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ATL B&G Simrad

Pepe's B&G Simrad 60 2013 report

15 Jul 2013

Pepe simrad 60 report
With the forecast of variable 5 kts I was surprised to see a steady 5kt southerly, something told me that it was not going to last but there was a glimmer of hope that it was the gradient breeze come in early and that the day might not be so long and painful...
Looking at the line it was fairly obvious that the boat end was going to be a debacle so we got a clean start about 1/3 of the way down, just slightly late but in a reasonable position.
Once we had the zero unfurled we were off towards browns island in good company with motorboat, rattle and shreks house. After browns we stayed low while everyone else stayed high. I was thinking that the breeze was going to shift aft as we got down Tamaki strait so we were one of the first to put up the gennaker and go into VMG soak mode. This paid hugely as the breeze did swing substantially aft giving us a healthy lead over the fleet. We could see a large hole up ahead and not much way around it, there looked to be slightly more wind inshore but we would take a huge hit gybing back while the breeze was still a long way favoured for the STB gybe and it was a risky move with the majority of the fleet to windward. I was worried about a new forward breeze coming down and everyone reaching past us. We ended up parking up bigtime and watched the fleet catch up. Motorboat gradually sailed right up and through us about 100m to leeward. I decided we needed to gybe and get to the leeward side of the channel, we were the first to gybe and passed just behind motorboat then exchanged a few gybes with them to both work down to the waiheke shore. Slowly Motorboat crept away sailing a good VMG mode in the sub 3kt wind and able to keep the boat moving well while we struggled. Sneaking out a few hundred meters ahead to get around the first headland at Waikeke while there was still some breeze and shot off through channel with the tide. Meanwhile the wind died for us and we sat there for 2 hrs before getting a 2kt headwind which eventually got us around the point. Motorboat was out of sight at this stage. Most of the fleet had caught up a fair bit but we extended once out in the tide only to park up at Pakatoa Island again and have the entire fleet sail up to us again. we had found the big gennaker was just too hard to gybe in the lighter air and with the new breeze being a dead run out of waiheke passage we went for a peel to the spinnaker so we could match the competition who were mostly running spinnakers and have more options. After one of the gybes Westy was popping the main battens and sconned me square in the side of my head knocking me to the cockpit floor. Not his fault as he warned me he was doing it but I thought he had popped them on his first attempt and was not expecting the second one. I was a bit dazed and confused for a while but another beer brightened me up somewhat... it still hurts and I cant open my mouth properly, I would say that is my biggest ever head knock and the first time I have been hit by the boom.
I was really was hoping to get around Kauri point before the tide changed but this wasn't to be and instead we were fighting 2kts of tide with 2.5kts of boatspeed, 20 other boats and a headache..
Eventually we cleared the point and reached past hooks bay with the code zero on in 6kts of breeze. Around thumb point we hardened up and were laying Rakino passage with the zero in around 6 kts of wind as the sun set, it was a beautiful evening. The breeze slowly built to 8 -9kts and we decided it was time to change to the #1 headsail before we broke something. We layed right through to Rakino and hoisted the zero for the lighter air through the passage and back to the jib again once out into the stronger breeze. It was a really nice beat to rangi light, dolphins, a strong moon, flat water and clear skys with the wind steady between 9 and 11kts.  It doesn't get much better upwind sailing that that. After Rangi light we peeled back to the zero for the last bit to the finish. We suspected that Damon had finished a long time ago and sure enough we had all been taught a lesion bigtime with them finishing over a 2 hours ahead and had the party cranking on the motorboat when we arrived back to the dock, we took a bottle of rum over and congratulated them- the bottle didn't last long.....
We were happy with our race and glad to get out time back on the rest of the fleet in the beat home to take a second on line and handicap and still be in a strong position for the series.
Well done to Damon and giddy for a flawless race on the motorboat- Go the SR26!!
Will the sportsboat fleet be dominated by an SR26 again this year?