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Galeforce 2011 RNI Leg 1 Report

21 Feb 2011

Race day dawned fine and clear...but barely a breath of wind to be seen. Oh well race start is 1400...heaps of time for the breeze to build. A busy morning of final preparations, TV interviews, Website instructions etc before finally setting off. Oh...still stuff all wind. Luckily a light breeze filled in to get the boats away but not without a few dramas. Several boats were caught out by the outgoing tide crossing the line early and having to go back. Caper somehow managed to hit and attach themselves to the start mark. On Galeforce our gameplan of starting near the buoy didn't happen (Hey time tell me if you don't like the plan instead of just doing something else !) anyway we ended up close to the wharf with a good start near the front of the fleet. We were one of the first boats to gybe at North Head which quickly became the right move. Coppelia had gybed first and was soon leading the entire fleet. We had a very frustrating trip towards Tiri as the breeze continually died and filled in from behind, bringing the rest of the fleet up to the leaders. In close to East Coast bays seemed to be the best spot and we exchanged the lead with Karma Police and Surreal. Unfortunately when a consistant breeze finally set in it was the other side that came out well in front, numerous boats going out side Tiri.

Bugger, we have a bit of catching up to do. Initially we decided to head outside the Hen and Chicks but a big shift saw a change of plan. As we had been aiming for the outside we now had a much hotter angle in and made big gains passing all the Div 3 boats and more. Dave came up form below and was all smiles when I updated him on progress. Unfortunately it was relatively shortlived as we parked up between Bream Head and Tutukaka and lots of boats got past. Back to work again...

Morning saw us in close company with Valium and Second Nature. Extremely light and a horrible sea which was determined to stop anyone setting their sails. We spent the day trying all possible options but missed a crucial move keeping in touch with Valium and Second Nature by gybing back into the Bay of Islands after rounding Cape Brett.

Initially the plan was going outside the Cavalli Islands, but a big shift changed that so we set off chasing Valium and Second Nature through the Cavalli Passage. Several tacks to clear the numerous rocks and we were on the way to Stevenson's. Looking back behind I said to Dave "Lucky we got through there ! It's now gone glassy" We go to Flat Island before the breeze died only to have another 180 degree shift and picked up a nice breeze off the land. Code Zero on and finally making progress. A change to No.1 headsail and far too many tacks into Doubtless Bay and we eventually finished just before 3 am very pleased it was all over.