Lucifer – Coastal Classic 2019
“It’s defiantly a masthead kite off the start” – Adrian Percival
At the start we were tight at the northern committee boat end, Ave Gitana, the Crowther tri, coming in fast behind (hi Liz) and Epsom Salts just above. Kite up and off we send, big gusts coming through, doing over 23 kts and heading for the Motuhie channel at this point. Go for the gybe, and we are pointing straight at Rangi, gybe angle in the breeze was a whole 60 degrees!
Kite down, jib up, drenched within 5 minutes of the start, and we were off on a cracked sheets send up to the lighthouse, pushing for height to try and clear our air, watching Epsom and Attitude sail over us and try to get through with the fractional kite on, nearly made it but both dropped in the end.
Once past the lighthouse we deployed the masthead zero. It was a really fine balance between heading down in the gusts but not driving the boat into the next wave and parking it. As we got further north the wind eased slightly, the angle to Tiri was a little too deep for the zero and we got sucked up into the bays slightly. Putting the two back up inside the zero gave us the additional depth we needed while keeping the speed on. Down to, and through, the Tiri channel we closed in on Attitude and Ave Gitana with all three boats within spitting distance as we set our sights on Kawau.
On the way over to Kawau we went down round the outside of Attitude who were bare headed, although we had two headsails up we were not really going that much faster, but maybe 10 degrees deeper. We snuck though under Ave Gitana here as well, kept the combination going and went wide out from Kawau keeping in the good breeze until we were at the angle to go straight through to Sail Rock. This gave us the jump on Attitude, but Ave were still right there , just a bit closer to Cape Rodney. In hind sight we should have maybe kept going, but Bream Bay was sketchy enough on the inside.
Put the zero away and started jib reaching across Bream Bay, with frequent bearaways on the gusts or just before if there was a nice wave to surf down. Once the boat speed dropped back below 20 kts it was time to turn back up onto course.
Given how far we were having to come away in the gusts, the final decision to go over the Hen was pretty late. We were always planning for it, but with full main and the no. 2, if the breeze had built much more we would have had to put the bows down 30 degrees and head below.
At the Hen we were close to the island with Mayhem just under us triple headed looking to go high. Attitude and Ave had gone higher earlier, and this looked to have paid, but as the wind funnelled out the other side of the Hen we got a good speed boost to take us out to sea and keep well away from the Whangarei heads. After the bash across the bay the flatter water the other side let us lean on the boat harder and start to pick off the remainder of the 50’s. Mayhem went higher inside of us but fell back, we then reeled in V5 and Wired, while pulling a bit of a gap to Attitude and Ave.
The next 2 hours was just glorious, the sun came out, and we were jib reaching between 17 at 20 kts in flat water pointed straight at the Brett. Ave and Attitude were never far behind but were in a similar mode and the gap stayed pretty constant.
The Pearcy Island crapshoot seemed to work out reasonably ok for us, it was slack tide so worth a shot, one intentional tack and one autotack later we got spat out the other side into the beat to the finish.
We stood on out into the bay for a while, but the sea state started slowing us down and we went looking for flatter water closer to the islands. We saw Attitude and Ave pop through he gap, and Ave started getting bigger very quickly, their additional length and horsepower to punch through the chop really helping. Eventually they got through us off Roberton Island. Attitude were closing in but we had enough gap, finally crossing the line after 8 hours 59 minutes and 57 seconds of racing.
8th overall on line, 1st on line and handicap Div. 7, 2nd on handicap combined multihulls.
A huge thanks to my crew, Hunter Gardyne and Adrian Percival, for getting the boat there in one piece, and for providing the Lady Nada Mothership in the bay. We wouldn’t have go there so fast without Attitude and Ave Gitana pushing us all the way, respect to them.
NZMYC and the Coastal Classic Committee once again put together a great race. There is a massive amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to pull all this together so hats off to the team, and finally a special mention to Lucy and Gary at the Duke, only just got their licence and immediately we all descend on them. It was a fantastic reception on the Friday and great party on Saturday.
See you next year, Lucifer out.