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Oracle's leg 4

20 Mar 2008

Oracle's leg 4
this report by Mr Oracle as Mrs Oracle has been busy racing herself! see post on

Just now recovering sleep wise, went for a run the other night and it almost killed me.

Start out of Napier was slow except we got shunted over the line by Andar.  Didn't do too bad in the light winds reaching the first point in the good company of higher rated boats.  Getting around the corner at Mahia Peninsula was some real steep closely spaced 2-3m waves so we had to work hard to stop the boat slamming in the waves.  All this is hard on the wind.
We had up #2 and 1 reef by this stage, soon to put in the second reef as the breeze built.  We got off the shelf into deeper seas, and slightly smoother water, although still confused and lumpy.  Wind got up more so dropped the No 2 and sailed on double reefed main alone. I went down for a couple hours sleep at this stage, woke up and we were floundering as the breeze had died a little so rolled out No2 again and we were off.  Bret went for a sleep now. However during the night we seemed to lose a huge amount of time on the boats around us?
In the early hours of the morning got a big lift to run parallel with the coast, nice.  But the wind got up again, so down to No.3 jib and double reefed main, sailed most the day like this in a confused lumpy sea which was hard work especially now with the barn door old rudder back on. 
The further towards land we went the more we got lifted and ended up in front of Non Stop, Not Negotiable and Expressway so we pulled away from the higher ranked boats a bit.  Dinner time under a beautiful setting sun, steaks and pasta again!  Wind came up a bit so in go the reefs again.  Getting past east cape and into the lumpy seas again then and we tacked in towards land and much smoother water.  We had chosen to go outside the rum line to hopefully get more breezes when it is forecast to die on the next days so we carry on out slowly putting up more sail and by morning we are on #1 and full main.  By now the seas are easing and we have 8-10kn wind slightly cracked and heading straight for Cape Colville.  We are smoking at 7-8 knots directly were we want to go, wonder how much wind the others have inside us as we can't see anyone.  Beautiful sunny day following directly under a long line of clouds, we carry on all day like this, got the boat all tidied up and even did some splicing on some ropes, while our new Raymarine S1 tiller pilot proved itself again.  This thing is amazing, set it up and it helms near perfect, set it to a wind angle hooked into our other Raymarine instruments, it even has an alarm to tell you battery power is getting low. 

Mrs Oracle has now deleted the next bit as all it says is reef here tack there ate slept!

What's that ahead, flat water? Yup, bugger where has our easterly gone, where has the wind gone?  We flop around about 5 miles past Channel Island, slow progress, very frustrating, hey what?s that behind us, 1 no 3 spinnakers on the horizon, great we aren?t last but those kites are catching.  So there we sat for around 4 hours, picking up little puffs of wind.
Eventually we get in a line of new breeze just staying in front of the 3 boats behind being Non Stop, Carenza, and Insight II all the way to the finish line.  So we did it, a trying fourth leg with a total of about 5 hours spinnaker time out of almost 4 days. 

Thanks to the bro for sticking in there when it got tough with 45-50 knots on the nose getting into Wellington.

A big thanks to Mrs Oracle (Nicola, my wife) for all the great shore support and for looking after our little son Leo (15month) she put as much in as I did out on the water accept she maybe got a little more sleep.

Thanks to the Sponsors Cadserv, Soft Source, Raymarine.

Thanks to the Supporters of which there were many Murray from Extract Digit, Janet and Collin from Tara Dawn, Murray from Cruise Control, Phil from Different Drummer, Neil at the Steel Works, Rik from TaraTara, Steve from Hurrani, Ben Walkley, Lex the rigging guy, Carl and Sarah from Phoenician, Timon and Kate for Accommodation in Wellington and the use of their car, Carrol and Julie for Accommodation in Palmerston North, Sue and Robbie for accommodation in Napier.