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B&G Simrad

Communique's B&G Simrad 60 2009 Report

02 Aug 2009

A birthday outing to the SIMRAD 60

Saturday morning 0600, Windguru has the day peaking with 21 knots NW and rain by afternoon, just the ideal way to spend my 56th birthday. So its the polypros and get on with breakfast. I pack soup and the B&E pie made by my daughter Nicci. She will go far that girl, she knows what a man needs.

On board by 0730 run the engine, check the route on the plotter, pumpout the water tank and  make a quick review of the Sailing Instructions. I am joined by my sailing mate Stew now well versed in the art of sailing to windward after Outrageous Fortune to Noumea. Heading out of the Marina at 0815 we call up SSANZ and get an acknowledgement (Dave Cook take note).

In the sailing area it is a 8 knot NE despite the 15 knots reported at Bean Rock. I am anxious about starting with the #1 but our cross over for the #2 is around 10 knots true (about 14 apparent) so #1 it has to be. We make a dip start from above the line and sail off with Hot Gossip behind and to leeward. I am fascinated to see Josh make his first board after the start toward Torpedo wharf. We head out into the tide only to have Hot Gossip just waste us higher and faster. We tack away toward Rough Rock. It is important to stay in the tide and in this easterly Rangi is often favoured so off we go passing astern of Hot Gossip.

Taking back we find Josh passes just ahead, Josh is doing what he does so well, hiking hard. One more stab into the Rangi shore and we look OK but the forecast is NW and it would be unwise to get locked out to the east. Hot Gossip passes ahead again and carries on into Rangi. For us it is time to go west and we make the long board to the Takapuna shore. We are rewarded with a 20 plus degree wind shift and set off on port tack for Tiri.

The long grind to Tiri brings out the stories of the Noumea race from Stew but we are happy to see we are well placed and we pull away from the boats around us. We round Tiri Navy buoy astern of Njinsky and we think that is OK. The spinnaker run is glorious and we use the opportunity to change to #2 and do lunch. I chuckle when I see Hot Gossip behind loose the plot but our own whoopsie soon follows. On our beam Josh gets the masthead kite down and goes to a lime green Asail. He then spears off toward Waiheke.

In the mean time the cloud from Waiheke has approached and the wind starts to change SW. We dither over the decision to gybe and find ourselves charging off in the squall and the murk toward Little Barrier, our VMG to Gannet Rock Zero. Gybing looks a high risk option so we drop the kite and gybe onto head sail crossing tracks with Mercenary similarly under headsail. A look at the chart shows we have about 45 minutes sailing time to Gannet so Stew wrestles the soggy mass from down below back on deck and we reset the kite on Starboard Gybe and set off after Mercenary.

We round Gannet still behind Mercenary and call into the nice lady at the Coastguard, she even sounds, warm, dry, and comfy. It takes some time to get all the cogs engaged in forward motion but eventually we have a nice balance in the 15-17 knot winds but very awkward sea. We grind our way past Mercenary but make little impression on Lynchmob lugging a #1. Similarly a 1020 is ploughing along under #1 to seaward of us.

In the Motihue channel the wind fades and it is effortless and surprisingly fast sailing in the pouring rain and flat water. I am very impressed when Waka Huia sailing with their blade get past Lynchmob. We call Coastguard again, an hour to go, and are starting to think of easing the aches and pains. A discussion about changing up to the #1 goes nowhere. As we approach the finish in the fading wind, Mercenary eases past but the gunfire for first in class is very nice. Motoring into the darkness we do not know how the other F9.2s have fared, but Hot Gossip come into the Marina about 15 minutes after us and we think she will be the best of the rest. In the new day an early  check of the SSANZ site shows Hot Gossip takes PHRF by 3 minutes. In retrospect we could easily have found 3 minutes but it has been a great boys'  day out.