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B&G Simrad 2012

2012 SSANZ B&G Simrad 100 Communique's Race Report

11 Sep 2012

Communique SIMRAD 100 2012

A mild day with a pleasant NW to the start while we sipped on an instant cappuccino. The forecast had plenty of action and I was pleased to see course 2 displayed. I think a slog into the NW to Little Barrier would have been a test we were not ready for.

A nice start at the committee boat and this time the #2 headie was just the sail. Along the Rangi shore initially while thinking of the time to cross the tide to the bays. A good look at the Mairangi Bay beach and we were rewarded with a small shift to the left. Kept close until Torbay and made a long port tack to the Tiri shore. I fear exploiting the left a little more might have been preferable.

A long board to Motuora. Quite surprised to see the Y88s with a reef and with full main seemed very similar both going a little better than us. Over stood slightly before tacking and laid easily the northern tip of the island and then reached to Flat Rock in the building wind and sea. An unpleasant leg, not really well balanced and not feeling fast. More than a little grumpy that our neighbours, the F9.2 Hot Gossip, had done a good number on us from Mairangi Bay onwards and now we could not distinguish them in the fleet ahead. Our old friend Justin and Romany 2 had similarly rumbled off into the murk.

It proved a bit of a handful just bearing away at Flat Rock and we managed to round up a couple of times just reaching with the headie. Wind of 25 gusting maybe 35, tired and sore in the mid-afternoon we were two seriously grumpy old men. ?Stew there is nothing more we can do it has to be the kite?. The chicken chute it was, a couple of broaches and we were off. In the general direction of Waiheke we were in a world of our own. Bursts of 18 plus knots and long surfs in the 14-15 knot range replaced our aches and pains with fear. At our peak speeds we would fall down the face of the largest swells with the kite collapsing as the apparent wind went forward. On one of these swells we fell forward in as near to a ?face plant? as I ever wish to see on this cruising boat. Not since I retired from competitive Laser sailing 30 years ago have I seen such a nose dive.

For the chicken chute it was all a bit much and after some more very dramatic bursts of speed it all let go with a pop, a sort of audible whimper really, as it all fell into the sea, the head had torn off. Fortunately one of the luff tapes (an earlier repair by Rick) remained attached and we bought the halyard down to the deck. To make this soggy chaos of shredded nylon and tangled spinnaker gear really cute, the westerly front arrived with a major wind change. I looked up to realise we were still running square to the wind but our course had rotated more than 60 degrees. Bother, time to gybe and get the big kite out, a decision now made easier by the previous brave pill and the reduction in our choice of spinnakers by one.

A less eventful sail to Tarahiko followed. We were more than a little surprised to see Hot Gossip emerge from seaward out of the murk behind us. This posed a fresh problem, in two successive races we have established that Hot Gossip is now faster than us to windward under the #2. Only one choice, take the other brave pill and change up to the #1. This proved to be a good choice and in the 10-15 knot wind that prevailed through the night to the finish we sailed away. On approaching the finish we heard Wandering Star calling the Coastguard on CH82 with an hour to finish. For Stew this gave bragging rights with a crewmate from Outrageous Fortune.

Congratulations to Wandering Star who must win the series and to Hot Gossip who must be in second place overall.

Fendall Halliburton