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B&G Simrad

B&G Simrad 2011

2011 B&G Simrad 100 report from Panacea

12 Sep 2011


Champagne sailing for Panacea allSaturday, sunny and warm and its mid winter, as I recon our seasons are inreality about 1 month to 6 weeks late in practical terms. Sunday's rain andsqualls confirmed this.

Pre-race went well, made it to the committee boat before first start of theLonghaul boats. When straight for a spinnaker hoist and was conservativelyabout a 1 minute late, not that that mattered much as we soon caught up to thedivision ahead. Headed in towards the Rangitoto shore looking for the followingwind that seemed to be building from the SE. Bore away abruptly from some brownwater ahead, after checking there was no clouds near the sun. Thump n Grind found that patch just astern of us. Yes definitely THUMP, there was no gentle "bump" about it!!

Fell into the hole before Rangi light, triedtacking with big genoa as we then watched those to leeward get away, andsmaller boats catch up. Got past Rangi and in a lovely light breeze, were closehauled. After much discussion trying to see what the wind was doing, we put intwo tacks in up the Rangi shore, and then were able to lay north of Tiri.Coffee was happily served and all was well in onboard. We were climbing higherthan a lot of bigger boats that stayed on the same tack from Rangi Light, but theyhad more tide with them possibly, but then again, we thought our two short tacksafter Rangi was paying off.

Time to listen to the weather reports and Channel Islandat 10 to 12 knots was over 50% stronger than Tiri and from 100 to 105 degrees.Decision made was to sail towards the new and stronger breeze, hopefully thengetting a chance for a kite ride to Little Barrier. We tacked well before Tiri,initially only laying 095T but slowly getting lifted as we had little windincreases and off lifts. Eventually we seemed to be the most easterly andwindward of the fleet, hopefully hoping our tactic was going to be a winner. Equallymany knocks, kept us wondering about the boats that went through Tiri passage,hoping that they had fallen into a big wind shadow from Tiri. Later windreports showed the wind more northerly inshore, yet Channel Is was still 100 to090 wind and stronger. So we kept heading towards Colville,then lifting to be aiming at Great Barrier. Then we hit a patchy area where thewind went into big lifts and knocks at the same time the water was ratherchoppy from wind against tide as we were somewhere SE of Anchorite Rock. Wetacked many times, trying to get boat speed, and VMG and VMC all increasing andhigh. Still the Channel Is wind was stronger than Tiri and still in the E toESE quarter, so we plugged on, watching the dolphins and now in amongst somebigger boats heading east as well.

Then we saw one of the east heading yachts was a S34, possibly Pahi but toofar away to be sure. They were about 300m ahead on one tack but now a couple ofhours later, they were about 1.5 miles ahead, and seemed therefore to havegained a lot having sailed more north. Further they were most likely in theLonghaul as they were in Race 2. So we tacked onto starboard and headed north,and slowly were lifted until we were laying the middle of Little Barrier. Thelonged for easterly wind from Channel Is had decided to avoid us and the NEwind seemed to have settled in. We continued well in towards Little Barrier,eventually tacking to stay in the breeze and now were heading directly for HornRock. Being nearer high tide, we most probably would not see them and so guidedby our GPS, tacked just before them, hoping to clear Little Barrier. The seawas quite sloppy still, but now as darkness fell, it was getting colder. Wejust seemed not to be sailing that well in the afternoon, a combination of manyoscillations in the breeze and the sloppy water, but now the wind was steadierand our performance improved, but we had a bad tack at one stage, being backwinded and having to double tack and get going again. Luckily it was our onlybad moment. So after going closer to Channel Is, we still did not seem to getthe expected and reported conditions.

Now other boats were joining us and we rounded Little Barrier, then hoistedbig kite and enjoyed the sail towards Cape Rodney,trying to sail a hot to deeper angle. One bigger yacht seemed very slow andvery deep, possibly Squid with his shy (only) kite, closer into Little Barrier.

Had a good run down towards Kawau, in the building breeze, and discussedtactics. The wind now seemed to be more northerly and we were running fairlydeep, planning our gybe, possibly changing to the heavier No 2 kite. Suddenlythere was a lot more wind as a small dark cloud was above us and we were nowheading towards the solid middle of Kawau in 25knts. I decided to drop the newlight kite ASAP to avoid ripping it to pieces on its 5th hoist. Sowe then gybed and poled out No 1 headsail, still doing the same steady speed8.5kts as under spinnaker but a lot safer. We passed east but very close toFlat Rock, laying Tiri as the wind increased in gusts. Eventually we wentbetween Shearer and Shag Rocks, east of Tiri and then sailed more downwind witha top displayed speed of 10.0kts. The instruments recorded a maximum 15.44ktsbut who would believe that?

In the Rangitoto Channel, we and 3 other yachts were spot lit by ahelicopter that then spot lit a big white shape in the water. We passed insideRough Rock buoy, as were able to make out the Police boat and several othervessels, called Coastguard who told us of the dismasting and their attendance.We had turned the radio off so someone onboard could sleep, but I got him upfor this. We then finished, gybed and dropped the genoa in quite a strong gustand relaxed up the harbour. So a good race, a close tour ofmany named but unsighted rocks that we managed to keep away from, no damage orinjuries, but tired after such a full day.

Thanks SSANZ.