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MUNETRA B&G Simrad 100 report

08 Sep 2008

MUNETRA Raven 26

What a glorious day to start in lovely conditions. Most UN-SIMRAD like and a pleasant change.

We had a middle of the line start with No 1 and full main, back about 15 to 20 seconds and immediately hoisted our spinnaker on a Starboard gybe, Then later gybed to Port when able to lay up past North Head to Rangitoto Lighthouse. We sailed inside Rough Rock, then crossed the tide and stayed close to the rhumb line all the way to Navy Buoy. Twice on this leg when adjusting spinnaker pole positioning as the wind puffed and swung slightly, we had the guy work its way out of the parrot beak. We then decided to have the pin in the parrot beak facing down, which should solve the problem of having a thinner spin sheet/gut and with the pin up. Luckily this was our only gear issue all race.

A good spinnaker ride and its always amazing how spread out boats become and then converge and arrive at the leeward mark at the same time. We gybed on to Starboard for the last mile or so to Navy buoy. I was surprised how close the two yellow buoys were together, especially from our approach angle. Have the buoys been moved or dragged? I can understand some confusion from other boats who were able or decided to round BOTH buoys. Still no time to worry about that as we dropped the spinnaker, rounded the eastern most buoy and 2 sail reached towards Thumb Point in a group of 5 or 6 yachts. We did not see any dolphins or orcas, only a few gannets and other seabirds. Hot Prospect climbed up past us and continued to weather but we held to the rhumb line course.

China Doll nearing Gannet Rock poled her headsail out to leeward, and annoyingly overtook us as did another blue hulled yacht. We tried a leeward pole but sagged to leeward badly and so gave up. Later we heard it was a new #2 China Doll was using and so the shorter foot polled out was working well for them, where as our #1 Genoa was too long on the foot.

Less wind under Thumb Point with down drafts and swirls, puffs and lifts as we kept a more direct course, caught up to some boats nearly, before they all decided to leave us behind. Finally we had some steady breeze and were close hauled to lay out East of Pakatoa Island.

We watched all the fleet tack in towards the channel but we decided that following them we would still be following them. So after a reasonable debate, we carried on alone, East of Pakatoa and Rotoroa Islands, and then short tacked through Ruthe Passage. Interestingly we picked up about 4 places, but were terribly disappointed that the whole fleet was not trapped in a big hole in Man o? War Bay, pushing the tide. So our flyer plan only partly worked!

We crossed tacks with Cantara, eventually able to get ahead and with great pleasure, call ?Starboard? on her. After that several short tacks up Waiheke channel as we went East of Sunday Rock, and clawed our way past the headlands off the South East of Waiheke. The waves created by the combination of wind, tide and the bounce back from the headlands was very confused and for us, a real speed stopper. The others, Yorick and St Fintan, slipped ahead whilst we wallowed and tacked and slopped around, eventually getting past. Once settled out of the slop and in the same wind, we doubled our speed, kept a more windward course and sailed one tack all the way to Browns Island.

We found it hard to identify the beacon light, only really locating its red sector flash about 1.5 miles away. Rounding we hardened up and climbed towards Mission Bay. We could see the stern lights of boats ahead more towards Rangitoto shore and slowly we caught them up and overtook them, as they seemed to have fallen into a hole. We were then able to ease sheets, rounded Doris Rock and a couple of tacks in the lightening breeze, we eventually finished ahead of about 5 other yachts..

Overall a really enjoyable sail in shorts until nightfall. Now if it had been another 10 degrees warmer at night, one would not need to make tropical comparisons. We must have been consistent in our sailing and happy for another 3rd on handicap.

Thanks SSANZ!.