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Go Piedy go...

DC Photography

Diablo finishing

DC Photography

David Cooke takes aim...

DC Photography. If the weather doesn't finish them off.... David will !

B&G Simrad 60 2007 report

06 Aug 2007

Saturday morning dawned very wet, grey and miserable. The SSANZ RIB team was much the worse for wear from Friday night (maybe should have stuck to new SSANZ associate sponsor Coruba's superior product). I was very pleased I put in the extra effort to blow up the start mark and have everything ready to go the day before but there was no avoiding getting very wet. A short cruise down the harbour to meet the start team and ferry them out to the committee boat and while waiting have a short chat with Barry Holland on the radio. My phone didn't enjoy the rain but luckily lasted just long enough before dying. After dropping the team off on Trinidad we laid the SSANZ B&G Simrad inner distance start mark. However within 5 minutes the wind shifted significantly forcing us to reset the line. The wind continued to shift, but looking at the first start it appeared boats at both ends of the line got away well so it was pretty fair. I bet Peppermint Planet was pleased about the new start buoy this year...they managed to clobber it, the soft inflatable mark is far more forgiving than the steel ones ! They later completed a 360 penalty turn and just for good measure did another 360 with their genoa round the forestay....opps.

The next job was to note all the starters. This proved much harder in the wet conditions. Paper got wet, pens wouldn't work but we did pretty well. On returning to the committee boat we found they couldn't account for one boat, but we had a confirmed sighting on the RIB so that meant we had got everyone !

It was quite interesting to see that although there was plenty of breeze and most boats were powered up under No. 2 headsails there was a large no wind zone between Devonport and North Head. First Class copped the worst of it, completely parking up and even going backwards for 5 minutes. I bet the boys were glad we didn't have a camera on the RIB to take a photo of the Pied Pipers starting 5 minutes later overtaking them !!!

After seeing everyone off it was time to head back on shore for a few hours before getting back on station. It appears the fleet had a relatively easy race other than some tricky big shifts until they rounded Gannet Rock for their trip home. At some point they all copped a squall with gusts up to around 40 knots. BMW Yachtsport lost their steering for a while so Lion New Zealand stood by until they had their emergency tiller in place. I would have thought pulling up Lion's main once in a day would be enough...but to do so a second time was a gutsy effort. Well done guys. Thanks for doing the right thing.

First to finish was a massively overpowered Rattle n Rum (still had the No.1 and full main!) closely followed Mercenery. McMoggy lead the multihull brigade while Andar was the first Longhaul Mono. Crewcial Fix was the first Shorthaul boat. The breeze continued to build making it very lumpy in the RIB. Due to the conditions it was a bit tough to do comprehensive safety checks...however the luck competitors who had a couple of Coruba RTD's dropped off to them possibly didn't realize they were also getting a external visual safety check of their Jackstays and Liferings and and other obvious item !

I was quite surprised at how few boats didn't front up at the start due to the miserable conditions and the fact that such a high percentage finished. A great effort from everyone. The last boat finished at 10:48, not only did they get maximum value from their entry but we saved the last two bottles of Coruba for them, however judging by the way the race committee were eyeing them up, I would recommend sailing just a little bit quicker in future !