Sunstone's Leg Reports
29 Mar 2012
Sunstone's "As It Happened" Reports Legs 2, 3 & 4
Day 1/2 Leg 2
Light patchy start,lots of sail evolution for little gain. Surreal took a flyer and gained, then got dumped. Vingilot and Danaide found breeze along the shore and did well. Looked like Truxton led the way again. Sunstone and Pelagian level pegging, til Pelagian went under Surville cliffs, gained then stopped. Pelagian fell into huge black hole off Reinga and not seen again. Sloppy v light sailing in the night, now much better - though not in the right direction. Dolphins, sharks and albatross.
Leg2, Day 3
Frustrating day yesterday until late afternoon. Light beating in a lumpy swell - not exactly Sunstone forte. Breeze veered and filled late to give pleasant sailing nearly making the course required. Looks like we're pretty far off the pace though. We'll see what happens when the going gets tough.
Leg 2 - Day 4&5
Day four was pretty
unpleasant and we're not over surprised that three boats are seeking shelter,
especially with a nasty low on the way - though what shelter they'll find in
Golden Bay we don't know! Wind was mostly 30-35 on the nose with very big seas,
some 8-10 m. Though the wind probably didn't require it we eventually got down
to No 4 and trysail, which was about right. Anyway, it seems to have done us
some good relative to other boats - except for Surreal, which has shot away
from us all. Only one bit of damage, when the 3rd reef pennant snapped - we
jury rigged another. Today is lighter beating - 15 knots at the moment with a
left-over sea. It looks like another day of beating in 30+ tomorrow and then
maybe some running or reaching for a day or two. Sunstone is a rather damp
house-boat at present. Roll on
Leg 2 - Days 6 & 7
We were relieved to hear
that both the Pelagians and Panthers were OK. They must have had a hell of an
ordeal and deserve a prize for getting through it. Maybe someone would sponsor
Leg 2 Day 7 & 8
yesterday in beautiful weather, but no wind. During the day we made a total of
about 6 miles, while we sat in the
Leg 2 - Days??
Losing count here after last night's encounter with Puysegur. We had fast running down the Fiordland coast with the wind building steadily until by evening we had just the poled No3, which we finally exchanged for the storm jib (not seen out of its bag since the 1985 Fastnet). The seas also built steadily and by the time we were off Chalky and Preservation they were also breaking heavily. One of these caught us out and put us on our side, causing a certain amount of domestic mayhem. The only major damage was one small bit of the Monitor which we'll have to try to replace at short notice if we are to have self-steering capability for the next legs. By daylight we were past Puysegur with the wind still gusting in the 50s, but the seas down. By noon it was pleasant fast reaching with full main and poled No3. This evening we are sitting 12 miles from the finish with virtually no wind and Vingilot and Revs snapping at our heels all too clearly in sight. It would be nice to finish before dawn.
Leg 2 End
At my last update we
were bobbing around in no wind and foul tide on the east coast of Stewart Is,
thinking that we might still have to hand over lead for the leg to Surreal by
not finishing until morning. About 2100 a fickle but firmer breeze filled from
the west and we got underway, moving away from Vingilot and Revs who were still
stuck off Saddle Point. In fits and starts we made it to the finish at 2256,
This leg has been one of the most challenging bits of racing we've ever done. We've had every sort of weather, from light beating in swell to exceptionally heavy running in breaking waves. We've used 10 different sails at various times, quite apart from reefs in and out. Though most of the leg was in deep water there were also the challenges of the coast at Reinga and Puysegur, the latter in very heavy conditions with poor visibility. Sunstone has never been knocked down before. The boat is fine, but everything is even wetter than on any previous race and we have had some very very wet ones. All of this two-handed. We're shattered! But pretty pleased with ourselves for the moment. Now for the cleaning up and repairs - as well as the odd drink.
Leg 3 Day 1
After a wonderful
stop-over and the overwhelming hospitality of the Stewart islanders, we've had
a frustrating first 20 hours. The start in light SW saw everyone away cleanly,
with the light fractional fliers moving away as you might expect and working
their angles. There was a small shift to Wly on which they all gybed, while the
back of the fleet did not - to their cost. The shift put us in the long shadow
of the heights on the north coast of
Leg 3 Day 2
Well, the wind did firm,
coming in from the north and giving us all a beat past the
On the personal front, Tom is struggling to shrug off a cold.
Leg 3 Day 3
Quite a contrast during the last 24 hours. The wind built rapidly in the late morning to 25+ from the south. We reached with the heavy spin all day and into the evening, when the wind lightened steadily. By about 2200 the combination of lack of wind and seas made the spin too unstable, we took down and did our best with a poled headsail, until the wind went westerly and very light when we gybed. In the early hours, after a patch of bugger all, the breeze went back to the SE and we gybed again. Since dawn it's firmed a little and come more easterly, but still nothing much in strength. Looks like Surreal, Truxton and Coppelia have stayed east to stay in the southerlies as long as possible, but we guess they still have the light and vars to come.
Mobbed by a pod of phosphorescent dolphins during the night, upsetting concentration on boat speed! Cold coming on nicely
Leg 3 end
Sorry that we missed reporting during the last half of the leg. We missed Day 4 because it was fairly bouncy beating and I didn't get the computer out. We missed yesterday out of depression and embarrassment.
On Thursday afternoon we
had a delightful beat in sunny weather past the
Sorry we didn't give you any 'as it happens' reports for Leg 4. It was an all up-wind leg and so there weren't great opportunities to sit with the computer!
We went out to the start
at Napier in thick fog. For a time Vingilot and Danaide got lost beyond the
shipping channel with ship movements in and out of the port. However, the start
was only fifteen minutes late - the only up-wind start of the Race. In an
excess of enthusiasm, Coppelia headed toward the exclusion zone, reversed out
and bumped Danaide in the process, having to do a 720 to clear herself. There
had been some despondency at the pre-leg briefing with a forecast of filthy
weather for the first night. In the event, it was pretty objectionable, but not
truly wicked. By the middle of the next day things were easing off. When we got
the No 4 down we found that the leech tabling had given up the unequal struggle
in one area, so we hoped we wouldn't need it again. We certainly didn't during
the remainder of the day when the wind got lighter, but then filled during the
night. Needless to say this was all on the wind work. Despite the weather we
were pretty pleased with our progress, staying well up with the pack and well
placed on handicap. However, we were increasingly worried that we wouldn't make
the tide-gate at
Tom and Vicky Jackson