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B&G Simrad

Surveillance's 2009 B&G Simrad 50 report

06 Jul 2009

After looking at weather reports change back and forward, it was with delight that the day promised so well at the marina. Our performances last year when we were often late to the start, were not going to happen, and getting underway quickly we were soon motoring out from Half Moon Bay.

Getting to Orakei, we hung around the back waiting our turn and watching the big boys go.

After a bit of close manoeuvring, we managed to get to the wharf end of the line with what it seemed was everyone else from the smallboat division, then we were off!

We deliberately kept high initially hoping to use more of the outgoing tide, and as we turned the corner it seemed to have paid off, as we seemed to be doing well against the boats closer to North Head, but only just!

The wind started to build, and we noticed some of the boats changing down to their #2?s, but our new heavy#1 was performing beautifully so we sailed on occasionally easing the main in the puffs.

Up ahead we noticed a couple of ships coming down the channel, and there was some concern that we might end up playing chicken with the Navy, but thankfully they both passed ahead before we needed to cross the channel.

Passing Rangi light, we opted to keep on going, planning to tack in towards Gardiner gap once we had cleared Rangitoto, this we did, and immediately started to knock but we watched with interest the boats in the bay as they seemed to be catching a huge lift. A number of the boats around us opted to tack away out towards Tiri at this stage but we hung in there and were soon rewarded as for a while we were pointing at Rakino, and the tackers were heading back to the North Shore.

The lift dropped back, and we steadily zigzagged past Motutapu and Rakino, playing the main in the puffs and keeping the leaders of our division in sight.

Being newbies to this race, we had a few debates where exactly Haystack was and by the time we had worked it out a large squall was starting to make itself felt and the front runners were going around. We watched, impressed, as these guys put up kites and roared off, but by the time we were round, it was a bit boisterous for us, so opted to wait until the squall passed. We attempted to pole out the genoa, but a combination of a good puff and my not so slight mass up front caused us to round up, so we gave that up for a while. A few minutes later, after a few breaths, we did pole out the #1, and thought we were going really well, until out of the murk behind us Aquaholic, kite up, came screaming up behind!

The wind was a bit lighter by now, so we furled our genoa, and hoisted our kite as well, except that in the excitement the leeward sheet came out of the block. It took a couple of attempts with a boathook to get it back, and re run, and then it was all on for us as well, by now Aquaholic was well ahead, but at least they weren?t leaving us behind!

As conditions lightened, it became much more pleasant, and we concentrated on keeping our speed up, Through the Sargent channel, a quick gybe and around the back of Motuihe we had Zap keeping us company as they slowly overtook us, then we slowly caught them up, it might have been the tweaking  of our spinnaker settings, or maybe the offer of a beer if we could catch them.

At about this time we started to see some of the big boats coming back from round Waiheke, and travelling twice as fast as us, glide off towards Browns and the finish!

Still dogfighting with  Zap we rounded Browns, eased off a bit more and headed to Bean, Aquaholic still tantalisingly far away as we seemed to be slowly catching them in what appeared to be a strengthening breeze from behind.

Round Bean, we gybed again towards the line and finally broke away from Zap crossing the line 10s before them.

Then dousing the kite, it was back on the wind to slug our way back to Bucks. As we tacked towards home, trying to avoid people in our divisions that were still finishing (love to be able to say that!) we were able to see, through the now falling rain of the next squall, a wall of spinnakers from the shorthaul and longhaul divisions  as they came around Browns.


Thanks SSANZ we?ll be back in a month!