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50 Miler - Saturday 7th March 2015

posted Mar 8, 2015, 3:06 PM by Admin hycnz   [ updated Mar 12, 2015, 3:58 PM ]
Results before handicaps have been applied:

On line…….Waterwitch, Nona, Eye Spy. Shakina DNF

Race Report from Nona 

The day dawned with a light breeze and sunshine. A bit hard to believe the impeding marine forecast, 25 gusting 35. Out to the boat and I drag out the spinnaker sheets and no2 spinnaker. It looks like we will be using it from the start. My plan is to wait until we are through the moored boats – I have an aversion to hitting things, particuly moored boats. A bad look with the insurance company. Four boats head off, Eye Spy, Waterwitch, Nona and Shekinah to do the course of Motuihe to port, Motutapu to port, around Rangitoto and home.
Past the moored boats and the call is “spinnaker” but as to which side the pole should go on, Eye Spy is on port and Waterwitch is on starboard.

We take a punt and stick it up and start to catch ES and WW. Around Island Bay ES heads up and we duck down to try and use the outgoing tide. At Kauri Point, ES drops the kite and puts up the no2 headsail while we stay with the small spinnaker up to between Meola and Chelsea. WW ahead has a massive spinnaker up and rather tight, but is surging away from us. The winds are around 10 -16knots.

Through the bridge it is noticeable the lack of ferries and fizz boats and the sea is relatively calm and we head to the Browns Is pole. The wind is  picking up a little but the sun is still shining. Once around Motuihe and into Sergeants Channel and the wind has risen into the mid twenties and on the nose. The sea is a little lumpy as we  go over to as close to Waihehe Is ( without taking a wine tour) before tacking into Rakino Passage. Shekinah has past ES and is hunting us down. Several tacks are needed to get through Rakino, with Shekinah passing us ¾ of the way through then earning my ire by coming down onto our line. Karma would come to those who mess with Y88’s.

Around Billy Goats Pt (Motutapu) and the gulf looks very lumpy. We take the risk of hugging the Rangitoto coastline – on an onshore gale- crack the sheets and concentrate on surviving to Rangi light, with Shekinah outside of us getting tossed around.

At last around the lighthouse and it is an 88’s dream. The waves are like surf as we get up and plane, Mark pumping the main to try to get us over the double digits. Alas, only 9.8 knots. Into the harbour, hugging Devonport, the wind is piping through and is hard on. We look like one board will get us to slightly port of the main span but I had not counted on the several fishing charter boats, all in the way. So it is tacking up the harbour with Shekinah in sight. Our first pass and we have to dip. The second pass and we cross in front and the third, Shekinah passes in front. We tack above them and we both head to the centre span, when Shekinah drops her sails. Karma. A post race review would show their steering ram having a similarity to my spinnaker pole but more extreme. A very bent ram.

With tide heading out we try to stay out of the channel, but the exposed reefs encouraged caution, so it was several tacks to get to Kauri Point with the starboard window (toughened glass- thankfully) fully fragmenting but staying together as it started to rain ##**#. Around the point we were smacked by very intense winds as  we watched WW heeled right over. (In hindsight I should have put in a reef). Mark was busy feathering the main as we tacked towards the finish, avoiding rounding up into moored boats and pinching to pass outside Ranger rock pole. It was good to be home. Onto the mooring and it was a hot cup of tea to go with the B&E pie, apple pie and banana cake.

Many thanks to Bronwyn, Mark Jones and Leo Moore for hanging in there. The race may not have been the prescribed 50 nautical miles in distance, but the test on crew and boat was worthy of a 50 mile race.

Race report from Eye Spy:
The weather report was looking dodgy but when we got to the club all was looking good. Gill, JK and I got out to the mooring and discussed the choice of sails. We decided to go with the No.2 as we were probably going to have to change to that prior to exiting the harbour anyway. I decided to offer the helm to Gill for the day and she was glad to take it. So my job was foredeck and they put me to use soon after the start. The kite went up and we passed Shakina and Nona with Waterwitch disappearing in the distance. Nona followed suit with her kite and soon over took us by the lea……nice Denise. Things got a little tight with the kite going down the harbour as the shifty wind was altering around 20 deg every gust so we raised the no.2 and dropped the kite. Waterwitch however, held his till around Devonport and gained a lead which we were never going to pull back……as was the case. We were now two sail reaching and even with our constant trimming we could not hold off Shakina who passed by as we got to Motohui Island. The wind was building and as we rounded the southern end of the island we were beating into the wind. The No.2 didn’t seem such a bad idea now.
Around 5 tacks and we passed through Rakino channel and watched Nona doing battle with Shakina. The reach down the Northern side of Rangitoto was tough as the sea state was kicking the stern and the wind was doing the rest……..round up again and again. Time to chuck a reef in. Whew……. now manageable……I took over the helm at this time and worked out we were strapped too tight. Finally around Rangi light and we eased off to port. The wind was now gusting 35knts and things were fun. With a reef and the No.2 we topped out at 11.5knts boat speed……..that’s when I could keep her in  straight line.
We had a short reprieve around North head then business as usual. Except………as a harbour cruiser came passed with dozens of people on board we got slammed. Eye Spy now flattened with all crew hanging on feet dangling in the air got a standing ovation from the cruiser. Eye Spy finally stood up and promptly went into a tack. A 360deg turn and we were back in business. We did a number of tacks up the harbour and found Shakina on anchor just before the bridge. Guess they have issues huh. We looked up to see many bridge walkers and on queue were again flattened……another ovation. So pleased we could make their day……..still gusting 35knts we plugged on. OK we can see the two lead boats in front of us. Not that far behind after-all. Then we get to Kauri point and we see a rain squall coming. Gill asks if there will be more wind with it. Nah……..shouldn’t be too bad…….then it hit. Whoah  hope we can tack away from the reef markers in this sh*t!! Managed it…….whew, but not before I fell from the high side all the way down to the lower safety rails trapping my leg doing so……..lucky I didn’t break that!
We limped on to finish at 1657 to finish third. Start motor and down sails. Sh*t……no water coming through the exhaust again. We pick up the mooring goin down wind so we can shut down earlier, hitch on then get the wet sails inside.
Time for a beer and reflect on what was a pretty tough day in the office.
Cangrats to Waterwitch and Nona. Lets do it again sometime……..next time Eye Spy will have a clean bum and hopefully a little more manageable. Fun n games with the HYC……yeah.