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B&G Simrad

B&G Simrad 2011

Young 88 B&G Simrad 60 2011 report

21 Aug 2011

The 2011 SSANZ B&G Simrad 60?.  a Young 88 ?Tail?


As a little boy (and still today), I loved a story about Scuppers the Sailor Dog.

Scuppers wanted to go to sea, and like myself he found a little boat with a sail, that had a hook for his coat, and a hook for his hat, and when it was dark he made his bed and went to sleep.


Well he did, however I was on the harbour in this month?s Simrad 60, but still with that childhood dream. There are a few points that Scuppers had the benefit of, one being that he wasn?t amongst the most competitive fleet of Young 88s searching for every second of performance, it wasn?t cold, he remembered his lunch, and didn?t forget his long pants!


Saturday 13th August started early with a decibel deafening blast on the sound system of various artists who I understood were to have motivated the athletes who had run faster, flew further, and set records that stand today.


There was little breeze, the sea was flat, and a fog from the cool evening took its time to clear. The morning offered nothing and an AP as expected was signaled.


After a short couple of hours, the great race was on. The easterly of 5 knots had come in. On days like this you wish the main hoisted another 20 mtrs and the class jibs were not to dissimilar to the zero?s of a Volvo 70.


We were looking forward to a lot of transoms. Not the start we wanted and half expecting a bucket not weed I checked the rudder. The light weather manual suggested twist and weight forward. Both were dialed in and the pace improved.


I know you make your own luck, but we were just fortunate to be that far behind, we saw the hole many had fallen into just off the edge of Waiheke. With the pace of a snail, we moved through the park up, finding ourselves mid fleet.


Outrageous Ross was heading to shore, Flash Dougie appeared backing up, and there was Heaven offering nothing but Hell.  The eagerness to go wide was soon balanced by the lifting pressure off the coast and many had found it. Mike and Rod?s War Machine, Skitzo, and Cosa Nostra stuck it out there, finally lifting to course as we approached the Rock.


It?s been years since I was down the back of Waiheke, and you?re reminded what?s there and the appeal that took you there those years before. These Simrad?s get you out.


We had the kite to contend with next, as we rounded Gannet Rock and set up for Navy Buoy in the Tiri Channel.


I did the bow, set the pole, got the brace back and stood by for the hoist. With Tom in the back I was concerned the kite would not hoist quick enough and was about to assist at the mast. My thoughts turned from can it happen to ?made?. I had rope burn from being slow to keep up, and was now concerned we had pulled the head through the little sheave. Tom takes about 5 metres in each arm?s length and just ?sorted? it.


Jib down, the chase was on. Heartlight was only just ahead, we had already seen Des on Nijinski, Nathan?s Slipstream, Yarko Sailor, and Flash Dougie round as we approached and they were goneski!


It was all about little gains, easy movement around the deck, soft helm, gentle trim. Closing on Heartlight took some time as we battled, finally earning the right to pass. On dusk the dolphins came over to visit, and the day became night. A cool night??. not a shorts night!


The boats visible in the distance had dropped their kites and were tight coming into the Tiri Channel. We went high in the hope of holding it for longer as Des had, but that went wrong and then you question your logic, your skill, realising why you?re not in Europe on cats, wingsailing.


We didn?t give up and it was all on again for the long leg from Tiri up to town. I can?t say how I know this but it has worked each time before?? the breeze lifts coming into the bays, and thinking we were out of tide, we beat into the coast and lifted in calmer waters at a speed generally reserved for naval aviators.


The pain of the cold on my knees that bleed foredeck, lessened as I realised the shadow crossing ahead was an 88. Sailing fast we cover tacked, match racing still after 40 miles. Another 88 ahead, it?s Nijinski Des.


We invite ourselves though the little window left open, heart rate at 160, it?s uncharted territory at 140, so 160 has us gasping for oxygen and recalling the emergency 3 digits. The tension is almost unbearable, but we stay focused on trimming a headsail we can?t see.


It?s almost over, the day has been long, the sun set many hours earlier. We cross the channel of an outgoing tide to Orakei. We can?t make it, it will be two tacks and in.


The lights of a hunting pack close on us, but they too are drawn down by the force of the tide and we flop over for a cross and sigh, what a finish, so close, Yarko just ahead, Dougie already heading home, but its Slipstream sailed by a fantastic couple, who are deserved victors in the Young 88s.


Congratulations all, and big thanks to the volunteers of SSANZ.  We each won our own battle, and we loved it when we hated it, and like Scuppers, we?re grateful we had the opportunity to go to sea.


Rick Hackett