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Marshall Law 2014 RNI Leg 2 Report

15 Feb 2014

OK Leg 2.. We got off to a rocket start out of Doubtless bay. Started on the committee boat and tacked off out to sea with the code zero asap.. We kept going out while the fleet sailed into the bay and were looking amazing at one stage. We were all powered up and the fleet behind us looked pretty dead in the water. We got nervous though and tacked back to join the fleet and ended up around mid fleet. If we would have waited another half hour we probably would have had a glamour board and crossed the fleet, but oh well.
We did OK up to North cape and rounded in close company with Truxton, Django and Coppelia close behind. From there it was just cracked sheets across the top of the North island, then hard on the wind after we got past Cape Rienga. Our plan was to go hard west all night then tack over once well clear of the coast. The weather grib files had said that the westerly would be strong out to sea, and possibly a bit light in close. After a long hard night bashing out to sea in company with one of the Elliot tourers (Friction or Focus), we tacked off and the wind started to ease, so we switched from jib to jib top. We continued with the jib top down to Taranaki and off New Plymouth got cell phone reception so we could run the Yellowbrick tracker. Wow! Leading our division by a substantial amount!! Offshore certainly paid!!

As our third night fell (under a supurb moon!) the wind increased and we were getting some nice surfs to around 14 knots. The wind continued to build and we were getting a solid 30 knots over the decks. I took over from Gavin who warned me about the Marshall spinning out, and at first all was well, but as the wind continued to build I had one too many spin outs and we sat of our side with the sails flapping, gav got out of his bunk and said "2 reefs NOW" I argued the toss for a bit, but he was right, and after the reefs she was much more controllable. Just as well we made that move as the wind increased to 35 knots with a peak that we saw of 37.. Poor Jib top! Not made for that (And is currently in at Norths getting the leach re-cut...). So we continued to make good progress with Gavin claim top surf at 18 knots.. Behind us Pepe were sending at at 25 knots plus, as were Skins and Shane in the grey Submarine (Truxton). As we approached Cook Strait we were still 7 miles ahead of Truxton and confident of a class win.

Nek minute..... Cook Strait. Always blows right? Not for us. Parking lot. Flat calm. Nothing, Nada, zip.. From seeing no boats behind us we watched Truxton and co come hoofing down to us and our lead evaporate. Truxton and Django eased past us and the three of us, in company with Wedgetail (another casualty of the parking lot) reached along the bottom of the island working hard for that class win... We turned the corner into Wellington Harbour and 30 odd knots on the nose.

Skins must have been getting nervous as the Marshall rapidly ate into their slender lead. We tacked up the harbour and split tacks just before point Halswell. When we came back we were within 2 boat lengths of Truxton and it was game on!! We tacked back to clear Point Halswell and bang. Slam dunk from Truxton.. With their dirty air coming down on us, there was no way we would clear so we tacked again, and they followed. Another tack saw us clear the point and then it was eased sheets where Truxton is strong.. Skins was pushing as hard as he could and had Shane hiking out under the lifelines like it was a harbour race. We kept close but they got us by 12 seconds.. Another close race between the cowboys and the submariners. Top stuff!!
What a cool race this is. After crossing the line, the delightful Chelsea came on board and steered the boat into the marina while we tidied up. Such great organisation and friendly welcome, it really makes the whole package so enjoyable..

After a tidy up Gav and I got our heads down, and 15 minutes later I was woken by a call from John Kirkman (Shane's Dad) who said he was at the club with a bottle of rum.. What's a tired skipper to do?? It got a bit messy after that, but I slept well! :-)

Bring on leg 3!!!!