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Waka's Leg 2 report

03 Mar 2008

Round North island 2 handed on WAKA


An off the wind start to the 2nd leg meant it was gennakers set straight off the line. We got away cleanly, gybing around the pin end and hoisting the reaching gennaker. As soon as it set we were off! We led the fleet out of Mangonui with akatea right behind and Ran tan and andar slipping through to leeward at pace. We decided that we had made a bad call with the reacher so did a quick change to the running gennaker almost trawling the kite in the process! It was one of those occasions where we fully outsmarted ourselves!

Finally with the right kite on we took off and starting putting time on the fleet behind. At the next headland we dropped and went to the jibtop to get past the fickle winds under the headland. Once in clear air we hoisted the fractional gennaker and went low and fast. We were 20 degree low on course but doing 1012kts! I was counting on it lifting as we got closer to North cape.

This payed off and we ended up going around the cape in 3rd spot with only the open 50 and the canting 50 ahead. Akatea and Bushido ended up slowing mowing us down and got ahead about half way across the top. Everyone kept heading offshore on port tack but we decided to tack inside pandora?s Bank and make the most of the 1.5kts of tide that was with us for another 3 hrs.

In the 7.30am sched we were still in 3rd place so pretty happy to have made gains on the wind where we would normally be loosing out. The southerly ended up slowly dying out during the day and by midday we were totally becalmed. This "parkup" lasted for the next 2 days as we made very slow progress down the coast. We were the inshore boat out of the pack but still about 50nm offshore.

The bean bag featured hard here and my big lard ass was firmly planted in it for a solid 2 days! The bean bag makes sleeping on the rail actually quite comfortable. Eventually a light NE wind built and we hoisted the MH reacher, by midnight it had built to 10kts and we peeled to the runner and ran as low as we could to get into the stronger pressure offshore and to the south. All the other boats around us stayed high and I think we must have benefited from stronger winds offshore.

By daybreak we were into 1520kts of building pressure and starting to make progress. This breeze built to 25‐30 kts and for the rest of the day we sat on 15‐18kts boat speed right on course. We were sending it pretty hard and regularly were dipping the bow under , sending huge walls of water back over the cabintop. The little Waka was right in her element!

A huge squall hit us just past cape Egmont and we did a spectacular wipeout! After recovering from the wipeout we gybed over and ended up heading on the same course directly to cape Terawhiti, the wind had shifted from a NE to a NW behind the squall and dropped slightly. Slowly the breeze faded away and we ended up becalmed again about 10 past the maui oil rig and still 80nm from cook straight.

With the evening sched we saw that we had done the biggest miles for the day out of the whole fleet! The little giant killer had really made us look good! (again)

During the next few hours we had light breezes out of almost every quarter and the thought of all the boats carrying the breeze right up to us was in the back of our minds. Finally we picked up a 10kt NE and hoisted the fractional gennaker for the reach past cape Jackson and the brothers, as this swung aft through the strait we changed to the MH reacher and then the runner.

As we approached the wind factory and tide rip at Terawhiti the breeze picked up to 25kts and we sent it through the very mild rip at 15+kts. Peeled to the Jibtop for the reach to Barretts Bouy and then to the #2 for the beat up the harbour. A large 25kt puff had us quickly tack changing to the #4 only to find ourselves in 8 kts again 5minutes latter! Another tack change to the #2? So that was 4 jib changes in under an hour. (go jonty go!!)

Finally crossed the line to a gun for "B" Div 4th on line overall and what we thought would be a pretty good leg for us on PHRF. As more and more boats finished we were still ontop of PHRF overall and it was coming down to the wire with insight 2. In the end we only beat them by 2minutes in a 4 day race. The wellington stopover has been awesome, in fact too good?.. glad I have a few days in a boat so I can Detox (and then Retox in napier).

I have been trying to write this report for the last 2 days but between drinking and fixing sails till 8.30pm last night I just haven't found time. We did a combined Doyle/Norths sail repair effort yesterday with us all just digging in to make sure everyone could start the leg with sails intact. That's the beauty of this kind of racing, there is much more of a team atmosphere and everyone just works together.

Re start this afternoon (hoping to get an hours kip before then?) at 5pm. It is currently blowing 40kts from the south and forecast to be 3040 all night. With the wind against tide going out of the harbour and a 4m southerly sea I think this could be a bit of challenge for the wee "Waka". After the 50nm beat to cape Palliser we are straight into gennakers for a 200nm run to napier. Apart from the first 510hrs I think this could be quite a fun leg for us. Going to put the New Gill "key west" gear to the test tonight that's for sure! As I'm writing this another 45kt squall just came over the marina.

Special Thanks to the team at RPNYC for some awesome hospitality and Gordy from Duffy rigging for supplying us with a dehumidifier and a place to store all of our 11 wet sails, as well as plenty of moral support!

Will check in again in napier (hopefully).

I got some great video footage from the last 2 legs so will put it together as soon as I can.

BooBoo out.