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Waka's pre race thoughts and prep

21 Feb 2008

Round North Island Race 2 Handed.

After many months of preparation we finally feel like the boat is ready to take on the race.

The idea first started when Jonty rang me to ask what sails I thought he would need to compete in the race and if I thought it was a stupid idea. Straight away I knew that this was the about the coolest boat I could think of doing the race on. For the last race in 2005 I was going to charter the T30 foundation but due to prior commitments overseas, I couldn't follow through to compete so was determined to do the race this year.

Jonty was impressed by my enthusiasm to what he thought to be a fairly wild idea and committed to entering as long as we passed all the safety cat 2 requirements and had our entry accepted. For those of you who don't know a lot about the race it is a brutal 1500nm 2 handed race circumnavigating the north island of NZ. You get to sail in the pacific ocean, tasman sea, and the roaring 40s all in one race, around 3 menacing capes and through the notorious cook strait. First leg is from Auckland to mongonui for a 24hr pitstop, then around the top and down to wellington. After a 48hr stopover in wellington we head up the wairapa coast to Napier for another 48hr stopover and then onto Auckland to complete the circumnavigation. Not a race to be unprepared for!

After a successful simrad series the next step was the cat 2 and an active sponsorship hunt. Targeting the White island race as a warm up and qualifier for the race we set about getting the boat ready. The job list included a number of large jobs‐ re fair the keel, strengthen the rudder and gudgeons, strengthen the forestay fitting and prod rotation system on the bow, adding leecloths, snuffers to all the kites, outboard sheeting padeyes, storm jib and trysail... as well as hundreds of small jobs. The White island race went well with an overall PHRF win in both the shorthanded and fully crew divisions. With the qualifier and cat 2 signed off, we got stuck into the sponsorship hunt and the finer details making sure the boat was as ready as it could be. Our entry was accepted and we were committed to doing the race.


We went out on a windy day to try the reefing system, storm jib and trysail out. After a beat out of the harbor changing between the trysail and deep reefs we went back to a full main and hoisted the fractional gennaker for the ride back home. During this we practiced gybing with the snuffer verses gybing without. The snuffers make gybing in any wind very easy. Anything above 25 kts and we will snuff the kite, gybe and then pull the snuffer back up. The snuffers also make hoisting and droping the sails much easier. We couldn't find any full sponsors but managed to get support from North Sails NZ, EAS supplements, and Gary Pattern at Leading Edge Boat builders.

North Sails really supported us for this event, as an employee of over 8 years and consultant for the company it really meant a lot to me to get full support from North's and be able to compete with a lot of new sails that we otherwise wouldn't have had. Bicky and the other senior staff members really have a passion for local racing and especially events like this.

EAS provided all the food supplements we required. We found this to be very valuable in the White Island race to help keep the energy levels up and the mind focused. In total it is a lot of food to feed us(me in particular) for the entire race, this includes, energy gels, meal replacement shakes, and energy bars, this combined with freeze dried will be the only food on board. Gary Patten, from Leading edge boat builders has been a good friend of mine for many years and in fact I even worked for him at one stage. Gary has done all the boat building work for us and most recently added some extra large foot chocks in the cockpit Gary is very thorough and we know that we can trust all the work he has done.

The forecast for the first leg is 30‐35 from the NE which will not suit us as the smallest boat in the fleet in tight reach up the coast but on the bright side at least we get a shower in 24hrs and a good feed of fish and chips in Mangonui!

The race starts on Saturday at 2pm from Devonport. It could be an exciting start with plenty of breeze forecast and Big waves.

Thanks to all those who have supported us and I will give a further update from Mangonui.