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2015 Coastal Classic Race Stories

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Sundreamer's Race

 

Sundreamer last sailed the Coastal Classic in 2010 having been moved to Whitianga in May that year. She sat there pretty much unused for 5 years and while not deteriorating as such, lack of use was starting to show. In the meantime I sat out 2 Coastals doing race work as the HSBC sponsorship had come to an end and we needed all hands to the tools. Then 2 years racing Wild Oats to a 3rd and 4th online and 2nd and 1st on hcp in division. Just before Christmas last year I decided I'd had enough of leaner sailing and decided to bring Sundreamer back to Auckland. It took a fair chunk of the Christmas break to put her back together and then she returned to Auckland in February. We did a few races testing limits and introducing my Wild Oats crew to multihull sailing. A few broken tired halyards and some sail work was needed (thanks Radar and Evolution) and a good haulout saw her all fit for Coastal.

 

We got to the start early and watched the other fleets get away. Decided to go for the Code0 as it is on a fuller and would make the transition to #Genoa easy. Got a great start and gave North Head a good clearance. All was sweet, we sat alongside Giacomo equalling her in pace to Rangi Light until it lightened and she pulled away. All was straight forward to Kawau.

 

Then a wind shear arrived which saw boats only a few metres apart separate into 2 fleets. Charleston, Taeping, Sundreamer and BeauGest got lifts up and past Cape Rodney. Giacomo and Dragon got forced out to Little Barrier. You can see this in Photo 1

 

The 4 of us continued to lift up towards Bream Tail until it got light and BeauGest and Us decided to peel out to sea before Sail Rock. We had already gone to a small reacher and then the #2 jib. Charleston ahead Taeping and KiaKaha worked the light shifts up towards Whangarei, the little boat able to keep moving best. Photo 2 shows the paths of inshore and offshore boats.

 

We came together again at Whangarei heads, Charleston and Giacomo locked together ahead where they remained until the end. Taeping, BeauGest Kiakaha and us a long way back after quite different paths.

 

From there to Cape Bret it was a matter of picking shifts and staying between the light wind, flat water of the inshore and the windier/rougher conditions out to sea. We short tacked up the middle. Taeping and BeauGest took bolder paths and both came unstuck. First BeauGest (Photo3) and then Taeping (Photo4)

We rounded Cape Brett with BeauGest just behind but they rolled us across to Red Head in the light. Taeping was well astern but still dangerous.

 

After Red Head the breeze built and in Sundreamers sweet spot we took off, rounding Tapeka well ahead of both. We set the Code0 for the run to the finish. The Gennaker would have been better and BeauGest closed up but was never going to catch us.

 

The conditions suited us and we can only count ourselves lucky in that respect. These condition only come around ever 7 years or so.  Light or running conditions would see us struggle. We carried full main throughout. Broke nothing had no moments. Sail selection was fine and if we had to sail it again would not have changed anything. The crew transitioned fine from the 930 and we had a couple of experienced hands on board. 

 

And we were first NZ built boat, by a long way. Maybe someone needs to come up with a prize for first NZ built or designed (or both). As my French crewman pointed out, the first 3 yachts were French and the 4th had a French Chef :-)

 

Here are the pics. Charleston is Yellow, Taeping Green, Sundreamer Red, BeauGest Light Blue, KiaKaha Brown, Dragon Green, Giacomo Dark Blue

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2.jpg

3.jpg

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Pulse xtc in the PIC Coastal Classic 2015.

 

We got a good right hand side start, but conservatively didn’t put an extra on, thinking it was going to be a long uphill race, and we didn’t want the sail on the tramp. After North head we were quickly on a powered up two sail reach, Pulse feeling powered up and fast. Ben on the mainsheet, Kushila trimming the jib, and me picking the line between boats. By Tiri passage we felt like we were amongst good company, with lots of big black sails around us.

Kawau Island went past in two and a half hours; a much better time than we expected with the breeze being slightly more Westerly than forecast.

But by Omaha Bay the breeze swung around on the nose, and felt shifty and unstable. We tacked in on every shift to stay lift close to the shore. We had three Open 8.5s around us, and Pulse was going well upwind in the light against them, much to every ones surprise!

Just off Whangarei the breeze went Westerly again, and we were reaching straight into the Northerly chop, crashing through the waves. Eventually we got the screacher up, but no sooner than that happened and it had to come down again.

It was great to have some nice hot food, and coffees and soups through the night. Have to feel sorry for the boats not taking cookers!

Nighttime was like a semi blind folded game of chess. Really a beautiful night, with the moon glowing through the Mylar sails, and dolphins occasionally playing in the bow waves.

Mostly our tactics went well, but one tack into shore at the wrong time, straight into a hole in the breeze, and it looked like the whole local fleet sailed past.

By dawn the wind had increased, and we were down to staysail and one reef, crashing into the choppy seas. As the light increased, I realised all was not well with our mainsail; the head was not attached to the car. So off Whangamumu down came the mainsail. We realised it was just the webbing, so a quick re lashing and we were back sailing. But not long after it happened again. On dropping the main we could see the alloy top car had broken. Sail slug had to be dropped out of the mast track, the head car exchanged, lashed again to the head ring and re hoisted. A fair loss of sense of humour by the skipper by this time.

We headed out to sea on port with the rain setting in and the North Island disappearing in the murk, while expecting the strong Northerly change. Not wanting to sheet the main on for fear of damage, we took it gently, but the wind built for us to perhaps 35 knots. So we changed right down to three reefs and storm jib. Tacking back in we still weren’t laying the Brett, and the wind started easing. So the jibs were changed again, and two of the main sail reefs shaken out.

Past Piercy Island at 1200, which meant two hours to the finish cut off. Sheeted on the tight reach we were only doing five knots, and needed to be doing eight. So I figured the safest place for the damaged head car was at the top of the mast, supported by the halyard. So up went the mainsail to the top of the mast. Past Whale rock and the wind freed and increased. We all were concentrating hard to trim and get the best speed from the boat, as we counted down the time on distance, which was very marginal. But a fast reach saw us close the finish with all of eight minuted to spare. It was great to hear the cheering from the finish boat, and horns sounding ashore!

After 28 hours of racing, it was great to get out of the wet gear, have a quick drink, and go to bed for a couple of hours!

Thanks again to my great crew of Kushila and Ben, a splendid effort to get us across the finish line.

Thanks also to the organisers at NZMYC for putting together a very well organised race. Watching the tracker later was fascinating. Thanks too to PIC insurance, and Musto for the great prizes!

I wouldn’t have said so on Sunday, but roll on next years race!

IMG_3075.jpg

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You had dolphins!?!  We missed our dolphins - none on the way up and none coming back.  Very sad.

Awesome write up Tim - fascinating to hear how you dealt with the breakages and kept going to your fantastic finish!

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Unfortunately Sun Fast 3600 Racing had to withdraw from the coastal classic race with some damage to the Port lower spreader.

We were having a great race and were battling it out for line honours in Division 2 with Zealous, High Octane and Nirvana. Nirvana had headed way offshore and Zealous stayed right inshore so there was a big split in the fleet. We worked the middle, staying in pressure and keeping inside of the shift. The inside track looked risky to us, potential short term gains with left hand pressure but with lighter airs and a massive hole to sail through under the lee of Whangarei heads. The offshore route had plenty of pressure but a big seaway and the risk of getting caught outside the shift and having to come back in on a real knock. We just kept as far out as we needed to keep the boat speed on target, tacking back in until it lightened off then heading out again. This took us just outside of the Hen and in between a couple of the chicks islands which is a place none of us had ever been before. We could see the boat inside us were very light and the guys outside showing the progressive left hand shift so our plan had paid off. The further north we got the more the wind built until we were bashing into a solid 20+kts and darkness. All was going well and we were about to cross with Nirvana when we landed off a particularly large set of waves and lost rig tension. With a quick tack over and sheets eased we spotted the damage to the spreader and were forced to retire to save the rig from further damage. Out came the rum bucket and the rest of the night was quite large as we drowned our sorrows.

A new spreader end is on its way down from France and then we will deliver the boat back to Auckland and start preparation for the Gisborne race at the end of the month.

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Booboo I've noticed before following you down the fairway that your lower spreaders had a downward bend in them. Potentially the V1s are too short and putting bending into the spreaders that they weren't designed for?

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Cheers Phil. Yeah we got done out there. Should have gone back early on but decided to follow the money (Giacomo). Sun dreamer and Dragon were pretty close when we got the knock - couldn't believe you guys didn't get the same. Endurance race in the end, worth it for the send home on Sunday!
 

Sundreamer's Race

 

Sundreamer last sailed the Coastal Classic in 2010 having been moved to Whitianga in May that year. She sat there pretty much unused for 5 years and while not deteriorating as such, lack of use was starting to show. In the meantime I sat out 2 Coastals doing race work as the HSBC sponsorship had come to an end and we needed all hands to the tools. Then 2 years racing Wild Oats to a 3rd and 4th online and 2nd and 1st on hcp in division. Just before Christmas last year I decided I'd had enough of leaner sailing and decided to bring Sundreamer back to Auckland. It took a fair chunk of the Christmas break to put her back together and then she returned to Auckland in February. We did a few races testing limits and introducing my Wild Oats crew to multihull sailing. A few broken tired halyards and some sail work was needed (thanks Radar and Evolution) and a good haulout saw her all fit for Coastal.

 

We got to the start early and watched the other fleets get away. Decided to go for the Code0 as it is on a fuller and would make the transition to #Genoa easy. Got a great start and gave North Head a good clearance. All was sweet, we sat alongside Giacomo equalling her in pace to Rangi Light until it lightened and she pulled away. All was straight forward to Kawau.

 

Then a wind shear arrived which saw boats only a few metres apart separate into 2 fleets. Charleston, Taeping, Sundreamer and BeauGest got lifts up and past Cape Rodney. Giacomo and Dragon got forced out to Little Barrier. You can see this in Photo 1

 

The 4 of us continued to lift up towards Bream Tail until it got light and BeauGest and Us decided to peel out to sea before Sail Rock. We had already gone to a small reacher and then the #2 jib. Charleston ahead Taeping and KiaKaha worked the light shifts up towards Whangarei, the little boat able to keep moving best. Photo 2 shows the paths of inshore and offshore boats.

 

We came together again at Whangarei heads, Charleston and Giacomo locked together ahead where they remained until the end. Taeping, BeauGest Kiakaha and us a long way back after quite different paths.

 

From there to Cape Bret it was a matter of picking shifts and staying between the light wind, flat water of the inshore and the windier/rougher conditions out to sea. We short tacked up the middle. Taeping and BeauGest took bolder paths and both came unstuck. First BeauGest (Photo3) and then Taeping (Photo4)

We rounded Cape Brett with BeauGest just behind but they rolled us across to Red Head in the light. Taeping was well astern but still dangerous.

 

After Red Head the breeze built and in Sundreamers sweet spot we took off, rounding Tapeka well ahead of both. We set the Code0 for the run to the finish. The Gennaker would have been better and BeauGest closed up but was never going to catch us.

 

The conditions suited us and we can only count ourselves lucky in that respect. These condition only come around ever 7 years or so.  Light or running conditions would see us struggle. We carried full main throughout. Broke nothing had no moments. Sail selection was fine and if we had to sail it again would not have changed anything. The crew transitioned fine from the 930 and we had a couple of experienced hands on board. 

 

And we were first NZ built boat, by a long way. Maybe someone needs to come up with a prize for first NZ built or designed (or both). As my French crewman pointed out, the first 3 yachts were French and the 4th had a French Chef :-)

 

Here are the pics. Charleston is Yellow, Taeping Green, Sundreamer Red, BeauGest Light Blue, KiaKaha Brown, Dragon Green, Giacomo Dark Blue

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