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Race reports for Sunday 1st September 2019

posted Sep 22, 2019, 8:04 PM by Admin hycnz

Escape Race Report 



Sunday dawned  fine, clear and calm with  emphasis on the calm. The forecast was a worrying 5 knots variable with a huge tide running out until  mid afternoon. The last two races had been similar conditions with course number 1, the shortest harbour course, being chosen on both those occasions.

Crew of the day was Pete, his brother Steve and myself, and for Pete and I it was déjà vu. Motor out to a start in no wind and drift off with the tide. Naturally it was course number 1 again. The sun was shining and a long day on the water was likely if only because the tide meant we couldn’t get back in the marina any earlier than 3.30. Happy Father’s Day!

There might have been little or no breeze but the tide was running at over 2 knots so we were soon making progress in the right direction and there was no rush to get there because the tide still had 4 hours to run. Firsty got too far out to the side at Birkenhead and had to motor clear of the moored boats with no wind to sail. 

We had a tight battle with a piece of polystyrene going under the Harbour Bridge. It passed us twice before catching a back eddy near Bayswater and finally falling behind. The racing between boats was a little less exciting. Slipknot managed to stay in the middle of the tide best while Firsty and ourselves both drifted out to the Devonport side. It was at that point that a light NE sea breeze finally kicked in and we could truly claim to be sailing. 

Out front Firsty picked a slightly better line than Slipknot and was leading coming into the first mark at Rough Rock and while we were behind further than we would have liked once you turned the mark it was into the tide and the gap narrowed a lot. We were doing 5.6 knots across the ground coming into the mark and a miserable 1.4 knots coming away from it. It felt like a long way home at that point.

But the tide was waning and Firsty was soon round Northern leading and hoisting their big yellow kite closely followed by Slipknot with us at the back . Pete and Steve got our blue kite up in quick order and we all set off for Resolution. We would have preferred our gennaker since it’s bigger than the kite but the angle was wrong. All three boats  hugged the wave barrier side at Orakei and benefited from the tidal back eddy there. It was amazing to see how much the speed over ground increased when we got into that counter flow .

Round Resolution , hardened up to get around the container wharf, and set off for Kauri Point. Looking ahead Firsty and Slipknot had adjusted for a beam reach rather than downwind so we dropped the spinnaker and hoisted the gennaker. This certainly paid off initially as we took a bit of distance out of the leading two but the wind came behind again and we experimented with flying the gennaker off the kite pole. All good fun but it didn’t make much difference to our distance behind despite them sailing into a hole and recommencing the earlier drifting match. Our turn to do that came soon enough and it was a relief to finally get to the line feeling lucky to come third in a three boat race! 

We didn’t do too much wrong but we also hadn’t pushed the others too hard so were a bit deflated.  We also couldn’t motor straight home due to the low tide and earlier at Chelsea we saw mud I’d never seen before. Sobering to say the least! Still it gave us more time on the water on a sunny Sunday so first world problems really.  We were home soon enough.

Thanks to Pete and Steve for a well coordinated effort from two guys who hadn’t sailed together for years and to Clearwater for running the race when no doubt Fathers Day lunch beckoned.


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