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Night Race to Kawau race reports - Friday 27th January 2017

posted Feb 12, 2017, 11:51 AM by Admin hycnz   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 12:04 PM ]

From our Sailing Captain Nigel Watkins

Arabesque and I went up Friday morning loaded with steak, potato salad, coleslaw and the club BBQ, and had to motor most of the way in no wind, so the prospects and forecast for the race were not great.

Fortunately for the 7 racing boats the SW wind filled in, and the first finisher arrived in just over 4 hours !

Handicap results:

1st  Eye Spy 
2nd  Nona
3rd Blue Beat
4th Firsty
5th  Renaissance
6th  Satisfaction
7th  Roval

Great night ashore was had by all!

Race report from Eye Spy!!!!
On board with me for this the Night Race to Kawau was Mark Goodey and Blair Smeal. JK was injured so was not keen to aggravate said injury. I would have preferred one more person in case the race went well into the night as the winds were forecast to be variable.
We start towards the front of the fleet with the other 88s and Firsty. There’s some thing to be said about  observing the lead boat as we witnessed Firsty struggling to hoist his kite. We were ready to hoist but thought the better of the idea until after the bridge. The breeze was maybe early twenties which suited the larger boats as we watched Roval and Satisfaction charge through the fleet.

The kite was jibed at North Head as we passed the big boats again.  We continued to chase Firsty but to no avail. The last we saw of him he was silhouetted against the night sky changing to a Gennaker.  We discussed our options at Tiri and decided to hold the kite for as long as possible. Maybe even across the finish line!

This decision appeared to prove to be advantageous as we passed another young 88 in the channel by the Beehive. He had no kite up. So a shy kite was better than a two sail reach.

We cross the line 4 hours and 33 minutes after starting…………..not bad eh! Well done to Craig and his team who were first across the line but Eye Spy winning on corrected time.

Well done to Bair and Mark for keeping Eye Spy trimmed so well.
Prize-giving was a blast. Thanks to Nigel for sorting the food and results.
The Mighty Roval’s Adventures!

Well with a pretty much perfect forecast for a very pleasant sail to Kawau, Roval tried for 3rd time lucky… could we actually finish a race??  With one drop out with too little wind, and one drop out because of too much wind (resulting in broken crew – sorry Sam :-( and sail!) we were hoping for great things!
With a crew of only 3, we decided to go for the conservative start, keeping well back from the rest of the fleet… OK I admit, I wasn’t planning to be that far back, but at least we managed to start with speed … and go she did!

Whilst Blue Beat and Satisfaction had a wee luffing match, we sailed low, and slowly managed to gain on the fleet.  After lots of banter from other skippers about them now knowing the luffing rules I was also very careful to keep below everyone so they couldn’t try to challenge me on the rules!

Well Roval showed her pedigree, and powered through.  So by the time we got to the harbour bridge we only had about 3 boats ahead, and we were gaining …fast!  So yes, when we passed Eye Spy I had the biggest grin on my face… only Satisfaction to reel in now, and we were slowly but surely gaining!

Roval overtaking Eye Spy

Apparently, in the interests of fair reporting, I am supposed to mention that Eye Spy overtook us at North head when they put their kite up….but I may just gloss past that bit.

Bearing off to a run round North head, we definitely slowed, but with only 3 on board the Kite is a bit too much of a handful.  Unfortunately, an unplanned Gybe resulted in the Main sheet traveller breaking the track.  But we dropped the main, and got to work jury rigging a new main sheet position (thanks Mike and Mel for excellent, calm crew work).  In fact I think the end result is actually a better positioning than the original!  
So we got the main back up, but we were (of course) back in last position by now, and with the fleet now spread out across the gulf it was hard to tell how we were going.  So we opted to race our own race, and go for a fast reaching course.

By the time we made Tiri Channel we had overtaken one boat, but the others were well in the distance.
Approaching Kawau was the next adventure, I’ve sailed in there a few times, but don’t know the waters well, so we opted for the clearest possible route.. which almost lost us a place (I probably wouldn’t have been so conservative had a realised just how close they were), but we pipped her on the line and crossed at 11.32, only an hour behind the winning boat, Eye Spy (OK Trevor, I admit in writing that you won!)

After a very pleasant day chilling out on the boat, we headed ashore for the Barbeque and prize giving, no surprise that we got DFL after the main breakage, but very pleasantly surprised that we were not actually that far adrift on corrected time.

Roval at anchor in Mansion House

Sunday unfortunately saw a mutiny on board with Mike and Mel stealing Roval and heading back to Auckland, and Eye Spy kidnapping me until Tuesday… though I guess you can’t really call it mutiny/kidnapping when I was fully complicit in the plan!

So spent a lovely couple of days chilling round Kawau with Trevor, who was even enough of a gentleman to pull out the solar shower.. though this was after quite a few mutterings about the delights of Rovals fresh water shower!

Race report from Nona

That time again and it is down to the floating dock then to Westpark Marina for my rock star crew – Greg Jones, his son Mat (never sailed before) and young Theo. My plans were almost scuppered when coming into Westpark channel I moved over away from the centre of the channel to give clearance to a outgoing launch, when we lurched to a stop –on the mud. Greg who was along for the ride was swinging from the side stays as I was “kedging” furiously. Five minutes later we are off – on an outgoing tide. The launch did not stop although its name was noted ( a Club boat whose name gloried the splendours of the dawn) More on our next meeting!

Out to the start with the forecast of SW 10 to 15 easing in the evening. The auto helm is dusted off for use later in the evening. The horn blasts from Satisfaction and we are off behind Blue Beat and Eye Spy. Around Kauri Point and it is 19knts – ok I have only got one sail on board so let’s make the best of it. The strong winds see, Roval, Renaissance and Satisfaction surging through the water. Through the bridge and the wind eases to 15knts with Eye Spy well ahead of us though we are maintaining the distance behind Blue Beat. Firsty, after it’s long layoff is dusting off the cobwebs and is close to ES. Approaching Northhead and ES puts up their kite then gybes around the point while we wait to go around Northhead and stay high in the hope of staying out of the 2hours of incoming tide. About half way through Rangi passage we hoist Big Blue and after a technical hitch bring it back down then back up. It fills nicely and shows a tear at the base. Being the lightest I race up with the colour co-ordinated sticky back for a quick repair then back onto the helm.  Our distance behind BB hasn’t changed but Eye Spy has made some good gain on us.

Dusk sees us approaching Tiri passage, Navy buoy shining brightly (must remember the location for the fifty miler) still high on the course and note BB is having trouble keeping the kite full. Through the passage and around some other boats - it’s a bit like the NorthWestern motorway, and we line up for Motuketekete Is. The stern lights ahead must be Eye Spy and Firsty. Soon we sail towards and past  a shadow and it BB without the spinnaker. We keep going past, though the angle for the spinnaker is a bit tight, just as well it is dark and I can’t see it. Just before Motuketekete Is we drop the kite and sail through the passage (so small at night and so wide in daylight) towards Martello rock light. The wind is dropping and we hope it holds until we clear that last and longest mile of the race. Over the line and Theo calls 2245. That was a fast race.

Pack up and into Mansion House bay and start finding a park – not next to that 25mtr precious catamaran Greg!!!! Time for the crew to go socialising while the skipper retires to the sleeping bag.
Now, getting back to THAT launch that left me aground at Westpark. I spot it next morning and row over. I point out their ungentlelmanly conduct to which they replied that they did not realise it was a fellow Club boat and would have assisted. I excepted their apology along with two cups of excellent tea.
A good time was had by all and nothing can beat the night sky of Kawau Island. Many thanks to my crew and fellow competitors. Every boat finished before midnight.