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Mix T Motions RNI Leg 1 Report

21 Mar 2011

Leg 1- Auckland to Manganui

The Race started on the 19th of February, which was a beautiful sunny day with very little wind.
Family and friends came down to X-Pier to wish us well, my son Toby poured some champagne over the foredeck for good luck and we drank the rest.
On the start line we were among a group of boats who were across the line before the gun (there?s always a first time) so we turned back and probably lost about 20 minutes, it seemed like more, get it in perspective boys. I could feel dad?s binoculars boring into me from North Head. Rounding North head we had a plan to keep on the east coast bays side, and our luck changed here, when we dialed up our own personal cloud, the circle of wind beneath this cloud stayed with us all the way to Tiri Channel where we caught up with the rest of the parked up fleet,  (our spirits soared). We could see Akatea tacking backwards and forwards inside Whangaparoa Peninsula. What were they still doing back here? The run to Manganui was a slow and frustrating one because of the light conditions. We ended up going outside the Hen and Chickens in search of more wind during the night, and we found it, having a good run with the masthead kite, reaching a top speed of 8.5 knots. We had to change to a gennaker after that to accommodate a new wind angle as we headed off towards Cape Brett. Cape Brett was really to test our patience as we were camped up here for most of the day, spending a good 5 hrs close to Piercy Island with the sails flapping, doing circles. Tom said he was sweating like a rapist, I told him to drink plenty of water.
As our second night at sea began we finally said farewell to Cape Brett, and began sailing again, with good steady run to the Cavallis. From the Cavallis to Manganui the breeze off the land became very patchy, I had some fun on my watch playing snakes and ladders with the bigger boats, which should have been much further ahead of us. Approaching the finish line and just before coming around Berghan Point we were ahead of about 9 boats and doing well, we glided up close to Open Country at the point in the hope of overtaking. This ended up being a mistake as we lost the wind, and we had to sit there and watch, as all our good work was undone, one by one the boats sailed past us only 50 metres away. When we got into the bay, we were on the hunt for wind, the left side looked good so we proceeded to put in short tacks down here. The others went to the right, then the wind left us and went to the right, and we again watched as more boats overtook, one of them being Halo which came from about 4 miles behind us. We had just slid down a very big snake. We were thankful however that we crossed the line before the tide turned, or we could have drifted back out into the bay for god knows how long. Despite being last across the line (did I mention we weren?t happy with this), we managed to get third on PHRF handicap in our division. The Manganui yacht club turned it on for us, with a great prize giving and feast that night, all the crews were psyching themselves up for the next leg of the race in the Tasman sea down the west coast to Wellington, putting food in the belly, drinking plenty of water and not to much beer (well most of us anyway). A tropical cyclone featured in the forecast, but no one seemed too worried about the affects of this as it was forecast to go down the east coast.