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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Winter Pointscore Race 9

Ducked out to RW late Friday arvo and messed about fixing a few things that I had been putting off. The traveller controls and mainsheet routing being the two most important things. A couple of shackles were bent from the recent rough passages RW has undertaken both offshore in 45 knots and inshore up to 34 knots. All is now sorted and she is back ready to race.

Saturday was beautiful and sunny, however the breeze was gusty with half metre swells for the dinghy ride to Rogue Wave. Forecast winds WSW 20-30 knots scared many off the water. All my crew were MIA today so it was a good opportunity to brush up on my solo skills in a stiff breeze. Speaking of was blowing a good 25 knot westerly, so a single reefed main and a double reefed genoa was the order of the day. Had plenty of time to sort out the best settings and did a couple of runs at the line to find the best spot at the fastest speed. Only five boats braved the crappy conditions which was a little disappointing. Our rivals Exalte (5 crew) and Goodlife2 (3 crew) were out to play so it was going to be fun! The other two were Solanda (Hood 23) and Hanni Bay (Carter 33).

The course today was west to Garden Is, south to Mallabulla, around Middle Is to port, back to Garden Is, Mallabulla to the finish. RW started conservatively  at the back of the fleet, but at speed( the wind shadow moved a bit!). By the first mark we were all over the back of Goodlife2 and Exalte were only 50m ahead. After rounding, RW climbed to windward over Goodlife2 as Ross tried to squeeze me up hoping to luff me out of my passing manoeuvre. Fortunately RW was on song and we sped on past quickly opening a good gap on Goodlife2 as we made for the second mark.

Being shorthanded and with a new tactic under consideration, I opted not to pole the headsail. No spinnakers were flying as it was not worth the risk in the conditions. Exalte took off with their headsail poled out, while I tried my alternative tactic. Rather than follow Exalte, I sailed deep and then gybed hoping for a better run to The Narrows Light (TNL) where the course shapes east. No luck and Exalte opened up the lead whilst Goodlife2 made up ground with their poled out headsail. They just managed to sneak ahead of RW at the TNL. We were neck and neck again down past Middle Is until I cut across their stern to shake out the reefed main before the next beat. Took a tad longer than planned as I then needed to dodge a couple of fishing boats, so by the time I was back on the gas, Goodlife2 had opened up a lead of around 500m as we once again beat west.

With full sail, RW was in the groove in 15-20 knots hitting 8.4 knots at times with the tide. Once again in short time we quickly became a shadow on Goodlife2's stern. After rounding GI mark, RW's great windward capability outperformed the Beneteau and we sailed high and fast opening a big lead. On this beat we also made considerable ground on Exalte who were ahead, however as they rounded the Mallabulla mark I saw them set-up for a spinnaker run so things were about to get worse for RW.....the breeze had now dropped to 15 knots and I was in downwind trouble space!

As it was only a short run, I opted to pole out the headsail as I looked behind and watched Goodlife2 hoist their small asymmetrical. RW managed to keep good speed and actually made ground, so I will definitely be poling out the genoa in future. Even though Exalte had their spinnaker flying, we had maintained the gap. RW held off Goodlife2 in the final reach to the finish to be 2nd over the line and 4th on handicap. Fantastic day of racing and at times only 2-3 m apart.........shame there were so few yachts racing. Overall in the Winter Pointscore Series we are certainly holding our own and today's result will certainly keep us in the hunt.

Results for race 9 were
1st: Solanda (Hood 23)
2nd: Hannini Bay (Carter 33)
3rd: Goodlife2 (Beneteau 39)
4th Rogue Wave
5th Exalte (X-332)

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