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50 Miler - Saturday 12th March 2016

posted Mar 20, 2016, 2:43 PM by Admin hycnz
Results after Handicaps

1st Nona
2nd Waterwitch
3rd Blue Beat

Race Report from Nona

Saturday of the 50 miler dawned, cloudy a little cooler and light airs. Bean Rock was 7knots and Tiritiri 23 knots. The course, Hobsonville –through Rangi Channel , around the lit Navy buoy at Whangaparoa, over and through Rakino Channel, Sergeants Channel, around Motuihe (starboard) and back to Hobsonville.

The crew, Mark Patterson and me, the other two jumping ship, which would leave an abundance of B&E pie and Date sponge cake.
The competitors, Nona, Waterwitch (WW), Blue Beat and Shekinah.
The wind to start, 5 to 8knots SE, almost on the nose and the tide of 1 hour incoming then the rest out going.
We tussle for the line with Nona going for the pin end to try and make Kauri Point on one board. The hooter goes and Blue beat has jumped the gun and is recalled. We head up slowly and pass Waterwitch motoring towards the start line.  Blue Beat and Shekinah go wide and we head down the centre. Soon Blue Beat comes up to play so we go down and pass under him then it is around Kauri Point tacking among the flotilla of fishing boats. We go pass one boat and wish them a good morning and the reply is a@#*hole. Apparently they did not think to pull in their lines as we went past. I hope the line, hook and sinker doesn’t slow us down.
Through the bridge and there is a fleet of Mullet boats under kites heading for us as we are tacking across the harbour. We are all port tack with them windward boats. We go across the bows of two and the third is going to be a close thing. They keep coming, we yell, can’t tack or the second Mullet will nail me so into wind and watch the VERY long boom pass our side stays by not very much followed by some very vacant stares from the crew. Oh well back to racing. We get to North Head and note that WW and Shekinah are starting to slowly pull us in.

We go for the centre of the channel hoping the tide which has turned by this time, will pull us through in the direction of Whangaparoa. The other three head up the North shore. The wind is about ninety degrees,10kn so it is B&E time. Pass the lighthouse and the wind hardens up and freshens up, 10 to 18 kn and the seas start to get a little lumpy.

WW and Shekinah catch us just before the navy buoy so it is follow the leader. We seem to be going further than I remember the buoys being located so we look inshore and spot them about the same time as WW ahead does a hard left to head and go around the buoys.

The run over to Rakino has a softer sea state with the winds around 10 to 13knts, 60 deg. WW is just heading into the sunset as we try to keep in range of Shekinah. Blue Beat is starting to pick up a little distance on us as it is through Rakino and behind Motuihe (starboard). Shekinah puts up a kite and it is tight, dragging him towards the island. Around the end of Motuihe, WW has his kite up so we pull out the number 2 kite. The logic being, we can carry it in tighter angles (which will prove to be the case) and if things turn to custard, the smaller kite will be easier to retrieve than big blue.
Heading towards the reef marker on Browns Is and the pole is close to the forestay with Mark working his magic on spinnaker control. In the slop of Motukorea Channel the winds are easing 4 to 6kn as we slide towards North Head. WW is already past Bean Rock over to the city side of the Harbour with kite still up. Shekinah is not yet past Bean rock and is also heading to the City side. Blue Beat behind us has his big Westpac spinnaker up so we will have to concentrate to stay ahead of him. We head down the Devonport side, making sure we do not collect any fishing lines off the wharf. At the Navy wharves we see Shekinah has dropped his kite and we consider it prudent to follow suit. This turns out to be a good call as at Bayswater the wind is 12kn and about 40deg. It is a good run up to the bridge and then the wind starts to soften again at Birkenhead. We stay in the Channel hoping the tide will assist if it becomes a drift. Slowly we go around Kauri Point and crack sheets as the winds start funnelling down the valleys. 10kns, yippee. It won’t be a drift finish. Both WW and Shekinah are wide as we try to take advantage of the lifts to stay on the North Shore side. There is not much water as it is close to low tide. Shekinah is having to tack where as we carry one board from the bridge to the finish and we are slowly gaining on him. Shekinah seems to be getting very close to the ridges running out from the moored boats. Next thing, his sails are flapping on he is on the putty, 500m from the finish. We sail past to finish second on the water at 1845. Shekinah does not finish and gets off the mud about ¾ hr later with the incoming tide.
On the water finish,
1st Waterwitch
2nd Nona
3rd Blue Beat  
It was a long day and a long hot shower is beckoning. Thanks to Nigel for the start, my crew Mark Patterson and fellow competitors so that it was not too lonely out there.