Report from Kristina
Got away cleanly and headed off with a poled out #1 and full main. Spent the run dicing with Blondie, Farrari and a couple of the big production boats, got to the back corner of Waiheke just behind the bunch, neck and neck with La Carmargue. Breeze had built again by this stage and the gybe was a bit hairy. Just as we were about to we set a new speed record for the boat of 14.1 knots surfing down a wave.
Reached in through the shifty breeze behind Waiheke to Shag rock, dropped the genoa and hoisted the jib as we did this. Managed a faster job than Farrari and overtook them, but Blondie who'd been on small jib the whole way got away on us and the big production boats were able to use their waterline length on the reach and gain some ground too.
Rounded Shag rock, had a pretty relaxed 15 minutes heading back up the back of Waiheke, debating what it would be like after rounding the corner as it had been breeze on when we came in. Decided to put a tuck in the main before we got to the open water, and were glad we had as soon as we got clear of Waiheke. Was the windiest part of the day for us, and there was a pretty messy sea until we got well clear of Waiheke.
From there we settled in for the long close hauled trip up to Tiri. The ugly chop slowed us down a bit, at 29 feet against 40 footers we were getting bounced around a bit, and had a few issues with slipping halyards, but once we got those sorted we settled into it reasonably well. Over the leg we had 3 or 4 big squalls with wind well up into the 30s which we seemed to cope better with than others, each time we noticed a lot of the boats ahead being blown off to leeward and losing a lot of ground. We managed to keep holding Farrari off and put time back into Blondie and some of the bigger boats. Coming in to Shearer we had a big shift which meant we were a little over laid, but not by as much as a lot of the others. Enough for Farrari to sneak past though.
Rounded Shearer and had a pod of dolphins come and play around the boat for 20 minutes or so as we reached towards the Haystack. Saw another squall on its way and decided to climb up so we had some room to run down as the squall hit, but sadly it arrived too late and we'd already got to the Haystack and were back on the wind, just behind Blondie. Had an ugly board out from Haystack and Blondie extended, but tacked back in and had a better angle on the waves and gradually started to make some ground back again on them. From there we all lifted up and it was a straight line race to Rangi light and round to Orakei to finish. Celebrated that by chucking bacon and egg pies in the oven as we motored up the harbour and having a well earned hot feed!
Thanks to SSANZ for getting us out there on a day we normally wouldn't have been. Learned some things about what the boat likes in heavy weather, and had a lot of fun along the way.