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Team Surreal's Leg 3 RNZ report

19 Mar 2012


Leg 3 Stewart Island to Napier


After a full week of enjoying Stewart Island's amazing awesome hospitality it was time to leave for Napier. I think Team Surreal was a hit with the local's as we received an unbelievable amount of amazing home baking. Prior to the race Tim guaranteed me weight loss during the race...something I could have done with! But after our stay in Stewart Island feasting on Paua, Crayfish, Blue Cod, Muttonbird etc etc there is no hope of any reduction.


Anyway we finally left at 1400 hrs on Tuesday to the cheers of school kids and locals who came out on 4 fishing boats to see off the fleet. Coppelia, Truxton and Surreal battled for the early lead but eventually Rev's popped a massive gennaker to storm their way through the fleet. By nightfall Rev's was in front with Truxton and Surreal scrapping for second with Danaide and Coppelia not far behind.


During the night Crafty Croftie and Super Sally on Coppelia used their secret weapon (Code Zero? Still looking for our one Tim J) and headed for the beach. Their tactic worked well and they went to the front of the fleet. After rounding the bottom corner of the South Island Revs hit the front and Surreal went past Coppelia for second. However Coppelia was going very well which prompted Tim to check if Vicky (who runs the quiz night at Stewart Island) had stowed away and was now sitting on the windward rail when Croftie called in on VHF. If she had of stowed away we wouldn't have been surprised as the chemistry between her and Croftie was obvious. Anyway while heading towards the Otago peninsular the wind lightened. Rev?s slowed (weed ???) and Surreal slipped past. We were worried about getting stuck close to the coast so popped the gennaker to get further offshore. It seems Croftie had also made a similar move along with Truxton before we had and got away a little.


On approaching Banks peninsular we were back on the wind, Surreal was loving it  and fighting back into the lead. Next we saw a breeze line building behind. When the breeze built extremely quickly we decide to just pole out the headsail initially until things settled and we could decide which sail was best. However the start of a shift made us decide to gybe first before hoisting the gennaker. Intitially we were well above course but we expected the breeze to keep heading us. At this point we were also worried about Truxton hunting us down!


After a couple of hours driving under gennaker  we switched helmsman on Surreal. Within 5 minutes we had our first wipeout of the leg. Tim swears it was caused by a massive Tuna strike on the lure we were trawling which pulled the back of the boat around. I have some large doubts on his theory, but the fact remains our lure was gone despite being rigged on pretty heavy line.


We held the Gennaker until about 70 miles from Cape Kidnappers. Truxton had passed us but were 13-14 miles further out to sea but only 4 miles closer to the finish. The breeze shifted forward and Surreal was in her element hauling Truxton in. We had 2 chances to get line honours...1.) if the breeze stayed from the same direction. 2.) A massive knock. Unfortunately we got a knock but not big enough to help us. In fact it made Truxton famous as it converted their extra distance out to sea into distance to windward. I also suspect the breeze knocked Truxton less and much later than us, helping them further. So Truxton has won another leg! Well deserved as they sail extremely well and push the boat very hard. On a positive note for Surreal, another leg, another podium, we are in good shape for the overall results. Leading on points for Line Honour's and IRC and only 1 point behind on PHRF. Watch this space!


Another unusual event to occur on the final night of the leg... A little bird flew into me while helming then sat on my knee for 10-15 min before moving to sit beside me for a further 20 min. It seemed pretty relaxed sitting happily with no attempts to bite.