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)