by Zoe Hawkins
Multiple new records, including one standing for sixteen years, were broken or set in the Coastal Classic Auckland to Russell Yacht Race, organised by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club this weekend. There is little doubt that the boats which sailed conservatively maximised their chance of finishing, and securing glory in Russell.
Tongue Twister - 2012 Coastal Classic
TeamVodafoneSailing was the first boat home, and secured its third consecutive race record, despite the fact that slowing the boat down and steering a safe course was a big focus of the race.
The 60 foot trimaran skippered by Simon Hull completed the race in five hours 41 minutes and 44 seconds, taking nearly three minutes off the record it set last year, and also setting a new record for multihulls at the same time.
Crusader 35 (LOA 10.65m) which finished in 10 hours and two minutes, has taken the under 10.66m record of 11 minutes and 53 seconds, held by Mumm 30 since 1996. It also exceeded the time for boats under 12.19m of 10 hours and 33 minutes, held by Satellite Spy since 1996.
Borderline achieved the first official records for the Open 8.5s, with a finishing time of eight hours and 59 minutes, setting the bar high for a time to beat in future years.
The race started at Devonport Wharf in Auckland amidst a 30 knot wind squall and very poor visibility. Taking a conservative line at the wharf end, holding off the gybe for as long as possible, and resisting the urge to carry big gear, ensured the best results as the fleet rounded North Head, with an incoming cargo ship on a tight schedule causing problems for some.
Those that hoisted their big sails, as often as not found themselves in trouble with little room to manoeuvre: The catamaran Taeping was required to take drastic action when Rantan II broached.
For the fast multihulls it was a case of hold on tight, if you weren't doing a headsail change or tucking in a reef. TeamVodafoneSailing enacted at least a dozen headsail changes during its race, and Taeping's story is one of constant changes to boat configuration.
IMG 5181p (Rob Webb) - 2012 Coastal Classic
'We found the going very tough today,' says Tim Willetts, owner of the bright green trimaran Timberwolf that has been turboed and refined more each year, and which blew out two kites during the race. The maximum wind gust they experienced was 37 knots, but it was the sea state that really affected them.
'At times, the seas were just evil. We found it dangerous over 18knots in the nasty stuff.' Their peak speed was just over 25 knots.
'To be honest this was a day about seamanship and finishing and we found it hard to push the boat to its full limit.'
Seeing Dirty Deeds flip over near Kawau in a massive gust gave them cause to concern.
'It did not help at all seeing the Deeds over, my best wishes to Bobbi and Greer, it's never good but great to hear it is back up again. We only survived that gust by seconds as we got our Code Zero [a big foresail] down just in time as another 35 knot gust hit us.'
'This race was about boat management,' says Event Director Jon Vincent. 'Those that took a conservative approach benefited on the day. Those that went out there believing they could adjust to the conditions with too much sail area have suffered the consequences.'
Of 167 starters, 11 boats withdrew. The smallest boat, an Elliott 7m called Elevation, from Rotorua, finished at 0302hrs Saturday.
IMG 5227p (Rob Webb) - 2012 Coastal Classic
IMG 5302p (Rob Webb) - 2012 Coastal Classic
IMG 5317p (Rob Webb) - 2012 Coastal Classic
The First 20 Finishers Were:
|1||Kia Kaha 52||8:57:19||7|
|1||Ran Tan Ii||9:12:09||10|
Coastal Classic website