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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

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 repairs.....it 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 Island...as 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 J.....so 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