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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sail Port Stephens

Summary of the week of racing on Port Stephens.
Crew for the week comprised Kev, Daz, Geoff, Kerry, Max, Ruth, Ken, Tim and Pudz so most of the time we had 5-7 crew for any one race.
In the 3 race Commodores Cup we raced in Div 2 with 20 boats starting 5 mins behind Div 1 with 20 boats. Races were held Mon through Wed, with Thurs a lay day.
Fri through Sun we had another 3 races in the Performance Cruising Div 2 with 17 yachts competing.

Rogue Wave is 36ft, was built in 1983, is heavy and the oldest boat in the fleet and we were 'blessed' with a handicap of 0.963 (higher than my IRC!!!). What this means is we had to give time to 8 of the 20 yachts in our division. We were handicapped like a house brick, even giving time to a 2010 Beneteau 46 (0.932), a 2010 Jeaneau 39 (0.818), a 2012 Bavaria 40S and even a Jeanneau 37 Two 1989 Northshore 38s...the closest design to RW, pulled 0.974 and 0.979 placing our boats around the middle of the fleet.
It may sound like sour grapes, but when 9 people give up work for a week, I would at least like to offer a competitive boat to sail on and not be hamstrung by a poorly assigned handicap from the outset. It usually takes at least 3 races to normalise a fleet......but hey, there was only 3 races in the series so we were screwed! That's my only bleat for the week.

The crew seemed to enjoy the challenging weather and courses which kept them busy some days and cold and wet on others. As the week pressed on the crew worked together well.....OK a couple of times not so jolly.....but for the most part they gelled and enjoyed each others company. I think our highlight was definitely the 3rd place that could have been the 'one' but for a slight rigging issue. That said, the recovery was excellent and we still held 3rd place.
 Image by Saltwater Images
Social functions were the welcome cocktail night where the entertainment was the 'girl in white'. All bodies that attended the Presentation night on the Wed were more than adequately lubricated with Oatley Wines; Fri night was a blur of free Coronas and 150 Lashes at Vues; Sat the Mexican night was Coronas and Chilli and Sun more 150 lashes that flowed well into the evening. Thanks crew for supporting Rogue Wave and Sail Port Stephens, I had a blast!
 Image by Saltwater Images
So how did we go? For full results go to Sail Port Stephens Race Results
Commodores Cup - placed 17 from 20
Race 1 - 13th
Race 2 - 17th
Race 3 - 7th
Performance Cruising - placed 8th from 16
Race 1 - 8th
Race 2 - 3rd
Race 3 - 13th

Newcastle to Port Stephens Race

Immediately following Race 8 of the Summer Series Ruth and Max sailed with me to Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club arriving around 2200h. Daz flew in from Adelaide and arrived on the train just as we arrived. A couple of beers and into the bunk ready for the race back Sun morning.
Geoff and Kerry from Kindred Spirit joined Daz, Ruth and Max as RW crew as we headed out for the race. The forecast was light and variable so the start was moved from the harbour out to sea in Stockton Bight. The breeze favoured an Assy start so we set up the kite in a light 5-10 knot westerly.
Forty yachts jostled for position with most heading inshore behind the surf line. A few of the heavier yachts like us, stayed wide hoping to catch the forecast NE change. Unfortunately ....well for us anyway...the land breeze stayed around for a long time but our breeze died in the arse! We floundered around for about 2 hours....going backwards in the current at times. Sorry crew tactical error. We plugged away and when the breeze finally filled in we thought we were back in the race making up good ground. I swapped around crew roles and helm so I had a feel of where I could best position crew for Sail Port Stephens .....but the breeze faded away again as we watched the shore dwellers stretch their lead.
Finally the afternoon sea breeze arrived and we rock hopped in close to Birubi, Anna Bay, Fishermans, Boat Harbour and One Mile to stay out of the current. The crew worked on their tacks and maintained good speed through each tack.......however with just 4 miles to go we reached the race time limit and our race was toast! DNF for 5 yachts.... so at least we were not alone and the sunset was great!

No 1 Supporter for Soldier On and Rogue Wave!

A huge thank you to my first Solo Trans Tasman Challenge campaign supporter!
Thanks Di for your generous donation toward my quest to raise $10,000.00 for Soldier On so we can help our wounded soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sat 27 Apr - Marathon Race

Saturday (April 27th) is a Marathon, start time is 1200 hrs (noon).

Course to be set on the day but currently forecast light 10-15 NW going to NE in the afternoon. Likely course at the moment is M2 but stay tuned.

Areas of fog early in the morning. Sunny day. Overnight temperatures falling to between 5 and 10 with daytime temperatures reaching the low to high 20s.

I think the big spinnaker may come back aboard.

Race 8 Summer Series and Club Championship

Here are the results:
Race 8 was the final race for the Summer Series
1st Exalte
2nd Tanami
3rd Anneliese
6th Rogue Wave

Summer Series results:
1st Anneliese
2nd Rogue Wave
3rd Kindred Spirit

Club Championship
1st Tanami
2nd Chilli
3rd Kindred Spirit
5th Rogue Wave

Given our lack of attendance in the Spring Series, the odd shocker when we did race and occasional catastrophic equipment failure...... I think we had an absolutely great season.. A big thanks to my crew regulars, Daz, Ruth and Max for their commitment to the boat. Coupled with our excellent result in the Winter Series and Sternchaser Series I believe a few bottles will be on the table on 26 May 13!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Race 7 Summer Series

Kev and Ruth welcomed Dave onto Rogue Wave for his first taste of keelboat racing. After several months on our crew list we finally managed to align the stars and get him on board.....such is the life of us working folk. Experience around boats of any shape or size always makes the transition to yachting a lot easier, so Dave quickly found his way into the groove. But as usual, its the terminology that is the most new players find confusing. When all else fails its........pull the red one, no.......the other red one! Funny stuff.
The race was looking to be a light air/no air race, but in fact turned out to be 3 races in one! Tactically challenging planning our race route  and driving the boat around dead air is very demanding.  By using crew weight, minimal rudder movements and gentle sail trim adjustments we managed to extract enough boat speed to gain some great ground over rivals 'parked' in dead spots. Unfortunately my headsail was still off having a makeover before Sail Port Stephens, so I had to dust off the old Norths Sails dacron cruising sail........hmmm, its hard to revert back to dacron after using a laminated sail trust me, performance does suffer.
The course had to be altered to keep clear of the Dragon Boat regatta being held off Wanda Beach, so the Salamander Bay mark was out of play. We ended up doing a westerly course to Garden Island, Middle Island, Wedding Cake to finish, which made for a long beat in very shifty light air between Garden Is and Wedding Cake.
Our start was ok and we sat about mid fleet. Half way to Garden Is the breeze backed and we hoisted the APC Assy for a brief time which gained us some good ground. Spinnaker repacking now happens very quickly and...touch wood......we haven't had a wineglass yet! The beat back to Wedding Cake was rewarded with some excellent gains over rivals Tanami and good in fact that we passed them both. We crossed tacks several times; on some tacks the old Rogue would scrape ahead by the thickness of her gelcoat, only to cross behind on the next. By the time we hit the Wedding Cake mark for the run to the finish Tanami had 2 boat lengths on us and we had put a dozen over Aneliese.
Tanami hoisted their symmetrical spinnaker and made off directly downwind for the finish, whilst we gybed away to set the Assy. With another new crew on board....especially first timers...its less stressful and much safer using the Assy as I can always go forward and set the pole after the hoist. We held ground for a while until the breeze dropped away and Anneliese started to haul us in........fortunately we managed to hold them off until the finish.
In our competitive little group both Nelson J and Exalte both had great light air races,  however it was a cunning little Hood that came away with the win on handicap.
The good news is we didn't come away empty handed. During our long beat to Wedding Cake the breeze strengthened during the approach of a squall line to the West. With the breeze gusting to around 14 knots, life was good on the old Rogue..........until what will be forever remembered as Ruth's light air roundup! In the light air Ruth was doing a great job helming for most of the race, as I extracted as much speed from the old girl....Rogue not I could. Unfortunately for Ruth no-one picked the willy-willy that instantly backed the sails and rounded us up.......right in front of Tanami and Anneliese! So needless to say, word somehow filtered back through the club and by the time we arrived for a drink, Ruth was famous! In lieu of a starters prize this week, Ruths light air roundup earned her the starters prize and a nice bottle of red!
We managed to keep to our game plan and finish ahead of Aneliese and Chilli which means we still maintain 2nd in the Summer Series and 5th in the Club Championship.
Next week is the final race of the Summer Series and Club Championship, so a clean bottom, repaired genoa and lighter boat (ie maintenance gear off) will be the order of the day as we prepare the old Rogue for Sail Port Stephens week. Straight after the race, weather permitting, we sail straight to Newcastle overnighting before we compete in the feeder race back to Port the following day. With 30+ offshore yachts on the start line it should be a good opportunity to check out the opposition and see what boats will be similar in performance to the old Rogue........and speaking of old, at 1983, Rogue Wave is the oldest yacht competing. While we may not be fastest she sure has the best looks and lines!