Thanks DYC, another great race!
I overestimated time to line and didn't get the best start on TBT probably about 10 sec late. Struggled a bit on the first beat, was the first to tack away into clean air and settle down. It was windier than forecast but I thought I would hold onto the full main, a decision I would regret. I was happy when I tacked back to Rangi to find that I hadn’t lost much if any ground to Revo Blues (damn but you do heavy stuff well ). H&H was having another blinder, and the two big boys had left us all for dust. Round Rangi the swells started getting alarmingly steep and short. I have never seen so much water over the bow, and I fell off one or two very steep ones with a bit of a bone shuddering thump. I was now really struggling with the full main and falling off behind Revo and H&H badly (had to do an extra 2 tacks) so they both soon disappeared into the blue. Halfway up Motutapu I decided to put a tuck in the main which helped the pointing and was much easier to handle the sea state. Round the back of Motutapu I tried to throw out the tuck but the reef line had wrapped itself around the boom and wouldn't let go. Trusting the autopilot surfing at 11 plus while trying to bring the boom in was a touch nervy to say the least. I finally got the tuck out (boltropes suck for solo sailing) and by now decided not to bother with the kite. I was running deeper and catching Revo, so all good. Had a number of surfs over 15 (log under reads and I didn't have the GPS on) but maintained high 12s for a good stretch. Got to Motuihe only a dozen or so boat lengths behind Revo with Cool Change breathing down my neck. Wind was now 28 plus so considered a granny tack, but a lull to 22 and took the chance and jybed across. One of the blocks on the self tacker let go so on with the autopilot again, and up to the bow to put in a temporary fix. I thought the pilot was taking me a bit close to the beach but fingers crossed. Saw two dolphins cuddling in very shallow water up ahead so I raced back to the helm. BUGGER - depth reading 0.0 (calibrated to below keel) and I skidded to a minor halt from 7+ knots. Puled the helm over hard and felt the rudder juddering along the beach, thank goodness for soft sand. Depth agonisingly and slowly climbed 0.1, 0.3 and finally about 1.2 so the day was saved, I could sheet in the self tacker and carry on but it did mean I had lost the time to put a tuck in the main again. Wind now gusting 35s I did all I could to depower the main and hang on. Cool Change is obviously better suited to that close reach with a fin and bulb and so hauled me in and eventually cruised past. The wind suddenly went from N to SW just before North Head (could see the change up the harbour) complete with a heavy crash of thunder. With the wind speed and angle now a bit easier, waterline length had me catching CC again. I was not able to sail through her lee despite several valiant attempts, so I snuck up to windward and managed to pull a few boat lengths free just before the finish.