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B&G Simrad

B&G Simrad

Communique B&G Simrad 50 report

22 Jul 2008

Communique SIMRAD 08 R1


Sheltering down below as the rain hammers down Stew and I contemplate the mountain of food, is this a race or are we going cruising? Underway for the first time since the latest stage of the refit has been completed hopefully the sails still fit as expected and all the necessary gear removed to make way for the boat rebuilder has made its way back on board.


Motoring out we get a cheery greeting from Drop Dead Fred, Alan Bilkey commanding, and the same DDF that has been featuring so prominently in the chattering of the unemployed on A cup of tea, a listen to CH 21, and report in on CH 77 we have settled down and established we have enough ropes and winch handles. Time for a sail and first sight of the new #1 gifted to me by the Communique crew. It looks good and despite the more energetic weather forecast it is the sail of choice for the start.


The start line is very biased but the Long Haul Division gets away in an orderly manner so there is hope for us all. A near to the pin port tack start. The gun precipitates a rather ungentlemanly rush of starboard tackers all sailing away from the direction to the first mark (How does that work?). Never mind tack over squeeze out from Mr. Kamikaze below and we are away too bad about the boats to weather, we still have all day to play.

No such luck for Cloud 9.2 his day ends skewered by some random Hot Rod on port tack.


By North Head we own the left, not really optimum strategy. We carry on, find a clear lane and tack into it. We have the 1020s Azure and VTeam nearby and we lift off them with little effort. That new #1 looks like it's a good 'un. Pray for an early NW shift as the breeze lightens, and to my imagination it seems to be trending left, in any event we are now laying Rangi light and should be thinking VMG to Billy Goat Point. As the fleet crosses us it is clear the right was significantly better but then in a NE it is the convention to do the Rangi shore. We need to get a little smarter.


Along the back of Rangi it is very lumpy and light, as little as 7-8 knots at times. We are going well. Height is good, speed is good, genoa luff sloping in and out between the hanks, crow's feet everywhere, ugly as sin but it works. By Motutapu we have put Hot Gossip the leading F9.2 behind us and are looking at Billy Goat Point. As we round the point a couple of white van drivers pass inshore, one of them the always cheery Tony Newmarch... Nice to have a boat between us and the reef, they will hit first.


The kite in the Rakino Channel is a lot of fun Stew does a nifty gybe at the Home Bay Reef and we are free to enjoy the spectacle of some random skidder with the spinnaker pole around the forestay like a hair pin and the skipper hanging on to the gunwale all while showing a lot of rather dirty botty. We have Tony for company again as we surf along towards Motihue Green. A bit of chat just to let him know we will gybe the kite when we are good and ready and in the meantime we are on starboard.


It is fun in the squall as we approach the SW corner of Motihue but we go for the early take down and have resolved to keep the #1 as sail of choice. An uneventful sail to Passage Rocks gives us the chance to do lunch. Looking around I am surprised to see Josh and Jagged Edge closing with a nifty little jib top on our quarter. We had last seen him in the Motihue Channel heading for the Sergeant Channel with a lime green gennaker. The approach to Passage Rocks gets busy with two rather keen white van drivers inserting themselves between us and the reef. Josh is outside us and we have room to go a little wider. A call to Coast guard on Ch 82 is timed at 1327hrs


We set off for Browns Island rather to leeward of the nearby fleet but they thin out and we seem to be going OK. We are strictly rhumbline and to leeward of the fleet. What do these people to windward know that we don't? Well quite a bit actually, just one mile short of Browns Island a good NW squall and we are almost pointing at Musick Point. We tack onto port and consolidate what is a surprisingly modest loss. At Browns Island we tack out again and watch Jagged Edge cross our stern. On tacking back in the softening wind we find we are now laying Bean Rock. Unfortunately the wind backs further and the boats to leeward sail away in the 4-5 knot breeze. We go to the kite, very shy to Bean Rock but it sets with our dental floss sheets in the now drifting conditions. Gybing down wind is required to get to the finish and we are grateful for the puff of smoke as we finish under Orakei Wharf amongst the fishing lines. Thank goodness for the incoming tide. We feel that there is much we could have done better but behind us is a good proportion of the fleet with a long and slow struggle still to complete.


We chill over the rum and coke RTD handed to us at the finish and reflect on the day we have had at the office. Comparisons with our 07 effort are unflattering but we have done our best on the day, we have prepared carefully, we have taken our chances when we could, and we have savored a long standing friendship on the water.


In the morning the results are out, the SR 26s  Mercenary and Jagged have blitzed us. Congrats are due, we sail to the same PHRF. The standout award for perseverance however must go to E Nine who seemed to miss a change of tide to finish at 2327 after being ahead of us at Browns Is.


The really good news? We get to go sailing again in only two weeks.


Fendall Halliburton