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Akarana 350 (not White Island race)

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Race Report Akarana 350 Shimmer.


we competed in the Akarana 350 this year mostly to get in one more good long 2 handed race as preparation for the RNI next year.

Another motivation was that this race is part of the Blue Water Series of 4 coastal races and I have always enjoyed a series as you have to perform consistently and keep racing to get anywhere.

So anyway race started in fresh westerly conditions Shimmer and Motor boat 2 owned the pin and had great starts but we soon had the big boats mow us down and watched as the big red kite on V5 got to Channel island in 2 1/2 hours, never mind we were having our own race at the back with Hans Up (HU) a Hanse375 from the Coromandel another 2 handed entry doing their qualifying miles for the RNI

At Coalville I was surprised to see Flying boat (young 11) double reefed heading back to Auckland,

I hear the guys had rig problems, hopefully nothing too serious

we kept up with HU to about the Mercs when the breeze moderated enough for them to fly their big A sail and they lit up and put a big lead on us to Tauranga. Rounding the island at Tauranga in the wee hours was a bit surreal there were 14 ships anchored out there which formed a bit of a floating city.

We had nice cracked sheets lay back up the coromandel in nice conditions but well and truely at the back of the fleet. We then spotted a series of boats drop out of the race, Vixen, then the big Beneteau 50 and then Zero Tolerance all withdrew on this leg, not sure if it was the sketchy forecast for Sunday morning or equipment problems but all of a sudden we were down to a fleet of 6.

The breeze went ahead right as we got to the top of the coromandel and we and our mates on HU had a beat all the way from channel island to the Poor Knights

They went outside Barrier

” we re never going to pass them by following” was the call so we opted for the inside line and although it was a very light night we carried breeze all night and when we popped out above Barrier we had made good gains on H U 

coming into the Poor Knights there was a weird sea state and really strong adverse current and laying above was pretty tough.

then late morning we had a series of heavy squalls including a crazy white one that hit really hard and put us quite a bit back down the course

Mid afternoon we finally rounded the knights with about half hour lead on the Hanse and cracked the zero and started reaching for home.

we had lovely reaching conditions down to Whangarei heads where we hit a big hole and parked up for an hour. Lots of shouting about how unfair Huey is at that stage but of course eventually the breeze filled in and we actually stretched on HU who seemed to be in their own world of pain in the big hole.

The night sail back to Auckland was heaps of fun with HU breathing down our necks some times only 15 mins behind. at times we would get into the next pressure first and stretch that out to half an hour.

Finally at 4.30 on Monday morning we crossed the line with HU finishing 20 mins behind.

Those guys really made the race for us, it proves as long as you have somebody to race and it’s close it doesn’t really matter weather you are at a the front or back of the fleet.

Im really glad we did this race we found we had a good rhythm going with our watch keeping sleep patterns and fitting in all the other stuff associated with longer distance racing, nav work, twice daily radio skeds  weather planning making some thing to eat plus sail changes.

I think the boats that just go for a 250 mile weekend sail are kidding themselves if they believe it’s really proper prep for a race like the RNI

now I get to take off the race gear load up all the cruising stuff and take the family away for our annual cruise,

but I can’t wait till the RNI next year it’s shaping up to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Thanks to Akarana for running a really good event, it’s a pity more boats weren’t able to compete it would be a great race with 20 or 30 boats out there.

Perhaps in a year or two it will revert to the White Island race and the prospect of racing around an active volcano will motivate more yachts to enter?

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Great report, thanks.

On that last point, I've done the 350, and the white island race, enjoyed them a lot. However, with the stance that RAYC took re the landing closure, I’ll not be entering any more of their races. Why support a ‘sailing’ club that doesn't support all the requirements of sailing

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