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Night Race to Kawau - Friday 23rd January 2015

posted Jan 26, 2015, 1:43 PM by Admin hycnz   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 4:44 PM ]
Race Report from Nona

The sun was shining and hot (27*) and the breeze was a steady-ish 10-12 NE. The gun goes and we are off behind Firsty and Eye Spy(ES)/Blue Beat (BB)who seemed to have their own little duel. Heading out away from the land and the three barges parked in the middle of the Channel, we round Kauri Point ahead of the Y88’s even with the Headsail sheet releasing (and firmly lodged at the top of the mast. Mark Patterson and Greg Jones quickly hank on the spinnaker sheet and away we go.

Around Kauri Pt it is tacking all the way to the bridge. At one point the depth gauge reads 0.2 under the keel. TACKING NOW!!
More tacking through the slop of the harbour to North Head, still ahead of ES and BB. We make the call to tack up the North Shore side of Rangi passage as there is an incoming tide of 3.5 to contend with. ES is in hunting mode so we start the tacking duel. It was working well until it got dark and we ended up covering the wrong boat. As we tacked into Long Bay the dark shape of ES passes ahead of us. B**#!!

Time to concentrate on our own race now. Through the Tiri passage, the wind is starting to soften – 8-10knots. As we started the long tacking towards Martello Rock the wind is steadily dropping until we are sitting at the starboard side of Motuketekete Is with 00 on the wind gauge and wondering where ES is.
Then the steady stream of motors descends. Satisfaction is easily identified by the crews quiet and reserved conversations. Next is BB with the petrol motor. As they go by there is a loud exchange to the starboard light showing at the port side of Motuketekete. “ Come on ES, get a move on!”. Yes, the race is back on now we know where ES is. All we need is the wind. No such luck. ES begins to gently ghost forward and we start to go backwards. This is not racing and the eyes are hanging out for rest so the call is “start your engine”. So close, yet so far. We drop anchor in Mansion House bay at 0430 and forgoing the cup of tea it is straight to bed. Mention should be made of the pod of 8 Orca’s that sailed around our boats in the bay at 0700 that morning. Gods zone.

Congratulations to Firsty and Eye Spy for persevering, many thanks to my crew of Mark and Greg  and thanks to the CCYC start boat for sending us on our journey.

Race report from Eye Spy:
We’ve been looking forward to this one. Mark, Gill and JK the crew for the night. The fleet start was smaller than I was expecting and we got away fairly well. The wind was steady at around 12 knts so the number one headsail was up and we were cruising along quite nicely. Nona got passed us early in the game but we hung on to end up in a tacking dual all the way up the North Shore. Timing is everything and as we did the last tack before Tiri Channel we got a great wind shift putting us ahead of Nona again. Firsty was somewhere ahead and Blue Beat behind. We were able to see Nona all night but lost track of all others. We heard a few call on the VHF but were not able to reply as the transmit button was not well. Eagle eyes Gill was the leeward lookout and failed to see the 50 foot keeler on starboard which passed our bow a boat length away. Hell…….that was a bit of a wake up call she sais!
About the same time as we could see Martello rock the wind died. Nona appeared to be closing the gap again then with apposing tacks we created a large gap. At about 2am the first of the withdrawals motored passed. Tough decision after all that time and to be so close to finishing. We ghosted across the line at 0533hrs with a flat house battery……..no GPS, Nav lights or stereo……damn. The motor would start but nothing was charging. Turned out to be a disconnected spade connection behind the ignition panel. Sorted.
Found a gap to anchor and had a rummy or two. Twas a loooong night.
Congrats to Craig on Firsty for finishing first.
A great night had by all on the beach on Saturday. Thanks go to Hilton for the trip to the Pub at Bonaccord harbour.