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B&G Simrad

B&G Simrad 2011

Romany II B&G Simrad 60 2011 Report

15 Aug 2011


Romany II Simrad 60 2011 Report.


The day was foggy to start, and we were expecting light breeze. We were not surprised by the delayed start, and when the wind came from a sensible place, the SSANZ team got the start away promptly, good work.

We were not very far back from the line at 5 minutes, but the wind stopped where we were, so we were slow getting to the line, especially after tacking left to avoid the trawler that was aiming at us as it motored through the line, then having to do 2 extra tacks to get through the line, with a whole lot of other boats also slow away down by the pin. We went Ok close-reaching in the leeward line, but had started quite late, so it was catch-up for us. We felt soft breeze down there for a while, and wasted an opportunity to make some gains had we ridden up higher slightly earlier, but the day was young.

By the time we were properly into the Motuihe channel, we could see some strange wind happening off the NW tip of Waiheke. Clearly the wind shadow extended quite a way across the path we were trying to take. We opted to stay slightly wide, and caught up and passed a few boats who went in closer to Waiheke, so were happy with our chosen path. We found ourselves just behind the Farr 1020 L?Avanti, and just in front of our old friends in the Farr 9.2 Communique at this point, and were not really that close to anyone else in our division.

The beat to Gannet Rock was interesting, as the wind was moving steadily right, and we expected that there would be a big right-hander late in the leg, so we felt we SHOULD try to stay right of centre, but whenever we tacked inshore, we lost speed, so we stayed out to the left in the end after twice tacking in towards Waiheke. Many of the fleet had held out to the left on starboard all the way, and were describing a big lifting arc towards Gannet Rock. I did not think that the lift would carry them all the way there, but it did, so perhaps our two short legs towards Waiheke were counter-productive. Certainly when L?Avanti and Communique went inshore and we stayed out to the left, we made big gains as we were sailing in obviously stronger breeze, and arrived at Gannet rock with a decent 200m lead over L?Avanti, and way ahead of Communique who is normally quite even with us upwind in that breeze strength.

At Gannet rock, we put the kite up and headed for Tiri Navy Buoy. It was a bit slow, so by aiming up about 20 degrees, we picked up 1 full knot of speed, and decided that with the wind forecast to go right all day, we would hold high and fast and let the breeze force us down later. L?Avanti was doing the same, and slowly gaining on us. Communique rounded some minutes later, and seemed to sail a more direct course towards the mark. About half way along the reach, the wind hardened, and L?Avanti overtook us easily, sailing higher and faster. It was quite strange, because as long as the breeze was aft of the beam, we were holding a VERY slowly reducing lead, but the breeze forward of the beam obviously suited them much better than us. Their blue kite looked very nice as they went by so smoothly and easily.

We had seen the Townson 32 Delicado some way ahead of us at Gannet Rock, and we had been very slowly gaining on them along the reach. When they dropped their kite earlier than us, we unfurled our headsail, and carried it inside the spinnaker. Because the wind was just forward of the beam, this worked Ok and we gained on them quite quickly in the latter part of the reach. Communique had been following not very far behind and seemed to be going very well; they also put away their kite earlier than us, but they were well to leeward so would have a nice angle for 2-saIl reaching to Navy Buoy. We DID pass Delicado just before Navy Buoy, but once we put the kite away, they quickly sailed past us again, and L?Avanti were about 150m ahead of them as we rounded Tiri Navy Buoy just behind Deilcado. We thought that Communique rounded about 8 minutes behind us, but it was hard to be certain. We looked forward to a tough beat, expecting to have the Farr 1020 and T32 disappear on us, and thinking that Communique could well gain on us also.

With the wind moving right and contrary tide, we headed right for the East Coast bays and stayed there, beating along on starboard tack in a healthy breeze, which allowed us to use our full sail setup and feather the headsail slightly. We actually overtook the T32 Delicado here, and made a bit of ground on L?Avanti, as both these yachts went further left than us, but when L?Avanti crossed and tacked ahead and to windward, they steadily moved away from us as we would expect. For the last third of the beat, Delicado sailed close to us for most of the way to the finish, just to leeward or astern a bit. Amazingly, we actually seemed to be sailing higher than the T32 here, though slightly slower, so we were more or less even overall, though the Farr 1020 was always higher and faster than us.

Coming in towards the finish, we were not certain how best to manage the approach, but eventually ended up holding onto Starboard tack out of lack of a better plan. Delicado was also going that way, and when we made our first (and last) tack to Port to reach the finish line, they were just to leeward and astern, but we had a snafu with the genoa sheet catching in a hatch cover and were slow through the tack, so they ended up leeward and level with us. It was lucky for us that we they were not able to lay the finish boat, and Delicado had to tack twice to finish, otherwise they would have got there ahead of us.

We were very pleased overall with our race. It is obvious that with our current sail setup, we do not have what it takes to match the average 1020 or Stewart 34 yachts in our division going to windward, and we do not seem quite as quick on a reach either, but we can compete if we choose well. All of the boats that finished ahead of us in our division had started better, and sailed smarter than us, but we had a reasonable race without many major errors in judgement for the day. It was also surely one of the easiest Simrad races we have ever sailed ? no big park-ups, no big wind, and no rain at all. Altogether a lovely day?s sailing, and it was nice to have a few yachts from our division somewhere in sight through most of the day.

We were particularly pleased with our last beat, as we managed to actually stay in the game with L?Avanti (for a while), and with Deilicado, and it seems we took a few minutes off the very well-sorted Communique. From our past performances this was somewhat unexpected. It seems that we have a sweet spot with the sails we have at about 13-16 knots of true wind speed, but outside this range, we will not be quite so good I think. Maybe it is just that we only manage to sail the boat well in the moderate breeze, but time will tell.

Great work SSANZ, another excellent day?s racing. Looking forward to the Simrad 100.

Justin Graham.