2013-14 Hauraki Single Handed Series
Race 5 Report
2 February 2014
Race 5 started at Orapiu wharf, Passage rock to Starboard, Browns Island to Port and finishing at Motukorea. The race committee advised us that it may be necessary to shorten the course at Browns Island if the breeze looked like it was going to die out. The forecast was for a 10 knot South Easterly which should have meant a gentle kite ride all the way home. I rigged up for a kite on port tack off the start line to Passage rock but with minutes to go it was looking too tight – where is a code zero when I need one? Went with the number 1 but with pole on and kite ready to hoist in case the breeze went left. I was about 20s late for the start but still first to cross the line…everyone having a slow morning? Got to Passage rock first and went for the bear-away hoist no problem.
The open division boats amongst the chasing peloton also managed pretty tidy hoists. I tried to sail as low as possible for a while to try and lay Browns Island while keeping an eye on what everyone else was up to behind me. The wind was pretty soft. Who was making gains, where were they and why? The Bondi Tram and Unitec seemed to be going a bit quicker to windward of me but covering a bit more ground, I think that was more to do with the nature of the beasts: both a lot lighter than the H&H and Unitec carrying a bigger kite. Oracle was also going quick 100m back and slightly to leeward of me but sailing a slightly hotter angle – and with a massive blue masthead spinnaker, boat speed definitely a function of horsepower! Between being under-canvassed and carrying a bit more lard it was going to be tough to try and stay ahead of these 3.
Trying to compare apples with apples, the big mover to me looked like That Girl with the gull-winged yellow A-sail sailing along the Waiheke shore line. I was struggling to lay Browns Island and TBT was nosing in front of me to windward with Unitec looking threatening also. Time to take a chance and gybe out – That Girl convinced me there was more pressure out to the right and there was with immediate gains. Unitec and TBT gybed back in phase not long after. Oracle continued to head towards Eastern Beach, gybing about an hour later with one other boat with a big white masthead A-sail that was moving about 1 knot faster, who could this be?…Lightfoot! and it was hooning!
With H&H, TBT, Unitec and Revolution Blues in the mix also, we continued to battle it out heading towards Browns Island and in an unfortunate case of déjà vu the wind dropped and shifted 90 degrees to the left making it un-kite-able. We all dropped within a few minutes of each other but sensing that the breeze could just as easily re-instate itself I immediately prepared the kite for re-deployment. By now I was a sweltering mess. With no cloud relief, no cooling breeze travelling at little more than drifting speed, a 30+ degree sauna downstairs after the re-pack and 3 nice cold energy drinks poured down in rapid succession, something had to give. Staring at the wind instruments and getting twitchy, the apparent slowly moved around to the beam…Now this is sooo on.
Got the kite re-hoisted and set in the minimum amount of wind about a minute before Unitec and slowly sailed away from Unitec, TBT and Revolution Blues – the game changing move right there. Within 5 minutes I had put on a few hundred meters on the bunch but was now over-powered and under laying Browns. I didn’t want to drop and point up into the streaming out-going King tide too soon so held on a bit longer aiming for maximum tidal relief in the middle of Browns Island before changing to number 1 and shooting for Browns Island Beacon.
Meanwhile the horsepower heroes were slowly un-ravelling. Oracle last seen stuck facing the wrong way in the biggest hole of the day towards Navy Bouy (that’s another story) and Lightfoot’s giant asymmetric looking choked up in soft pressure 200m ahead trying to lay Browns Island Beacon which also had our committee boat parked off it with the on station flag up. It was looking calm beyond the beacon, add that to a massive out going tide and the ingredients for a non-finish are there, guess the race will be shortened after all (and in my opinion the right call).
H&H was rapidly closing in on Lightfoot. Looking at the boat speed differential and distance to the finish line it was going to be close but I had a good feeling about it. TBT out to windward was also closing in on both of us but rapidly running out of runway. About 100m out I flowed up the jib and went to leeward of Lightfoot, trying to stay in the least amount of tide and disturbed air and crossed the finish line about a boat length in front to take the gun. TBT came in 3rd, 2 minutes behind.
Well done Lightfoot, Unitec and The Bondi Tram, 1st, 2nd and 3rd on handicap.
For full results please see http://www.bbyc.org....ts/single 3.pdf
Photo credits: Kevin Glover
Once again a big thank you to the event sponsor Kevin and family from B J Tyres. Great work on keeping us well fed and hydrated on Saturday night and an awesome job as usual on the cooked breakfast on Sunday morning.
See you all out at the next event,
The most rewarding single handed race in the country – the Mighty Route 66!
Heaven ‘n’ Hell