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LEGLESS ON Safety at Sea Triple Series Evolution Sails 100

09 Aug 2016


So no ice on the marina this year for the SSANZ race two 2016 on Legless

I have to admit some rare reluctance in the lead-up to Saturdays 2nd SSANZ triple series race. Weather scenarios were analysed to the 9th degree and with the un-stable low pressure system in question likely to track right over the course on the day, there was a good chance only the last few hours of the race would be ski-mask endurance rather than competitive sailing.

Working on the theory its best to believe in the weather model that best suits our purpose, our hull was cleaned, sandwiches and thermos loaded and with the likely hood of getting my always enthusiastic co-skipper Geoff home before the Rugby final, there were no excuses. 

Our prestart plan was to position to avoid the 1020 traffic and this was achieved although thinking we had a minute remaining at the gun saw us too slow to accelerate allowing Sailor Moon to press off, low and fast. 

Towards Rangi light things were looking better with the lower boats surrounded in 1020 flotsam and Jacko needing a short tack out to clear the lighthouse. Still he and Gregory were going quick & slipped away to hoist their chute first as Rangi's coast curved to the east. With the breeze shifting 20 plus degrees we held ours for the opportunity to slip higher, it didn't happen and in fact a short time later a nasty southerly sting of new breeze reached us resulting in a mid-gybe kiwi drop as Sailor wiggled away holding theirs longer.

Gybe around Muffin Island in less than 15 and we felt quick on the chase down approaching Shearer Rock.  Voodoo's blue kite, War Machine and Crowded looked to be the nearest chasing 88 pack, all by now ahead of most 1020's. A clean drop and a right turn for the longest leg across to Gannet slightly cracked about 20knots.

With the unstable breeze big shifts were expected either way so our plan was for a high curve in case of Southerlies closer to the Waiheke shoreline. War Machine attacked us well on their low road as we tried hard to wheel in the bungy towards Sailor Moon. Bit of traffic here from faster non-88 types saw the difference similar at the rock with War Machine probably closer. Same plan on this leg, a slight windward curve although incoming tide was tempting us to go for the opposite and one of the few opportunities to gain.

Looking ahead past Rakino we could see a lighter transition zone and although we navigated and trimmed our way through here well, the Mooners were equal or betters so no meaningful gains here for us. Onto starboard now and looking like a lay through toward the Motuihe channel so concentrated on speed and fluid intake whilst protecting the windward side once more. War Machine & Crowded House by now battling each other seemed to slide through here nicely keeping us somewhat defensive. 

Time for more Southerly spikes and Geoff picked us a nice lefty and we tacked earlier than the Farr boats, a couple of which had finally used their water line length and power to slip ahead. War & Crowded saw us laying through easily on port so flicked one in early too.

Working hard on the trim and the chocolate, our options were narrowing on the last leg home. Crowded was on fire behind us and had won the battle with War forcing her to take a riskier low road again. So high and defend again we go, with Sailor continuing their no- mistakes and efficient form to take the gun.

So that means Crowded House crews take all three podium places, with Greg (Sailor Moon) & I being former owners and current co-owner Russell doing a great job to take another top 3 result. On Legless we're looking forward to the 3rd race and another fantastic class turnout, one of us needs to put a full package together to break Sailor Moons stranglehold on the cordite.


Grant ~ Legless