Next Sail: 03 Mar Port Stephens to New Plymouth NZ

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Next Race:
2018 Solo Tasman Challenge 01 Apr 2018
Start: 1300h Port Taranaki New Plymouth NZ
Finish: circa 11 April 2018 - Mooloolaba QLD

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Series Race 2 of 3

Unfortunately RW missed race 1 but returned on song for race 2. Last week I dived on the hull and gave her a good scrub. It was June when I last dived and she has been losing speed each week. Under power, barnacles on the prop and shaft severely impact performance and induce vibration, so its best to keep them as clean as possible as no antifoul is applied to these parts, just a thick layer of Lanolin grease (smell like shearer after applying!). I think a dive every quarter will see the performance maintained.
Max joined me for the two laps of Salamander Bay in a light SW-SE varying breeze of up to 12 knots. We had a good start that saw us quickly accelerate into clean air where we made some good ground over the fleet. It was great to see RW performing so well again.
Max worked hard during numerous tacks as we played the wind shifts. We pre-rigged the spinnaker gear for use with the lighter red/white/blue Assy routing the sheets through the new tweakers I installed. Rounding Salamander to port, Max took the helm and we hoisted the Assy for a total of about 10 mins.....then the breeze backed to the east and we could no longer hold sail. A quick douse and we were off reaching under whites toward Wedding Cake at up to 7.2 knots. We actually pulled ahead at this point as others behind had set full spinnakers and were struggling to douse. A quick spinnaker repack in record time had us ready to reset at the Wedding Cake mark as we headed for Middle Island.
With an ebbing tide, close proximity of the hard stuff to starboard and a breeze up the backside with only the Assy, I had no choice but to set a course away from land and into the tide. We lost ground as the chasers overtook us by Middle Island mark. With the Assy doused, we were back on the beat to Salamander Bay. By the mark we had made back all the lost ground and were neck and neck with Exalte, Young Pretender and Nelson Jay, however Goodlife 2 was on apparently on steroids after her recent slipping and managed to get some great breeze and stretch their lead.
The reach under white sails to Wedding Cake was interesting as Exalte, Young Pretender and Nelson Jay sailed into a wind hole in the middle of the bay! So like all good seamen....we sailed high and over the top of them so we would be first onto the new breeze. Only Young Pretender managed to stay with us and they inched ahead by the next mark. With Max back on the helm we set to work readying for the final hoist and run to the finish.
Once again running and gybing downwind with the breeze at 135 deg, it was inevitable we would lose the ground we had regained during the windward beat. We gybed downwind a few times with minimal drama in th elight air. I am looking forward to the day we can string a race together with the big symmetrical spinnaker and enough crew to sail RW fast! Both Young Pretender (4 mins) and Exalte (75 secs) managed to sneak ahead but we held off Nelson J to finish in spectacular fashion with our goosewinged Assy.
The work rate is quite high when shorthanding during inshore buoy racing with spinnakers and your body certainly knows it the next day! So thanks Max for a great race, sorry if the muscles are a tad sore on Sunday! With the results today, the handicaps leading up to the Summer Series will be fairly even between the bigger boats, so I look forward to some close racing!
Results Race 2 Christmas Series
1st - Goodlife 2 (Beneteau 39)
2nd - Rogue Wave (Sigma 36)
3rd - Rival (Hood)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Race 8 Spring Series

Not a bad day on the water as we rounded off the Spring Series with a 9th place from 14 starters. Daz, Dani and Ruth shared the workload with Dani re-learning the roles as she had not been sailing for quite some time.

The breeze was forecast at 20-22 knots NE to ENE so the main was reefed to balance RW out nicely. Unfortunately speed is sacrificed when reefing to some degree when crew numbers are low and all weight is in the boat and my number one reef is very large. With five bodies on the rail to keep her on her feet and sailing flatter, she would have more speed.....but hey, its not sheep stations!

The start was late but trouble free, however port tack in the NE was not the best course for the strong ebbing conditions (king tides) as we were carried away from the mark to some degree. My bad. We did make up some ground and were about mid fleet for most of the race. Dave on Chilli (Corsair Tri) rocketed past as usual with the lads grinning from ear to ear. RW had a good tussle crossing tacks with Geoff and Kerry on Kindred Spirit, which shows RW badly needs her bum wiped as we normally fly past her. On the long run home from Dutchies Buoy we were neck and neck with Ken and Tim on Anneliese which made for a great sail and gave us some company during the slowest passing manoeuvre!

Race 8 results
1st - Tickety Boo
2nd - Tanami
3rd - Exhalte

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Woodstock raised

At the NCYC yesterday and Woodstock has been raised from the depths and is in Noakes shipyard awaiting repair. Fortunately the mast and gear appear to be all intact and the what looks to be a triple diagonal ply laminate hull should be repairable. I hope the insurance company comes to the party to get her back on the water quickly, as I understand it Woodstock is the skippers home.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Spring Pointscore Race 6

The forecast strong afternoon NE breeze failed to show its true form and barely made 15 knots at best, but sufficient to keep the heat down to a comfortable level.

I think next week its time for a dive and a scrub as Rogue Wave is starting to feel sluggish under sail and engine power, which generally means she has a coating of the brown slime with weed starting to attach. The folding prop does not have antifoul applied so when the growth gets noticeble the prop does not open fully and boat speed drops by up to a knot. Its been 11 months since the last antifoul and six months since her last last dive scrub, so she is certainly due.
The Rogue Wave crew of Daz and Ruth welcomed aboard a seasoned offshore sailor by the name of Saxon, for his first outing on RW. It was great to have a an experienced decky on board to run the foredeck and trim the boat. You could see my crew were suitably impressed as they listened intently to his calm voice and coordinated approach, sponging up all the good information......most likely an information overload, but none the less all good stuff to build their experience and confidence. Saxon, you are welcome back anytime.
The start was nearly a blinder.....I say nearly as the ebb tide got me in the last 20m as we broke the start by mere seconds. By the time I picked a gap, returned over the start against a strong tide and tacked off on port, the fleet had bolted and it was going to be very tough to catch them. The course was START, WC, SAL, MI, WC, SAL FINISH with beats, beam and broad reaches. The first mark we set the older lighter Williams Sails Assy from the bag in lieu of the 1.5oz Doyles Assy in the sock. Not a powerful sail but we still hummed along at around 7.2 knots.
Having Saxon on board streamlined the hoist during the bear-away-set and the sail was quickly set  allowing me to concentrate on helming. Ruth's spinnaker trimming is progressing nicely with each launch and Daz as usual filled every other role that was needed to hoist, trim, tail, grind, furl,douse and pack the sails. Saxon and I discussed options for the next leg, opting to trip the assy and hoist the new Doyles Symmetrical Spinnaker that has never seen the light of day and also a first time for a symmetrical set for my regular crew. The pole was pre-set, the turtle clipped on and the tack pre-pulled ready for the launch. The assy was tripped and quickly stowed through the companionway by some great teamwork.
The big 76sqm black and blue spinnaker was launched from its turtle and set quickly. The cut of the sail is for a deep running spinnaker as this is where the boat needs a helping hand given her design. It is a tad too deep for a reaching sail, however it would hold set up to around 80 degrees if pushed and 90 deg comfortably.   A blast reaching spinnaker would be great addition....maybe for the Solo Trans Tasman.
So now we are humming along toward the second mark and readying for the crews second first of the day....a Dip-Pole-Gybe. Saxon led the guys through the process and with flurry of sheets, guys, topper and kicker the sail was gybed and trimmed. Nearing Middle Island the genoa was unfurled and the kite tripped and stowed quickly...great work by the crew.
We circulated the course making up some ground but not enough to pull back any chance of a place. By race end we did manage to reign in four boats and score 11th on handicap. After taking the gun we kept sailing NW and ran through a few more gybes to build the crew confidence in the manoeuvre's. Finally the sail was quickly doused and we prepped RW for home.
Overall a great training day so a big thanks to Saxon for his contribution and to Daz and Ruth for working hard to keep up with the taskings. Yachty talk, its a whole different language! Hopefully the spinnaker will see some more use with a few more regular hands on board. Oh...I promise I won't blow any more me!
1st - Watch Me
2nd - Anneliese
3rd - Kindred Spirit
11th - Rogue Wave (more realistic 888 handicap next week so we are back in the game)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Woodstock sinking

Any day on the water is a great day except when you get T-Boned by another yacht while racing.

That's what happened on the weekend when the wooden classic yacht Woodstock whilst club racing out of NCYC, was holed just after the race start, quickly sinking due east of Newcastle. The club rescue boat pick up the crew who were all unharmed.

Sternchaser offshore yet again

Unfortunately there were only two contenders for the offshore race so we had to cancel and tag along on the Sternchaser. All crew were 'off-watch' so another opportunity to hone the solo skills.

The weather forecast  ENE10-15 building to 20 knots and backing to the NE later in the afternoon....and it was almost spot on. My start time for the 20M course (Start/WC/MI/WC/SAL/WC/Finish) was 1324h and I hit the line at speed with 10 secs up my pretty chuffed. The beat to WC was against a flood tide and with the stiff breeze gave me a great workout.....3 times!

We managed to hold off  Young Pretender and Exalte until leg 3 and Chilli blasted past on a reach during leg 4. We had a tacking duel with Kindred Spirit and managed to sneak ahead on leg 6 and finally we nailed Hanni Bay on the final run to the finish. We kept Nelson J at bay all the way and pulled out some distance in the end. So fourth from the backend markers was ok and a great day sailing.

I think a couple of Hoods took the win and place but they started around 1300h. Chilli had a start time of around 1354h and I think they managed a 3rd. If it wasn't blowing as hard he could have popped the chute and blasted to victory.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spring Pointscore Races 4 and 5

As posting time draws closer Daz and family are busy preparing for their departure to the Southern colonies. Daz is a great guy and a very high achiever, driven by a desire to do the best he can at whatever he turns his hand to.....and he has a lot of hands! You will be sorely missed onboard Rogue Wave Daz, however I still have plans for you so keep up with the courses, get your bum on a SA boat and a weather eye on the Jetstar website!!

How can such a small package have so much energy.....well Rogue Waves pocket dynamo Ruth just does not stop! What she lacks in experience she certainly makes up in spades with dedication, enthusiasm and reliability. Ruths new posting mid year has certainly presented her with some big career challenges and how she manages to do all she does in 24 hours defies logic. I also commenced my new posting in Aug so I think its fair to say the Rogue Wave crew have been a little  distracted over the past few months and are certainly off the pace. Anyway enough excuses - so how much off the pace you ask...proof is in the pudding!

Race 4
1st - Somerset of Oz
2nd - Chilli
3rd - Tanami
11th - Rogue Wave

Race 5 - Kev solo. Lets just say the mind was still not in sync with the game at hand. Great start and about 10 secs off the gun. Five blew the start and Tanami did a U-Turn in front of me so a quick luff up and RW was off beating her way to Salamander Bay. Had some ordinary tacks and lost ground and then I flew the Assy on the pole for the dead run back around Middle Island. Again had some issues and a 2-3 knot ebb tide made going very slow. I think it was about that time when the first beer was cracked! From then on it was just circulate back to Salamander, across to Wedding Cake and then finish.....all the while enjoying a few beers. Played with the tailenders and still beat Anneliese home! At least our handicap is levelling back to a more realistic figure.

I think I will use the older Assy in the Turtle in future as its much lighter and quicker to launch and douse when racing. I will leave the sock for cruising.
1st - Yulunga
2nd - Nelson J
3rd - Kindred Spirit
16th and 4 beers later - Rogue Wave

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jack Hollman Memorial Race

The Jack Hollman race is a one-off race that does not impact the Summer Series so it was a good opportunity with the forecast 7-10 knots to try out the symmetrical spinnaker with new pole. I spent Friday rigging up blocks for the correct leads and trimming the guys to reduce the amount of line in the boat all ready for Saturday. Well, once again the forecasters sort of had it right.....except there were no showers and the wind came from the South and it was about 12-15 knots.
Max joined Ruth and Kev to crew again after being absent for the past month training for the Hawkesbury kayaking marathon in which he won his over 50 division....well done Max and great to have you back on board sharing the workload.
Our start was not looking great when we were boxed in and headed for the line with a minute to go on an ebbing tide. Fortunately a gap opened and a quick tack about-turn and reach saw us sailing back into the fleet as they bore down onto Rogue Wave going in the opposite direction! Now this was not a bad thing entirely as we were able to harden up across the stern of the fleet and pop out to windward in clear air...albeit behind by 300m. When heading for Salamander Bay mark on an ebbing tide, the trick is to stay out of the main current or you get dragged out and away from the mark. The other tip is to tack as you get knocked (i.e. windshift causing you to sail away from the direction you want to go).  By the time we made Salamander mark we were ahead of all our normal rivals except Young Pretender. The ebb tide made for some fast beating to Shoal Bay mark.
The new pole was set however the breeze was now about 18 knots and gusty. I chose to pole the headsail rather than fly the chute which cost us a lot of places.......but no beers were spilled in the making of this event!! I messed about on the foredeck with the pole trying different adjustments whilst Ruth helmed and Max trimmed. On the final run for the finish the breeze had again shifted more to the south so my planned Assy run to the line turned in a couple of gybes before we crossed under spinnaker. It was nice to see Goodlife 2 have a good race and cross ahead of Rogue Wave. We would have finished well down the batting order however it was a great day sailing in good company with cold beers! 

Todays craft beer was a My Wifes Bitter which ranked 10/10.

Next week is race 4 of 8 in the Spring Series. We need to put in some solid performances to keep our club championship hopes alive.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Offshore Race cancelled

Disappointed....the first Offshore Race for Spring was cancelled. Not clear as to why, however I suspect there may been a shortage of keen starters or maybe a bit of apprehension about the weather forecast. Anyway, Ruth and Kev still headed offshore!
We dropped the Salamander Bay mooring and had a nice broad reach of up to 8.4 knots on the ebb tide as we headed for Shoal Bay. For a bit of practice, we rounded the Shoal Bay mark that will be used for next weeks Jack Hollman Memorial Race. The water was crystal clear and the colour a mix of emeralds, sapphires and white sand....what a glorious day. We then set course 6M east of the heads on a tight reach. The breeze had backed to the south and was sitting around 15 knots outside the heads. I love heading offshore as you can crack the sheets and let the boat follow her own course through the waves. The swell was 1-2m with a sea of 1-1.5m and only a few whitecaps.  At this time of year the mother whales with calves are the slowly making their way south and pass close to Port Stephens. Unfortunately no whales were spotted this trip.
The skies darkened and the breeze increased to a max of 22 knots, and the whitehorses appeared. We turned back toward the Bay on a beam reach hitting 9.4 knots surfing the now flood tide (hence why we sailed out 6M on the last of the ebb)....thankfully the rain held off . Entering the heads the skipper declared the 'bar' was open and a very tasty drop of Stone and Wood Pacific Ale by the Byron Bay Brewing Company was cracked.

We sailed past Salamander and made for Soldiers Point as we could see the gaggle of PSYC yachts milling around for the start of the inshore Sternchaser. Thoughts were we would circle the fleet, take some pics and then tack onto the back markers for a bit of a chase! The breeze had dropped so we shook out the reef and clipped along at a nice pace. The offshore breeze finally made its way inshore and strengthened. Really the reef should have gone back in, however since we were not racing, the lazy man approach got the nod and we just feathered the main to keep her on her feet.
Snapped off a few pics as yachts sailed past and then headed for home back with on the swing mooring by 1530h.  Distance logged 32 very enjoyable nautical miles.
Sunday was spent doing some minor repairs, lengthening the webbing on the sail slug I replaced so the luff doesn't pull at that one slug. Also replaced the two upper full length battens that fractured during the wild gybe the other week. I mated the new Allyacht Spars spinnaker pole with the Forespar bayonet mast fitting, and not only does it look indestructable, but it moves very smoothly unlike the old system. I particularly like the Forespar Ultra outboard trigger jaw that can be cocked open by pulling either the internally led inboard or outboard trip line or manually at the end fitting. The jaw closes automatically when the guy drops onto the trigger plate that fires the pin......very slick! Just have the guy blocks and tweakers to install and then she will be ready for launch of the Symmetrical.

Todays craft beer was a Stone and Wood Pacific Ale which ranked  8/10.

Next weeks race is the Jack Hollman Memorial Race from Soldiers Point to Shoal Bay (his favourite pub) and return. Should be fun.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring Pointscore Race 2

I think I would be on the money by saying we did not have our normal competitive game-face on for Race 2, as all three of us had several work issues on the boil. Look out next week when we return to our normal stellar performance!!

That said, the start was probably our best start of any race thus far......shame the remainder of the race didn't go as well!! We ended with a 8th on handicap after I had a tactical error at the Middle Island mark where we sailed wide and tacked early allowing 4 yachts to slip past on the inside. Still without a pole and without flying a spinnaker on leg 2 there was no time to recover lost ground. It was our lowest place for quite some time which was disappointing.

However, the upside was the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) and Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (LMYC) held a Newcastle to Port Stephens race series and were hosted by the PSYC that evening. Many of the Forgacs Regatta crews were racing so there were some familiar faces. PSYC hosted a free BBQ and copious quantities of beer and wine evaporated, certainly boosting club profits!!  As the crowd thinned, Geoff and Kerry from Kindred Spirit joined me onRogue Wave for a Quiet Little Drink (QLD), making for a great evening.

Todays craft beer was a Stone and Wood Pacific Ale that rated 8/10 and a trusted favourite Fat Yak  8/10.

Next week RW will finally have her new spinnaker pole, Genoa Cars and 12mm genoa sheets in lieu of the 14mm double braid sheets. If I get time I will splice both sheets to a quick release Wichard snap shackle which should reduce the number of hangups we have thereby speeding up tacking significantly. See you in two weeks as I'm off to my town reunion.

Race 2
1st: Tanami (Bavaria 34)
2nd: Chilli (Corsair 24)
3rd: Young Pretender (Young 88)
8th: Rogue Wave

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Season Opener under Trysail

The Spring/Summer season opened on Saturday and the first race was cancelled due to the Gale Warning. In the bay we had a top of 22 knots TWS so it was a good day for training.

With the boom off the boat for repair we had no mainsail, so the intent was to rig up the trysail so we could practice using this heavy weather sail and see how it performs.
I installed a separate track on the mast to enable me (in theory) to hoist the trysail whilst the main is reefed down to #2 reef. Once the trysail is set I can then drop the main and either sheet the trysail to the boom outhaul or in wild weather to the aft quarters if the boom is dropped to deck and secured.
The sail set very easily and I rigged the sheets to blocks set as far aft as possible. The clew of the sail is heavy and needs to be controlled at all times as it could easily inflict a death blow if it whips about uncontrolled.
On the windward beat we still maintained 6.5 knots in a 15 knot TWS. The helm was balanced and she powered along nicely. The aft sheeting alignment was good and the sail set seemed fine. Sail adjustment was easily achieved by easing one sheet and winching in the opposite, keeping the clew under constant control.
The usefulness of this sail is now very apparent in the event of a prolonged blow offshore. The main has quite a lot of sail area even when the final #2 reef is set and takes a battering. I found this out during our sail back from Newcastle in 41-45 knots when I really could have done with less main and more jib. So in future the trysail will get a bit of 'air time' when I am single handing.

I have designed and installed an inner Solent Stay to rig either a Storm Jib or heavy weather high aspect jib (yet to be purchased). It will be interesting to see how she sails in those configurations, but that will need to wait until time and funding permit. Damn work...the necessary evil!!
The boom should be repaired and back on the boat by the weekend. During the week I am expecting the new adjustable ball bearing Genoa Cars, which will make tacking/winching so much easier....(note to self - service winches), two new mainsail full battens (plus a spare of each) to replace those broken during the crash gybe, and the Allyachtspars mainsail and outhaul webbing straps.
The new complete spinnaker pole with bayonet fitting inboard and trigger fitting outboard will be about another two weeks. The other jobs in line are removal of the mast steps and securing any mast fitting that can hang-up a sheet or sail. At least I have daylight savings time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

2 days on the tools

After Saturdays little mishap I needed to do some repairs and maintenance. The boom is off the boat and will hopefully be welded this week. I will order a new Allyachtspars webbing mainsheet strap and outhaul strap to replace the through bolted fittings. The webbing spreads the load around the boom instead of point loading one or two areas. If I can get all the bits back by Friday, RW will be out for the opening Spring/Summer season cruise, however I still need to do some sewing on the leech and foot lines where the stitching has parted company.

Calor Gas Cooker......30 years old but cooked great bread and scones!

The other major job over the past two days has been the galley. The white enamel Calor gas cooker does not meet Australian Gas Compliance regs so therefore I cannot obtain a gas certification plate required for racing. I had ordered a Plastimo Sub-Compac which was going to be a simple out/in job, however 4+ months delays and an issue with the importer not seeking Australian Gas Compliance Approval saw that cooker bypassed, which left me with little choice in approved gas cookers.
Cast iron grates are actually burnt away from so much use!
 The problem with the current models is the width......they are approx 50mm wider so it eats into your galley space (excuse the pun!).

Small space big cooker
So out with the wood saw, and sketch pad. Took a while to settle on the restraint method as the original system is rather poor. Self tappers screwed into thin 316 sheet metal.....may as well use a rusty nail bent over! All the heat shielding needed to be removed, a dummy bulkhead also removed so the cooker could actually fit in the galley, and two recesses made in the top counter to accept the gimbal blocks I manufactured.

SMEV 7000 3 burner hob, grill and oven......with rottiserie!

 The SMEV 7000 looks very nice but is not very robust. Even though it is 316 SS I have my doubts it would last 30 years. The old Calor was used by the liveaboard couple for 13 years so she is a proven cooker.....just a tad dangerous with no flame failure devices or safety features at all.
80% solution....still need to finish off but its fixed in place.
So the cooker is in and I just need to finalise the the heat shielding, gas and electrical connections......then onto the gas locker and regulator and leak tests to ensure that not only the cooker is approved but also the installation is in accordance with AS/NZS 5601.2:2010 so a Certified Inspector can issue the Approval placard.   

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Triumph and disaster 29 Sep 12

The morning was quiet and still as I slipped the Salamander Bay mooring.....not a ripple on the water until I turned the point headed for the  Soldiers Point Marina , where I was greeted by a stiff 25-30 knot westerly. The wind came in so fast and strong it was as if a switch had been flicked! Berthing RW was certainly a challenge as tide opposed wind combined with a cross current thrown in for good measure!
Every Sat the Port Stephens Yacht Club (PSYC) sets up the Starters caravan in the carpark manned by Heather and her gang of volunteers. They do a great job......some days it must be freezing, some stifling hot and some just long and boring when there is little wind. To show our appreciation for their seasons efforts, the RW crew provided some tasty morsels to make the day a little more pleasant.....and no, it wasn't a bribe!!!
We rigged for a #1 reef and set off for some pre-start tacking practice to warm up. I was determined to improve our starts as I wasn't being aggressive enough, thereby losing valuable time....sometimes up to 90secs. That may not seem a lot but when your handicap is applied there may only be 90secs between 1st and 5th place. All was going well and we did several dummy runs at the line. Anneliese (Northshore 33) has jumped the start in several recent races and today was no exception. The gun sounded and during their gybing manoeuvre to get back to the start line they caused Exalte (X-332) to take collision avoidance action resulting in RW having to tack away, even though we had right of way over both yachts, effectively stalling our flying start. We cleared the line in 3rd place, but thanks to some slick crew work we quickly came up to speed to be leading the fleet.  So great effort by Daz and Ruth to do a lot of pre-start tacks in a short period of time.
The course (D4 approx 15M) was a windward/leeward course that does not suit RW. It was too breezy for the spinnaker and we had no pole anyway. We crossed tacks several times with Exalte and Knot Working (Etchels) on the way to the top mark and it was very satisfying (and rare) to be in a position to force Exalte to tack away because we had right of way. We were in a good position to lay the top mark when Knot Working tacked right on top of us just 2-3 metres apart. 
A windward boat must keep clear and allow the leeward boat to sail her 'proper course'. We tried to sail our course but Knot Working were sailing directly at the mark. The boats were so close at one stage, my crew could have trimmed Knot Working's sails and she was heeling so much in the gusts their spreaders were close to hitting our rigging. Passing the mark to starboard was not looking good now, so to avoid any top mark carnage, we freed both sails, effectively braking, and then we tacked under her stern, sailed off for 20 secs and then tacked back tp lay the mark.  It quickly became apparent Knot Working had stuffed up the course as they rounded the mark to port (meant to be starboard).....which explains why they were trying to sail lower. To their credit they apologised as we sailed away. RW had lost so much speed in the tacks Exalte was able to slip by and round the mark 15 secs ahead in 1st position.
Downwind Exalte is a faster boat hitting 9.2 knots SOG with a poled-out headsail, whereas RW could only manage 8.5 knots max SOG. Unfortunately our spinnaker pole was off the boat for repair so Daz the human pole set to work!  After rounding Middle Island, we managed to make up lost ground on the second beat to the Garden Island top mark. The breeze had strengthened considerably and in hindsight I should have put the #2 reef in the main. The gunwhale was under water most of this beat and I managed to take some water over the bow soaking the crew...... usually an indication we are over-powered!! The final downwind run was past Middle Island followed by a starboard rounding of West Bank mark. Now this mark is a sandbank and it was about an hour after LW so it was going to be interesting with our 2.0m draft! The breeze was 18knots TWS up the clacker as we lined up our approach. The big steel structure loomed closer as my eyes were glued to the sounder and the alarm screaming as the depth shallowed to 2.1m.....and then the unexpected.......a 34knot gust!!
RW started to round up and although we quickly dumped all sail, it was too late. We were going to hit the mark so I continued hard over and around into a Chinese gybe. There was a lot of mainsheet out and Daz tried to gather as much as he could to ease the shock of the main slamming hard over on the opposite side, but it was a losing battle in this big breeze. The main sheet attachment block tore clean off the boom ripping the boom open like a tin can......but most importantly no people damage!

This is where I was very proud of my crew. They listened to what needed to be done and did it calmly and safely. With the mainsail dropped and the boom nicely 'captured' and secured we raced on under reefed genoa (#3) for the final 2M beat to the finish line. There was no way RW was going to score a Did Not Finish (DNF) in this her final race of the Winter Series!! We hit 6.5-7.0 knots SOG under headsail keeping Exalte in check all the way to the line.
As the wind increased boats retired from the race and only four yachts finished. Young Pretender (Young 88) required medical assistance and ambulance attendance as one of their crew suffered bad lacerations to both legs during an altercation with the lifelines.
So how did we go.........despite a slow start, the top mark 'issues' and West Bank boom carnage, Rogue Wave came away with her first ever win!! Congratulations to my fantastic crew Daz and Ruth who have really put in the hard yards this season. A great display of teamwork and determination to come away with a win. There dedication all season to travel from Medowie and Newcastle every Saturday to race is much appreciated by old skip.
Time to head back down to the marina for some never ends!
Winter Pointscore Race 14/14  results:
1st: Rogue Wave (Sigma 36)
2nd: Exalte (X-332)
3rd: Goodlife2 (Beneteau 39)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winter Pointscore Race 13

A beautiful 10-12 knot breeze saw Kev, Daz and Lesley out early for some Assy practice. Lesley has just joined the RW crew and as this was only her second sail on Rogue Wave (RW), we needed to go through Assy spinnaker launch, gybe and drop. After a couple of glitches we finally had the sail gybing without socking, as this is the faster method of the two.

Today's course (B5) was the first time we have been around Dutchies Beach Isolated Danger Mark (DB), making a nice change from our regular courses. Starting was another area I wanted improve and today we hit themiddle of the start line on a course much higher than the boats around us. "You can turn your engine off Kev"....was the smart remark from Goodlife2 (Beneteau 39) as we sailed over the top of them at speed!

Once clear of the start in 3rd position behind Kiska (Tri) and Young Pretender (Young 88) light air tactics came into play. The breeze was very shifty, often varying 20-30 degrees in a shift. We tacked at the first knock and continued to do so at every knock, allowing us to lift toward Salamander mark and make huge gains over the fleet. On approach to the first mark we were in a great position and would surely be rounding in 2nd behind Kiska ..... unfortunately four little fishing boats huddled together on the wreck near the mark put paid to my line and we had to tack away to clear them. Young Pretender just nudged around in 2nd.

We reached away with the genoa sheeted wide, passing Young Pretender who sailed much lower than RW. We briefly....about 5mins.... held the lead as Kiska sailed into a hole. I was a bit uncertain as to 'what lies beneath' at DB Isolated Danger mark, so we tacked away to give it a wide berth......however Young Pretender cut in so close they pirouetted around the buoy! When using Isolated Danger Marks as race marks, I think the club needs to implement a safe rounding distance of 10m. I will put this forward at the next skippers meeting.

Clear of the mark up went the Assy and we took chase. By Manton Bank mark we had caught Young Pretender and this is where it all went pear shaped. Our gybe was disaster #1 and the ground gained was quickly lost. Both Champagne on Ice (Beneteau 46) and Exalte (X-332) were now bearing down on us very fast. By the time we were up and broad reaching again we somehow had maintained a narrow lead. RW loves to reach and she showed good pace over Young Pretender as we headed for Middle Island. The next gybe just before Middle Island was disaster #2. By the time we gybed we had slipped from 2nd to 5th.

Young Pretender about to be sailed over by RW
Once I was happy we could close the island at pace under genoa, the Assy was doused and we were back on the whites to round Middle Island to starboard. We slipped past Young Pretender and Champagne on Ice only to be passed by her again midway to Salamander mark. If you didn't know, Champagne on Ice is a charter boat and unfortunately (or fortunately!) they scored a last minute sunset cruise job so had to retire from the race. Exalte rounded the mark in 2nd for the spinnaker run to the finish line. It was like a match race with RW reaching under Assy and Exalte reaching/running under Sym Spinnaker. Great stuff. We would edge closer and closer and then they would just drop lower and pull away. They crossed the finish about 35 secs clear of RW. A fantastic day on the water and thanks again to the crew of RW who had plenty of tacking and kept us trucking along all day.
Rogue Wave has been a consistent performer all Winter and it appears we may snatch the PSYC double this season; the Winter Sternchaser Series and the Winter Pointscore Series. We have never actually won a race, so it would be nice to go out with a bang and pick up a win in next weeks final race.

Results for Race 13 were:
1st: Thief of Time (S80)
2nd: Vikinghood (Hood 23)
3rd: Rogue Wave (Sigma 36)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sternchaser Race 4

Kev, Daz and Danni crewed Rogue Wave in what was to be a 10-15 knot SW breeze backing to the SE and becoming variable to 10 knots late in the arvo. Fortunately we had breeze all day which made for some great sailing.
With a handicap that seems to only go in one direction (down) we had a start time of 1326 h with the only boats starting behind us were the Melges 24 planning sportsboat and Kiska (Tri). We also had a new 30 footer join the fleet called Young Pretender (1983 Young 88) formerly from Lake Macquarie. A quick google search showed she definitely has form....3rd in the Young 88 Regatta in 2010, kitted out with race sails and a massive displacement of 2650kg.....Rogue Wave is 6250kg empty and we had to give him 12 min head start........I think the handicapper will need to do a quick rework!
Once again I missed the start. Spoke with Heather (Race Starter)  after the race and found we were 90 secs behind the start. In future I will set the watch and count down from the 15min horn. So the chase was on.....see how many legs it would take to peg the leaders back. Its a bit daunting when you look up and see almost the entire fleet in front......bit like the Forgacs Regatta races but this time we knew we could catch the fleet!
The course took in two laps of Salamander/Wedding Cake/Middle Island and then finish. By the first leg we had pinned Goodlife2 and were all over Anneleise like a rash. Rounding Salamander Daz and Dani deployed the Assy that was pre-rigged and we pulled away and hunting down boats as we powered along. Nearing Wedding Cake we dropped the Assy a tad early so lost speed and ground, but once back on the breeze we powered up and headed for Middle wide as we could to avoid the wind shadow. We made huge gains and after rounding Middle Island we passed Distant Drums (Pacific 39) and Remis (Hood) and were neck and neck with Nelson J (J24) at Salamander mark. Once again the crew launched the Assy and we powered past Somerset of Oz (Hanse 34) and held onto the back of Nelson J until the breeze faded. They doused their spinnaker at Wedding Cake and under whites reached for home.
We on the other hand needed to make up some ground so we gybed the Assy around Wedding Cake and tight reached home hitting 8 knots at times. We passed Nelson J and watched the Megles 24 making a fast approach but still several hundred yards back. Now the Assy can still hold good power at 50 deg but you guessed it.....the breeze was bending around the point and we could not make it to the finish under Assy without going through Middle Island! Despite a lightning fast douse and genoa back we failed to keep our 2nd position and we tucked onto the transom of the Megles 24  to cross the line in 4th. So, old skip didn't have a good start or finish...sorry guys! But the good news is I think we pulled off the series win by one point over Nelson well done to my dedicated deckies!

NCYC Forgacs Regatta roundup

Images from the NCYC Forgacs Web Link.

As I eluded in my previous post, in the final Race 4 on PHS Handicap, Rogue Wave scored a 3rd place in DIV 2. What I failed to mention was Rogue Wave also held off every DIV 1 yacht including a TP52 and FARR 40 OD! So we actually scored a 3rd place from a combined fleet of 19 yachts.......lap it up while it lasts I say!!

A few words from Decky Daz:

Almost 2.5 months off RW, a couple of new spinnakers, Ruth getting all the good skills training whilst I've been away, the Jensen's now part time crew, and our first serious off shore race…….. what did I expect……. one big rude awakening for me, but no idea how we would go. With Kev giving me the foredeck duties in messy 2metre swells and chop I soon got my sea legs back. My other main task was grinding, and in the 20-25 plus knot winds with Kev trying to squeeze every last bit of performance out of RW, the body got a good work out.

Well after 3 races on Saturday and finishing a little later then expected, I was truly knackered, but had a ball. I wasn't sure how our Handicap would help us, feeling that we didn't really do that well with little mishaps/breakages and the courses not really suiting RW's strengths. Would have to wait until we hit the club house to find out……..

Unsure how I broke RW's spinnaker pole, even with slow motion replay of the GoPro footage, it still didn't help - sorry Kev. I think RW bit back though drawing blood from me after a sheet hook up near the mast……. me getting too confident running gloves and not taking more care. Thanks to pit nurse Tess for trying to bandage me up, but I've now left my signature/DNA on the new Asym spinnaker sock……. again, sorry Kev. Results in……..well at least we didn't finish last and the beers were free…..I'm sure the club thought better of it after Jenno & Kev set about making up for lost time during the day. ha ha ha

Sunday - I'd say Jenno & Tess were no good for crew on Sunday after Saturday nights efforts anyway, but we had a new member - Max - come on board. With a little less wind but some big swell ( minimum 3metres) it was prime sailing. We hoisted the Asym spinnaker to start and was actually catching the fleet (woo hoo - that felt good!!), until we cleared Newcastle harbour and then it was game on. Ruth was working her magic trimming the spinnaker, giving Max a baptism on grinding. It was a great day for sailing, had a ball, we weren't being left behind by the fleet today, keeping close enough to feel like we were hunting them down the whole time. We worked out a quicker way to hoist the Asym spin with the calmer seas when the winds swung around it seemed to suit RW. The only thing that killed a good day was when the water pump let go on the way back to the marina…. Skip was a little pissed off I think.

Anyway, cracked a couple of beers and some nibbles back at the dock, had a laugh at Ruth still trying to score a t-shirt or hat from the "YES" crew or maybe it was the banter she had going with Kev about defecting to the "YES" boat……..

Back at the club house for presentation, we were pleasantly surprised when RW was mentioned as 3rd place getters in the PHS handicap for division 2 for Sunday's race - woo hoo, look out next year!!
All in all I had a great weekend, some good sailing, a few ales, some footage taken, and was a good eye opener on what to expect for our next Off shore event…….
Oh, hopefully Kev will post up the link of the short clip I did of RW's first IRC event. for ay's to check out
…… FORGACS Regatta Video
And from Ruth.....Rogue Wave's first foray into the world of serious sailing was brilliant. The weather was outstanding, even if the "load up on Qwells" had scared the crew into thinking that the swell and seas were going to have them heaving into a bucket for hours upon end.'
Image by Craig Wakefield, Mike Eggleston, Greg Jackson, Kevin Abrahamson

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

FORGACS Regatta PHS DIV 2 Results

Race 1 (8/09/2012) Division 2 PHS results Start : 10:25               
Place Sail No Boat Name Skipper Elapsd ETOrd AHC Cor'd T
1 M3000 YES P King 1:36:06 2 0.94 1:30:20
2 M136 SPIRIT I Bower 1:38:43 3 1.006 1:39:18
3 N3 AURORA M Holley 1:48:00 4 0.923 1:39:41
4 8834 CONCEALED WEAPON B Kelly 1:31:53 1 1.087 1:39:53
5 M6 TOW TRUCK A Paterson 1:48:30 5 0.94 1:41:59
6 N1367 SUMMER SALT T Gleeson 1:52:38 6 0.93 1:44:45
7 6921 ROGUE WAVE K Le Poidevin 2:09:06 8 0.877 1:53:13
8 21740 NOVOCAINE V Stephens 1:56:39 7 1 1:56:39
DNC 370 SHES THE CULPRIT C Syndicate     1.031  
DNC 6073 WIZZARD M Hinchey     1.039  
Race 2 (8/09/2012) Division 2 PHS results Start : 12:55               
Place Sail No Boat Name Skipper Elapsd ETOrd AHC Cor'd T
1 M136 SPIRIT I Bower 58:49:00 1 1.007 59:14:00
2 M6 TOW TRUCK A Paterson 1:03:58 4 0.935 59:48:00
3 M3000 YES P King 1:02:23 3 0.964 1:00:08
4 N1367 SUMMER SALT T Gleeson 1:07:50 6 0.919 1:02:20
5 N3 AURORA M Holley 1:07:36 5 0.923 1:02:24
6 8834 CONCEALED WEAPON B Kelly 59:16:00 2 1.087 1:04:25
7 6921 ROGUE WAVE K Le Poidevin 1:18:38 8 0.855 1:07:14
8 21740 NOVOCAINE V Stephens 1:12:33 7 0.975 1:10:44
DNC 370 SHES THE CULPRIT C Syndicate     1.031  
DNC 6073 WIZZARD M Hinchey     1.039  
Race 3 (8/09/2012) Division 2 PHS results Start : 14:30               
Place Sail No Boat Name Skipper Elapsd ETOrd AHC Cor'd T
1 M136 SPIRIT I Bower 57:37:00 1 1.021 58:50:00
2 M6 TOW TRUCK A Paterson 1:02:28 4 0.944 58:58:00
3 M3000 YES P King 1:01:44 3 0.978 1:00:22
4 N3 AURORA M Holley 1:06:07 5 0.923 1:01:02
5 N1367 SUMMER SALT T Gleeson 1:07:50 7 0.916 1:02:08
6 21740 NOVOCAINE V Stephens 1:07:17 6 0.944 1:03:31
7 8834 CONCEALED WEAPON B Kelly 59:01:00 2 1.078 1:03:37
8 6921 ROGUE WAVE K Le Poidevin 1:17:24 8 0.834 1:04:33
DNC 370 SHES THE CULPRIT C Syndicate     1.031  
DNC 6073 WIZZARD M Hinchey     1.039  
Race 4 (9/09/2012) Division 2 PHS results Start : 11:40               
Score Sail No Boat Name Skipper Elapsd ETOrd AHC Cor'd T
2 N3 AURORA M Holley 1:56:04 4 0.923 1:47:08
4 21740 NOVOCAINE V Stephens 1:57:04 5 0.921 1:47:49
6 6921 ROGUE WAVE K Le Poidevin 2:13:11 8 0.812 1:48:09
8 8834 CONCEALED WEAPON B Kelly 1:43:11 1 1.065 1:49:53
10 M6 TOW TRUCK A Paterson 1:58:49 6 0.953 1:53:14
12 M3000 YES P King 1:54:39 3 0.99 1:53:30
14 M136 SPIRIT I Bower 1:49:47 2 1.034 1:53:31
16 N1367 SUMMER SALT T Gleeson 2:06:14 7 0.909 1:54:45
22 370 SHES THE CULPRIT C Syndicate     1.031  
22 6073 WIZZARD M Hinchey     1.039