 by Josh Tucker
The day didn't start all that well with young Westy still recovering from the Flu that had put him down for most of the week. It was clear he was not going to make it in time to get the subway lunch so I translated his order over the phone and made sure it had only the things that he didn?t want.... His expression when he ate it was well worth the money....
Neither of us are the organised type, in fact every start so far in this series we have been a bit of a shambles and this one was no different. This time it was partially to do with my indecision on which sail we would be using off the start. Anyway with the start debacle behind us we worked hard to find a clear lane and get into it.
The breeze had been about 8kts before the start but had built to probably 12-14kts and quite tight. We had the fractional zero hoisted and ready to go so decided to give it a go even though we were quite powered up as it was. It proved to be petty fast. We went around Rangi light in very good shape and peeled to the Masthead spinnaker for the run down to the noises. Us, shreks house and pawn broker were pretty close at this stage and having a good race, I could see Motorboat flying my big Steinlager kite way too close behind us and holding their position nicely. I knew I shouldn't have lent it to him for the last race when we were only 1 point clear but had to give him a chance....
I had heard that Laurie Jury was on the "No worries" which is another turboed R930 with a carbon rig and all the trimmings so I was pretty concerned that they would be hard to beat. We had a nice lead on them but they were gaining and doing well outside us in a bit more breeze. I thought they were just bringing the puff down to us so wasn?t overly concerned but then they actually sailed right past us. I didn't like having another R930 in front.. We all gybed similar time at the noises and were comfortably laying down to the Ahaaha's. Shreks house got a bit tangled with Akatea and let us sneak through but No Worries had held their lead on us and pawn broker was a fair bit ahead.
We did a nice tidy, tight rounding there and made some good gains on no worries. My plan was to go low and fast, anticipating a geographical breeze knock, tide relief and a back eddy at the Waiheke shore I wanted to be right in there. The tide also flows about 90 degrees different from Motuihe passage to calypso passage so I wanted to get out of the right to left tide flow. We slowly put the squeeze on No Worries and spat them back into the tide and carried on into the shore as far as we could. One small tack to clear the rocks and then went with the fractional zero again across the top of Waiheke in 14-18kts of wind. We had put a huge amount of time on No Worries and Shreks house by getting right in and motorboat was far enough back that I was happy. We set the big masthead spinnaker up for the run to rocky bay but as we bore away it became apparent that it was the wrong sail and the gennaker would have been better as the breeze had gone forward and built to about 20kts. We thought about changing but I was happy to push it hard and see how the boat responded to being pressed hard as I had heard stories about the rudder letting go easily. We were off, sitting on 12-15kts but 20-30 degrees off course, the boat loved it and was pretty manageable really. It was fun but had to end at some stage as we were running out of water and it wasn't really sustainable. Still I think it was the right call to send it while the puff was on and make the most of it. We did a quick peel back to the fractional zero for the last bit into the mark and went around right next to Pawn broker and both tacked over to be almost laying up to Motuihe. There was a massive squall line coming down and so I knew there would be a big right hand shift. We banged it all the way right into the knock quite far. Pawn Broker kept going but I thought the breeze would swing back left slightly after it had passed through and we also had to cover no worries and shreks house that had tacked much earlier. Sadly for us the breeze never came back left and pawn broker put about 100m on us. I was still not worried as we had them on time and just needed to consolidate on the rest of the fleet rather than risking hanging it all on one side and we had gained on everyone else in the fleet. The breeze was pretty patchy up the beat going from 8 to 18kts and with some lumpy seas at times which made the light spots hard work.
We went around Motuihe green 3:40 behind Pawn broker and 2:30 in front of Shreks house. The flatter water and stronger breeze at that stage seemed to be good for us and we started gaining back some time. I think pawn broker had a problem with the water ballast which would have affected their performance a huge amount but I was still very happy with our beat.
In the end we had a good battle with pawn broker for line and finished about 3 boat lengths or 18 seconds behind them to take the handicap win and with it the series. Pretty happy with our 2,1,1 score line but probably didn?t do our handicap any favours for the ultimate goal of the round North island race.
Westy did a great job especially considering how crook he was. Our corners and sail changes were where we seemed to make the big gains and a lot of that was due to him. Having the confidence to put the right sails up and do proper sail changes/peels between the sails made the difference. Westys father Steve who owns the boat put a huge amount of effort into helping to prepare the boat and was always there when we came back into the dock. Big thanks to him for letting us use his boat.
Really looking forward to the white island race 2 handed as a qualifier for the round north island 2 handed in Feb. This is the best possible start to the program.
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