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Leg 4 report
13 Mar 2017
Ran Tan 11 (Elliott 50) convincingly won line honours in the 4th leg of the SSANZ Round North Island race, and took out overall Leg 4 PHRF Handicap honours as well.
Weather conditions for the 350nm Leg 4 from Napier to Auckland were the worst the fleet experienced in the race. Some boats decided to seek shelter in Gisborne and wait for the weather to pass. Competitors experienced 50 plus knots and torrential rain as the storm that caused flooding in Auckland, Coromandel and Wellington passed over them.
Our Race Officer managed to get the fleet away after a delayed start in very little breeze, which built as night closed in. The boats based their way to East Cape in 20 - 25 knots and confused seas. Skipper of the Ross 40 Marshall Law Craig Smith described getting round East Cape as ?heinous? with most competitors pushing tide in rough seas in building winds that were in on the nose most of the leg.
Sun Fast 3600 Racing, crewed by Josh Tucker and Damon Joliffe relished the upwind conditions. The 36 footer finished the leg 4th on line, punching well above it?s waterline and handicap. The Division 3 boat beat all Division 2 boats to the finish line and took out 3rd on PHRF across the fleet for the leg behind Ran Tan 11 and Miss Scarlet (IRC 52).
The closest finish was between two of the Ross 40s Satellite Spy and Provincial Cowboy. They were side by side for a mile or so from Devonport to Bayswater and it was hard to tell in the dark who was in front. Provincial Cowboy just got over the top of Satellite Spy 500 metres from the finish and got it by 34 seconds.
Cool Change (Ross 850), Ilex (Wilson 45) and Rigmarole (Mull 9.5) have resumed racing in the official race, and should complete the unofficial Leg 5 from Gisborne to Auckland in much calmer conditions. Gisborne Yacht Club have looked after their unexpected visitors and even presented them with race certificates for the unofficial leg 4 Napier to Gisborne.