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Jagged Edge's B&G Simrad 100 report.

08 Sep 2008

With the forecast of very light winds a few days before the race we had stripped the boat of any excess weight and made sure that we were 100% cocked for the potentially very long race.

As it turned out on the day there was plenty of breeze but having a light ship was still good for the 40nm run!

Discovered in the days leading up to the race that our nav lights were not working, dan bouy light had a blown bulb and the stereo was waterlogged so we had to actually put a bit of effort in to get 100%, the only way to fix the stereo was to dry it out and leave it on, if it was turned off ever then it wouldn?t turn back on until dried again! So the only answer was music for the whole race, which didn't worry me the slightest.

We started down at the Wharf end on STB with the plan to gybe ASAP (I still hate setting up on port and then getting screwed by a STB boat so we felt the STB setup was safer), Gybed and crossed the fleet and lead the shorthaul div past Northhead (2nd time in a row!). Eventually got run down by some of the bigger boats and also the main competition "Mercenary" who had a longer pole and bigger kite (I know that seems impossible with the size of our one!). Settled in for the long run, had a beer and retuned the stereo to the rock as we slowly lost george FM.

By Tiri we had Mercenary about 5 lengths behind, with both boats going pretty much exactly the same speed, we decided to gybe in for a while after spotting some more breeze coming down and they carried on, after we gybed back to stb we were pretty much heading directly for Flat rock and converging on Mercenary with them crossing almost exactly the same distance back if not a slight gain to us, we gybed to cover them and set ourselves up between them and little barrier.

After assessing the fleet we were pretty happy with our position, the 2 E7.9s (grunty chicken and Moving violation) were a long way back at this stage and we could just see the big MRX kite on Trainsmash also a fair way back. Could only see one of the R930s which was the Drop dead Fred way out to sea and coming in with some nice breeze, the 2 E9s which we needed to beat on line and handicap to have a shot at the series were also no where to be seen.

We gybed into little barrier just before the lay line leaving mercenary outside us. I was banking on the knocking and building breeze around Little barrier to get us down to their line which we did eventually get and picked up a handy few hundred meters. Drop dead fred however had done the same to us and managed to get away a bit.

At this stage the wind had built to 15-20 kts and we were getting a few bursts into the mid teens. It was just awesome sailing, spectacular scenery, warm, nice waves and a perfect breeze.

As we put the pole forward there were a few nice gusts coming off the shore and we witnessed one of the hanse 37s (Enhanse I think) fully pop up and start plaining! It was pretty impressive. There was a bit of carnage in front with some good wipeouts and bad kite drops, we had a bit on ourselves a few times but managed to hold on and drop in the lee of the island.

I spotted some wind right in close so we decided to give the inside a go. It turned out OK but a few of the bigger boats got thru outside us by carrying momentum a bit longer and getting to the new breeze a bit quicker.

Once into the new breeze we got a bit of an idea what we were in for, it was blowing 18-25kts and with a nasty short sharp chop (well nasty in a 26ft boat?) and we had the # 2 jib and full main.

Mercenary was just to leeward and had done some nice work, we had the windward position so were still in front but they were going faster, the new keel makes quite a bit of difference upwind and they just had a click of height and speed on us. We still have the original keel which so the boat is seriously lacking some stability! It was going to be a long night of MAX bean for me, hiking my phat ass off!

 We saw a few boats tack away for Kawau which made no sense to us with the forecast of big left breeze so we stuck to our game plan and chugged away out to corromandel and let them all go. Eventually Mercenary got thru us and tacked to cross us by about 100m, we thought they might just put a loose cover on us but instead they carried on towards tiri.

We were adamant to hold on to the left until we noticed a change, either a lightning breeze or a knock, this did take a bit longer than expected and we were well up to corromandel when eventually we got a 10 degree knock then another 10, so we tacked over and were laying about rangi light, the breeze was still dropping and slowly lifting, we peeled to the #1 and then I got my lard ass back to max beam to add another 1/2kt of boat speed.

The glow tape that I had put along the speed stripes of the sails was worth its weight in gold as the breeze softened as we could see the exact shape of the sail glowing above you and there was no need for torches to ruin your night vision.

Slowly we lifted to rakino, then motuihe passage and then actually cracked sheets slightly for a while and were heading for motuihe at 6.5 kts in about 6-8kts of wind. The wind softened slowly as we got past the noises and I ended up forward and to leeward inside the boat to help keep us moving along in about 3 kts of wind. The wind had started to lift quite dramatically now and we were considering a gennaker.

We could see a few boats around us, no idea who they were but we knew we were going really fast compared to them and we must have pasted 5 or more boats just before motuihe.

Up went the MH gennaker (2nd time up) and we headed straight for bean rock at 1-3kts with the wind just aft of the beam, the new breeze was lifting with every puff so we were concerned that we would end up VMG running while the boats that opted for rangi channel were beam reaching. This was not an easy leg with the breeze being very fluky and we had to sail it with total concentration to make sure we didn?t park and sail as deep as we could. There were still some big holes that we were trying to avoid and occasionally we would fully over run the wind and have to get the boat going again. It was pretty intense as we did have the feeling that it was about to shut down and go very light and aft for us and we needed to get round bean rick before this happened, the tide had also turned and was now against us so we really wanted to finish before it went bad.

Eventually we got a puff out of the river and were able to get the bow down to bean rock and took some depth while we had it.

Rounded Bean rock and strapped the gennaker in hard for the tight reach to the finish in about 3 kts of wind.

At this stage we had no idea where we were in the fleet and if we had gone the complete wrong way. We had heard some chatter on the VHF about some boats parked up at rangi with 40 other boats so we were hoping that it had worked out.

As we neared the boat I yelled out ?how many shorthaul 2 boats have finished?? there was no reply but instead a loud gunshot echoed around the harbour and a cheerfull voice from the boat said ?does that answer your question??? We had finished at 2:22am

We couldn't believe it, Line honors which would also mean a PHRF win for us, so that was the double for the this race, and PHRF for the series with the chance of it being a double for the series depending on where the 2 elliot 9ms finished.

The next boat in our div (mercenary) was 52minutes back on line so the left had paid and my sore ass and gut from hanging over the lifelines all night had been worth it!

Only one 1020, one Y88 and 2 shorthaul 1 boats had beaten us. So out of the shorthaul course we were the 5th boat home (excluding the cruising div) and had beaten all the S34s and Farr 9.2s.

It turns out that we have the Double for the series (by our calcs) which we are really happy with as we had 2 aims when we got the boat- SR nationals and simrad series!

Now its time to turn the boat into a family cruiser to accommodate my 2 week old son Nathan for his first Christmas/newyear cruise.

Will be back next year for sure.