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SSANZ Safety at Sea Triple Series

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The forecast was spot on. Both in terms of temperature and just after 8pm there was 'a lot' of breeze in the Firth. After an 'exciting' attempt to run away with said breeze at high speed we eventually rounded up and shook like a shaggy dog until we could get headsail off. I was concerned for the rig and I suspect my #3 won't be quite the same again. The sea state was 'particularly difficult'. Struggled to complete that leg under reefed main alone with the boom in the water for quite a bit of the time. We knew heavy breeze was on the cards but weren't prepared for a fast drop and second reef. Lesson learnt.

The rest of the race was relatively uneventful; we did use every sail and my arms seem to be a little longer today...and I have a cold. 


Glad to complete and many thanks to SSANZ for the challenge!

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We started on time but noticed the second batten missing when we hoisted the main. Must have shook out in the first race as we haven't looked at boat since then. Broke a parrot beak on the kite pole not long after hoisting at Rangi light, in the middle of a decent squall/knock, So two sailed most of the way to Haystack before growing a pair and putting up the code zero/screecher as we'd never hoisted it before- by which time it had lightened off and most everyone had gone kite. Dropped that and went Gennaker which we carried to Shearers. Not a bad rounding and kept company with our fleet and a couple of 88's and a pod of dolphins to Gannet. Couldn't make any time on Crocodile whenever it lightened off they'd slip away and when it blew we'd pull them in. Moving Violation must have violated something in the downwind sails area but they has no such issues going back up!

Some of the squalls around Rakino and Motutapu had the fillings shaking out of our teeth the way the main was shaking about and we eventually had another batten rip its way out of its pocket. Blaardy 30 year old mainsails - grrrrrrr

A pretty cold miserable fetch from Motuhie to the welcome flashing light on Maara and it was a relief to bear away and head back to Whangaparaoa. Unfortunately it was right up the chuff so no reaching for a Gennaker just eased the main right out, let the self tacker slat itself to death and go surfing on the ever increasing sized southerly waves in the dark. It was pretty hairy picking our way through the shipping channel lights at speed in those conditions I can tell ya... See attached pic for confirmation of the kind of hairy ride we experienced!

Cheers Jon and the SSANZ team for an excuse to go out and break stuff in the sleet ha ha



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The forecast was spot on. Both in terms of temperature and just after 8pm there was 'a lot' of breeze in the Firth. After an 'exciting' attempt to run away with said breeze at high speed we eventually rounded up and shook like a shaggy dog until we could get headsail off...


We had a similar experience on that leg. I know that my wind gear can be a but random but there were several times where it was reading 40+ and it felt like it. I made the call to turn and run a couple of times which was easier said than done but it was a safer option... some of the big surfs were pretty wild. It turns out that we get a fairly loud hum from the foils once  the boat goes over 15kts.... I think that it proof that 8tons of cruising boat isn't supposed to go that fast!

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Marshal law's SSANZ Evolution Sails 100


The mighty Marshall has had a series of ups and downs so far.

The Ssanz 100 was a thoroughly enjoyable race and a well successful first 2 handed race together for Phil and Smithy.


With Smithy working offshore and Phil having had a losing argument with a running skilsaw in June we didn’t make the 60 so it was all on for the 100.

Due to Phils hand still recovering full strength Smithy volunteered to do bow which was greatly appreciated by the intelligent (?) autohelm ( Phil) which is a debatable role at the best of times.

We had a conservative start off the line (planned of course) with the jibtop set (once Smithy had remembered where it sheeted to) and just laid Rangi light catching the fleet.

Once past Rangi light we cracked off to Tiri where lots of threatening clouds seemed to bring more rain than wind, but lots of shifts. After Tiri passage it was a peel to the code zero with time to tidy up the Jibtop. This worked well for us as we rolled Planet X, Nosaka and Fiction and caught more of the fleet. Then another peel to the masthead kite after Motuora.

A 60 degree windshift had us on a tight reach to clear Challenger island, luckily the wind lifted as we got past Challenger and we laid through to flat rock easily, rolling Provincial Cowboy who didn’t lay with their kite and ended up under a code zero.

Round flat rock and well set up for a lay through to Durvill rock with the no3 and full main. A couple of hefty rain squalls didn’t dampen our spirits as we held onto Nosaka and kept in contact with Provincial Cowboy who although is a sister ship has ½ a metre deeper keel and another 400kg’s on the bulb so tends to kick our ass upwind.

We were well pleased when we rounded Durvill right behind Provincial Cowboy and Nosaka and set our A1 as they set their a3 and sucked it badly.

It was a tough call with a few rain squalls on the horizon but we figured we had plenty of sea room to go down if we got overpowered and our A1 is in a snuffer which ( theoretically) should make it easy to douse if necessary.

A really nice run saw us chasing Dolphins, rolling Nosaka and almost match racing Provincial Cowboy once they peeled to a masthead kite and caught up. It was turning into a great day.


On dusk close to black rocks we made the call to go for the no 2 for the short upwind to Cow and calf (very bad move). It was all good for about 20 minutes until the clouds rolled in and in pitch black the wind started to rise. We had great speed to start with but first one reef, then a second saw us into survival mode getting smashed upwind. The second reefing line managed to loop itself around the end of the boom so with limited outhaul on the second reef the main looked like a baggy bag of baggy shite and the no 2 was taking a hammering.

We also lost spacial awareness in the chaos so weren’t taking enough care of whether we were lifting or knocking. Postrace analysis sees us sucking the kumara on a big port tack knock as several boats tacked onto starboard and snuck inside us on a lift. We then overlaid the calf which cost us more time. Bugger.

Once we were round the calf and out of Coromandel’s shelter the fun really began.

The combination of some cranky gusts and 2 metre breaking seas smacking the stern of the boat had us spinning out and laying flat with everything shaking several times. At one point Smithy popped down to look at the wind instruments, when I asked what it was blowing his reply was “ Phil you really don’t want to know!!”


After 20 minutes on the helm I’d had enough and Smithy took over and scored the top send of the day with 17 knots showing on the speedo. As aiming straight to Shag island just had us constantly spinning out we opted to aim low and come up later.

This tactic seemed to work and had us doing some epic sends in breaking seas with phosphorescence going nuts all around us and the decks all a sparkle with washed up phos. It was a pity I didn’t get any video of this but we had a bit on.

The conditions eased as we got close to Shag island and could come back to course without getting smashed.

Then it was the big bear away to Gannet rock still doing 13 - 16 knots under a double reefed main and the no2 we opted to not go for a kite which kept Mr cock up safely in his box. Mr cock up almost came to visit when we discovered we were only a boat length away from the rocks at the point off Hooks bay but we won’t mention that. Clear is clear.


Round Gannet we decided that the no2 had had enough of a beating for one day and peeled to the no 4 as it was still showing 30 odd knots at Tiri and Bean rock.

Then it was a long cold lay through to the finish up Motutapu channel. In pitch black with the city lights in the background the finish boat was bloody hard to see so it was with relief we saw them shining their spotlight on us at midnight.

An hour later saw us sitting on the sunfast in a postrace rumbo debrief with a few others.


Great race, thanks ssanz.

video to come


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Phil sums it up nicely. I saw a solid 38 knots windspeed on the instruments halfway across, and we had gusts way above that. I am guessing at least 45 knots. Big ups to Norths for making indestructible sails as the #2 was built for 25 knots max.... It's still in one piece and not toooo soft!  ;-)  ;-)  ;-) . Lot's of work to do but a good race. Thanks to Phil for the write up and for risking his dodgy hand in a tough old race..

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Photo Credit SSANZ Committee and War Machine




So no ice on the marina this year for the SSANZ race two 2016 on Legless

I have to admit some rare reluctance in the lead-up to Saturdays 2nd SSANZ triple series race. Weather scenarios were analysed to the ‘nth degree and with the unstable low pressure system in question likely to track right over the course on the day, there was a good chance only the last few hours of the race would be ski-mask endurance rather than competitive sailing.


Working on the theory its best to believe in the weather model that best suits our purpose, our hull was cleaned, sandwiches and thermos loaded and with the likely hood of getting my always enthusiastic co-skipper Geoff home before the Rugby final, there were no excuses. 




Our prestart plan was to position to avoid the 1020 traffic and this was achieved although thinking we had a minute remaining at the gun saw us too slow to accelerate allowing Sailor Moon to press off, low and fast. 


Towards Rangi light things were looking better with the lower boats surrounded in 1020 flotsam and Jacko needing a short tack out to clear the lighthouse. Still he and Gregory were going quick & slipped away to hoist their chute first as Rangi’s coast curved to the east. With the breeze shifting 20 plus degrees we held ours for the opportunity to slip higher – it didn’t happen and in fact a short time later a nasty southerly sting of new breeze reached us resulting in a mid-gybe kiwi drop as Sailor wiggled away holding theirs longer.


Gybe around Muffin Island in less than 15 and we felt quick on the chase down approaching Shearer Rock.  Voodoo’s blue kite, War Machine and Crowded looked to be the nearest chasing 88 pack, all by now ahead of most 1020’s. A clean drop and a right turn for the longest leg across to Gannet slightly cracked about 20 knots.



With the unstable breeze big shifts were expected either way so our plan was for a high curve in case of Southerlies closer to the Waiheke shoreline. War Machine attacked us well on their low road as we tried hard to wheel in the bungy towards Sailor Moon. Bit of traffic here from faster non-88 types saw the difference similar at the rock with War Machine probably closer. Same plan on this leg, a slight windward curve although incoming tide was tempting us to go for the opposite and one of the few opportunities to gain.


Looking ahead past Rakino we could see a lighter transition zone and although we navigated and trimmed our way through here well, the Mooners were equal or betters so no meaningful gains here for us. Onto starboard now and looking like a lay through toward the Motuihe channel so concentrated on speed and fluid intake whilst protecting the windward side once more. War Machine & Crowded House by now battling each other seemed to slide through here nicely keeping us somewhat defensive. 


Time for more Southerly spikes and Geoff picked us a nice lefty and we tacked earlier than the Farr boats, a couple of which had finally used their water line length and power to slip ahead. War & Crowded saw us laying through easily on port so flicked one in early too.


Working hard on the trim and the chocolate, our options were narrowing on the last leg home. Crowded was on fire behind us and had won the battle with War forcing her to take a riskier low road again. So high and defend again we go, with Sailor continuing their no- mistakes and efficient form to take the gun.




So that means Crowded House crews take all three podium places, with Greg (Sailor Moon) & I being former owners and current co-owner Russell doing a great job to take another top 3 result. On Legless we’re looking forward to the 3rd race and another fantastic class turnout – one of us needs to put a full package together to break Sailor Moons stranglehold on the cordite.


Grant ~ Legless



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Sun Fast 3600 Racing's SSANZ Evolution 100 Report

It seemed that someone must have confessed all their sins as we were blessed with another forecast of strong winds, just what we love!
Had a pretty good start and was right at the front of the pack getting out of the harbour. The first leg to Rangi light was almost hard on so just a main and medium jib, we hoisted the code zero as soon as we rounded Rangi light and settled in for the reach to Tiri.
Breeze was still only around 10-15kts here but there was a menacing black could behind us which we were keeping a close eye on. The breeze built quite quickly into the early 20s so we furled the zero and dropped it. Shortly after we had tidied up it swung right aft into a flat run, the big squall that was decimating the shorthaul fleet behind us had dragged the breeze around about 90 degrees. We went straight into the A5 gennaker which was not the best sail for a flat run but is in a snuffer so easy to deal with if the breeze changed back again- at this stage surrounded by some seriously angry clouds anything was possible! 
Everyone else stayed with poled out jibs so we made some decent gains here and even ended up with a goose winged gennaker for a while to soak down for a better angle into Tiri. The Goose wing is quite an effective tool to get depth with a gennaker. We use it a lot on the smaller sportsboats in short course racing, much harder to keep it set with the waves so we only ran it for 5 minutes but it gave us the best VMG and saved us a gybe.
After Tiri Passage we held the A5 all the way to Motuora, again we were one of the only boats to carry an extra for that leg and extended again even thought the breeze had lightened right off which doesn’t suit as as well.
After rounding Motuora we did a quick peel to the S2 spinnaker for the run down to Flat rock in about 5-8kts of wind. About half way down the breeze shifted forward slightly and built which gave us a great angle and some pleasant sailing. Slowly some of the bigger Div 1 boats over took us with Powerplay and Fiction just slipping through before the rounding but the rest of Division 2 comfortably behind. From here it was a slightly eased lay through to Durville Rock in around 15kts of wind. We managed to hold off Lawless and the rest of the chasing pack on this leg but had bled a bit of time to Activator and Powerplay who were having great races. 
Anticipating more breeze and with the current wind angle showing a fairly tight gennaker angle to Black Rocks, we hoisted the A5 gennaker which worked great for the first 15-20minutes of the leg. The breeze slowing shifted aft and lightened so we peeled to the A1.5 gennaker then 10minutes later to the S2 Spinnaker as the breeze continued to swing aft. Lawless who had hoisted a code zero, started to drop back but we watched the 2 Ross 40s, Nosaka and Gale force bring some nice forward pressure down to us narrowing our lead to only a few hundred meters at the black rocks. All our hard work seemed to have evaporated but we just dug it in and knew that the next leg beating to the Cow and Calf was going to be good for us. We were comfortable with the medium Jib and full main as the breeze built to 20kts, then 25, as it touched 30 we were a bit over powered but with everything flattened right out and plenty of twist we were still smoking. We were pretty sure we would have put some time on the others as we were in the groove and in phase with the breeze chucking 6 or 7 tacks up the beat on every wind shift. The beauty of this boat is how well it handles the sail area, while everyone else was chucking reefs in and changing jibs, we were still holding full sail and were able to concentrate on tactics and trim rather than reducing sail and finding the groove again. We rounded Cow and Calf still comfortably ahead of Lawless and with the lights of the rest of the fleet far astern. It was pitch black, cold and wet which made life quite challenging but once we bore away around the calf we shot off across the Firth of Thames sitting on 10-12kts with outboard sheeted medium jib and full main. It was really great sailing and the boat felt fantastic. Damon had just set up the A5 for the next leg from Shag island down the outside of Waiheke when we got hit by a solid puff of 40+kts, just a bit too much for the medium jib and full main and we rounded up and were not able to bear away again so we dropped the jib and went under main alone for a while. The A5 while still in its snuffer had started to blow out of the bag and we had a few meters of it in the water which Damon tidied up before it cause us any grief. We did the last bit of the leg under main alone and even though the wind has eased into the late 20s we decided it was not a good idea to hoist at Shag island with the unpredictability of the breeze, limited sea room and pitch black. We used the run to sort out the jib sheets that had tangled into a big knot while the sail was flogging in the squall and had a general tidy up while still surfing to 17kts in the tide rip at kauri point. We could see a few lights in front of us and knew that must be the 3 big boats, Activator, Fiction and Powerplay. A couple of them had ended up quite wide of Thumb point and some big gains were made by us. The next leg along the Northen side of Waiheke was pretty uneventful with an outboard sheeted medium jib and full main. The breeze had dropped to under 20kts most of the time but there were a few big puffs coming off the land that kept us working hard. The committee boat was very hard to spot with the city lights behind but we were pleased to see them shine a light on Power play who were 3 minutes in front so we could see where the line was. We crossed the finish line at 11.09pm to take the line and handicap win for division 2. We had sailed a new flawless race and chucked everything at it. When the conditions suit us we need to make the most of it! 
Thanks again to Damon Jolliffe for leaving no stone unturned and putting the effort in.


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Nice work BooBoo. Always impressed how you are able to regail races in such detail. I have visions of you racing below every hour to pen out another line - which is probably what I'd have to do to remember that much detail!

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