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B&G Simrad

B&G Simrad

MUNETRA B&G Simrad 50 report

23 Jul 2008


Must be a SIMRAD race! Heavy squalls and dense rain as I drove through the CBD at 30kph. Very wet from carpark to berth. So full Ocean wets required, just to get to the boat. Motored out but by the time we were nearing the start, there was a "small" patch of blue out west, and it looked like clearing so to avoid overheating, changed out of very warm ocean wets for lighter coastal gear.

Last division away gave us time to contemplate start and with the easterly wind, decided for the wharf end. Still concerned about wind strength and noted several few reefs and/or No 2 genoas on the others, but in the end went with No 1 & full main. Good decision as it worked out but we were too slow at the start and as we tacked onto starboard and port sheet went under the spinnaker pole ripped pole chock off the deck. Thus we lost control of pointing, countdown and positioning but in the end got going, nicely on windward end, but lacked speed and saw lots of others ahead at committee boat end.

We ended up being slightly overpowered but good course over towards North Head and tacked to stay in main ebb current, good lifts up to Rangitoto shore and laid reasonably well towards Rangitoto Light. Lots of piedy's to windward and Cantara fell astern when changing her headsail. So decision for No1 at start was good for us.

Past Rangitoto light the waves increased but were reasonably spaced and we stood on a little until we could tack and lay past Rangi shoreline.

Unfortunately with a little leeway we were forced to do another short tack to clear the Rangi shore. China Doll was doing well just ahead but the waves seemed larger, and we closed up on her. We then tacked back towards Motutapu and once past the northern tip of Rangitoto, the waves seemed to drop and we were lifting towards our course to the Haystack.

Up ahead we could see the shorthaul division ahead of us being lifted up to Bill Goat Point, so we decided to stay on this board, go for speed more than pointing, hoping the wind would continue to back, as forecast. By now, the sun was struggling through the gloom, the clouds were lifting and it was becoming a very nice sail indeed.

Unfortunately the others in our division were staying higher which made us leeward boat. Possibly not the best position, given a backing wind forecast, but tacking away from the mark would of been even worse.

Approaching Motutapu's Bill Goat Point we were lifted and luckily pointing high enough to claw our way past the islands and reefs off Administration Bay and Billy Goat Point. Then the waves got larger with the wind against the tide in Rakino Channel but with a lee bow tide helping, we cleared Rakino as well. The wind had freshened and the waves grown to about 2m and once clear of Rakino we put a reef in and then pointed higher. Cantara passed us to windward and as the wind freshened further, we both sailed with back-winding mains. (Cantara said later they could see our keel a few times as we passed over the big waves.) We pointed higher than Cantara and were happy to do so, but she still rounded the Haystack ahead of us.

We poled our No1 out and ran our rhumb line. Cantara hoisted her small heavy weather "Chicken Chute" and headed more easterly towards Waiheke. We were now in close company with Christie and Hot Prospect all poled out on port tacks more or less even as we each caught and missed waves. Great stuff as there were some large 2.5+m waves with the wind directly into the ebb tide. It was TimTam time! Followed by coffee! As we rolled downhill, we could see other boats sailing more towards Waiheke and those with big kites doing big rolls. One tracker seemed to have problems, and ended up facing into the wild with a kite or gennaker clue high up the forestay.

As we approached Home Bay and the Motuihe Channel, the wind dropped until we decided to hoist our big full kite. We passed Christie once we hoisted and were away down past the eastern point of Motuihe. Cantara had not really gained on us from having hoisted her smaller flatter kite a lot earlier, but now in lesser wind, our direct course against her longer track meant that we had not lost out by not hoisting a kite back at the Haystack.

We gybed and headed south of Motuihe but the wind was lightening and Christie still polled out was still very close, possible even made up some time.

We then had to drop our full kite and 2 sailed up past Browns Island beacon, watching Cantara still carrying her flatter kite. To the north, there was lots more low clouds, approaching rain and the predicted NW wind shift. It was dark over the City and North Shore with low clouds over Narrow Neck to Takapuna. We decided to sail higher towards the new wind and try and put some money in the bank to stay above Doris rock. Christie Caught us up and slowly climbed above us. Then Andar came powering through and left us wallowing in her wake. Most impressive 50ft, but she used up all our wind and now Christie was ahead. We the decided to keep pointing higher as the rain was on us now, but the wind slowly headed us and we had to do a short tack to pass around Doris rock.

The last leg to the finish was lightening all the time and we ended up clawing past the wharf end of the finish line, in the dying breeze.

Cantara and Christie were to windward and just ahead, so it was a close race in the end. The Rum & coke from the safety boat was much appreciated.

Thanks SIMRAD.

Then we slowly motored home and a big calm descended upon the Bean Rocks and Finish line area. For once it was really nice being one of the smallest boats already finished, listening to the big boys rounding Passage Rock and knowing it was going to take them a long time to drift towards their finish. It hardly ever happens!! And now the surprise that we did really well on handicap.

Thanks SSANZ!