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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Summer Series Race 2

Pudz and Ruth worked the deck of RW for race 2 of the Summer Series. The breeze was forecast to be a 25 knot stiff southerly, so we reefed the main from the get go and ran with the full #2 genoa (135%). Our start was reasonable and we were quickly amongst the leaders on the way to Salamander Mark. It was great racing as 5 or 6 boats all converged and rounded the mark within just a couple of boat lengths. Hasn't been any racing like that for a long while. We gained a few places upwind keeping ahead of Tanami only to lose ground to them on the broad reach/run back to Middle Island when they launched their spinnaker.

I opted not to use the 0.75 oz symmetrical spinnaker as the breeze was gusting above its limit of around 22-25 knots and my preference was for my crew to spectate broaches and round-ups instead of be participants!! The 1.5oz Assy spinnaker limit is 15 knots on the tack without a pole and the upper limit is scary pants stuff when used with the spinnaker pole, so next race in a breeze the Assy will fly and we 'manage' the broaches. Apart from being a stronger material, it is also a tad smaller in size with a wider wind angle range. The tactics combined with use of the correct sails can be the difference between 1st and 6th. For the trip behind the island we kept wide and on the breeze whilst others floundered in the wind shadow. Fortunately we picked up some of our lost ground.

Back on the beat to Salamander Mark we pegged back Anneliese, Tangier and Young Pretender.  Meanwhile, Chilli and Watch Me were having their own high speed duel way out ahead and were most likely already at the bar!!  Rounding the mark to port we eased sail for the run down to Wedding Cake with the headsail poled to starboard. Good speed of 7.2 knots kept us in the game although once again, those with spinnakers gained good dramatic style! A wide rounding by Tanami, with spinnaker still flapping, left RW with a nice inside line close to the mark to execute a slam dunk and regain the advantage. On the reach to Middle island we edged back into the game.

Back on the breeze for the final beat back to Salamander and Ruth and Pudz had RW humming. We caught and overtook Anneliese and Tangier all the time stretching the lead over Tanami and gaining on Young Pretender. After rounding the mark the breeze looked good for a beam reach and a good race to the finish. Kites went up and we struggled to keep up with only our whites. On the final dash for the line we held off Anneliese and Tanami, but Tangier slipped across the line half a boat length and 4 secs ahead of RW!

Ist on handicap were Doug and Dim who sailed a great race in the Nolex 30 Tangier, followed by Ken on his Northshore 33 Anneliese and Gerard had a great day on the big Pacific 39 Distant Drums to come away with 3rd place. Rogue Wave slipped into 4th with only 2min 45 secs separating 1st and 4th on corrected time.
Follow the link to Race 2 Summer Series Results

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Summer opening Race 1

What a nice way to kick off the summer series with a win! 
Coerced by Ruth and bribed over several ales the previous day, Mort joined Ruth and Kev on Rogue Wave for his first ever yacht race. It was a clear and warm day with a light 5-10 knot breeze drifting in from the ENE, however the BOM had forecast a 30 knot northerly followed by a southerly change for later in the day. Fortunately the change came after the race was over.
Mort manned the pit and quickly picked up the role. A couple of stints on the helm and he was settling in nicely, although something did not quite look right without a beer in his hand! Light air racing is tactically challenging and makes for a very interesting day on the water, so it was a good day for Mort's first sail.....mind you, it would have been a different story if the 30 knots had eventuated!!
The start was one of our better ones and we headed off to the northern side of the course in a strong ebbing tide. The eddy east of Middle Island gave us some short term grief as the rest of the fleet, bar one Hood, tacked away and around. RW drifted through at a cracking 1.8 knots and then emerged in a nice breeze with favourable current.....and all alone. The Etchels were long gone in these conditions and Young Pretender being very light was also making good speed.
By the first mark at Wedding Cake we were in a very good position as Ruth set to work preparing for her first spinnaker launch without Decky Daz. In hindsight I should have flown the 0.75 oz Symmetrical or at least the lighter Assy in lieu of the heavy 1.5 oz Assy for that first downwind run. The result was a sail that had so much weight in its build that it collapsed below 5-7 knots of breeze. We gybed downwind at 125 degrees and were swamped at Middle Island by several boats carrying symmetrical spinnakers as we all sailed in and out of wind holes and back eddy's.....even Distant Drums who had a great downwind leg took us on the inside, which did not sit well with the RW crew!
Rounding the island and back to Wedding Cake we set our sights on Aneleise who had also managed to also creep past on the downwind leg. The gap was quickly closed as RW slipped into the groove at speed. We passed both boats and opened up a large gap by Wedding Cake and also on the white sail reach to Salamander. A gybe at the mark for the final reach to the finish was a good tussle with Aneliese as they had by now got their orange spinnaker set and pulling hard. Fortunately the race was shortened due to the light conditions otherwise a lot of boats would not have made the time limit.
The gap closed and Ruth's pleas for a spinnaker set were ignored by the skipper. It looked as though Aneliese would overtake RW until a small windshift around Soldiers Point was just enough to collapse their spinnaker and stop them dead in their tracks. Now they needed to drop the spinnaker to make the finish as RW powered up and across the line to take the win on handicap!
Summer Series Race 1 results:
1st: Rogue Wave
2nd: Aneliese
3rd: Young Pretender

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Series Race 3

The day started with a gentle breeze that soon developed into a strong wind gusting to 30 knots from the ENE. Thankfully Ruth ditched her usual gym session this morning as today's four hour sailing effort was worth at least 10 gym credits! Ideally a few more crew to share the workload would have made the day more enjoyable......sorry for breaking you Ruth!!

We had good position for a flying start until the genoa sheet hung-up during the final tack on the approach to the line. That mast cleat just has to go! We made good progress on the first beat to Wedding Cake regaining some of the ground lost at the start. It was to be a long race of the 17.4M so still plenty of time to steal back a few minutes. On the run back to Middle Island the headsail was poled-out in the building breeze. The next beat to Wedding Cake saw the wind building 20-22 knots so we reefed the main.

We played with the genoa sail area and lead to find the best balance between speed and control! The wind swell was about 1 metre in the centre channel as RW ploughed through at 7 knots; at times waves crashing over the deck and back past the mast saturating us both....thankfully it was a hot day. We crossed tacks with several boats and gradually pulled back ground on the leaders. What a great old boat she is!

The reach to Salamander Bay was quick at around 8 knots and gave us a rest from the smashing we took during the last two beats. After gybing at the mark we hit 9.0 knots on the beam reach back to Middle Island so we were two very happy crew. The breeze was building to 25-30 knots as we clawed our way back to Wedding Cake still making up ground. We were knackered by the time we turned the final mark and the run for home so no poled-out headsail this time, just a broad reach to the NW followed by a goosewinged main whilst we surfed the swell all the way to the line.

There were 20 starters and 6 DNFs due to the conditions; several boats sustaining damage to their equipment. RW only raced in 2/3 races and scored a 2nd in race 2 and 4th today so thanks Ruth and Max, a job done well.

Christmas Series Race 3 results:
1st: Chilli
2nd: Goodlife 2
3rd: Thief of Time
4th: Rogue Wave

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jobs, jobs and more jobs.....

The past few days I have been very busy in the bowels of RW...much of the work will never be seen but the results are well worth the effort. The first job was removal and installation of the new Lewmar Ocean 60 deck hatch. To be compliant with offshore racing regs the hatch must have a method of opening from the outside.

I have installed an Airmar  H2183 Heading Sensor (3 axis gyro) that will steer my Raymarine S1 autopilot on a steady course so I can worry about setting the spinnaker instead of worrying about accidental gybes!  I then networked the new Raymarine e7 Multi-Function Display (MFD) with my old Raymarine ST60 Wind/Depth/Speed/Temp instruments and my Raymarine S1 Autopilot. The integration required the installation of a network convertor to convert SEATALK 1 message formats to SEATALK NG.   I can happily report they are now all merrily chatting away between themselves. An Oceantalk AIS 700 Automatic Identification System (AIS) will be fitted next week and integrated with the MFD and my Seapro 3000 laptop navigation program.
I have mounted the ICOM 801 HF transceiver (read damn heavy) in the starboard locker amidships so it is easily accessible and has good ventilation. The remote head has already been mounted in the nav station so the remaining items are the handsets, antenna tuner, matching transformer, counterpoise and antenna deck fittings and then wire it all up. A new Comms switch panel will be installed and eventually the main switch panel will be replaced...but is not a priority at the moment.
 The final part of Rogue Wave's electronics package is the integration of SEATALK and NMEA 0183 devices; including both HF and VHF radios that will send my GPS coordinates in an emergency as part of the Digital Select Calling (DSC) functionality. The AIS will display collision related data and the heading sensor will detect movement in 3 axis and provide reliable heading date to steer a tight course. All of this data can then be WiFi connected to either my Sony Acros waterproof smartphone or an iPad for either viewing or control........and if it all goes pear shaped, then I always have my backup paper charts. Gotta love technology!!
The other job I have undertaken is gutting the 30 year old gas system. I stripped out all the old copper pipe and replaced with AGA approved PVC coated Annealed 3/8" copper pipe. Glad I did as the old pipe was corroded as I expected. A PEEL Gas Detector and solenoid shutoff suitable for survey will also be fitted along with a new dual stage regulator to feed the SMEV 7000 cooker. Still need to rework the bottle compartment to install a drain overboard and fit a restraining system. The entire installation is IAW AS/NZS 5601.2.2010 and will be terminated, tested and certified by an licenced gasfitter. Hopefully I can go sailing next week!!