TeamVodafoneSailing boat captain, Stu MacKinven reports on a record breaking While Island Race, organised by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club.
We started off Orakei in a light noreaster and slowly made our way out the Motuihue Channel, short tacking up the Rangitoto shore against the tide.
Once clearing Emu point we found a nice 12kts had come in, and just as well because the 50ft monos were looking quite close behind. We beat got out towards Rakino and then the breeze crumped again. Up the rig we saw small pockets of puff on the water but plenty of holes in it.
The majority of the crew spent the time hanging out on the front tramps trying to keep from dragging our arse. While a very patient Casper was on the helm trying to wiggle our way north into a building SW breeze allowing us to get the Genaker on and click along at around 13kts.
Until the NE won out and we were back on the wind. A tack out towards Little Barrier saw us lifting around Channel Island which was not ideal but I don’t think there was much puff in the Firth of Thames so maybe the better of two evils.
Eventually making it around Channel Island at 1500 (6 hours for a 35 mile leg :-/ )
Once around we got a tight genaker ride with the car eased in and reached off towards Waikawu Bay getting lifted as we went at times getting along at 20kts, this was a bit more like it!
Once again ole Huey changed his mind and we parked it in a hole off Opito bay, getting in irons and having to back out of it. But we wriggled past Old Man Rock into a nice steady breeze running 130T and sipping on some soup with cabin bread for dinner.
Rod managed to pick up a skip jack tuna on the leward rudder! just T boned it and it got wedged there, we weren’t quite quick enough to grab it for sushimi, as we slowed down to see what it was it managed to swim off, a little dazzed me thinks.
Carrying the genaker through the night with a big bright moon and flat water, sitting in the mid teens (12-16kts) was quite pleasant, and not wet! which is a very rare experience for this boat offshore.
Coffee, chocolate and Scotty on the stick, we gybed directly to weather of White Island at around 2300, then another gybe an hour later to clear Volkner rocks. We got the first sniff of sulphur from White Island and hardened up on the Solent in a nice 14kt norwester at around 0130.
There was a feeling we should tack inshore in case the breeze shut down out side, but Potter was confidant it would hang in there and lift?
He was right! Lifting all morning we had a ominous feeling the breeze would crump at day break, but Huey held in there for us this time. The puff strengthened and lifted enough to crack sheets to head outside the Mercs this time.
Time for a wee kip for us but the boys on deck pushed along in the mid to high 20s on a tight genaker, think their top speed was 27kts.
As we rehydated our bacon an eggs (A little too much water Disco, it was more like B&E soup) the genaker deployed until we met the Colville triangle, a WSW in the Gulf fighting a SE outside, so a wee pirouette backing the genaker to get back facing the right way, we inched our way into the head wind and took off on one wheel past Channel Island dodging cray pots and fishing boats on the way through.
Laying into Kawau Island we lifted as we went and ended up tacking at Tiri to lay across to Rakino fully powered up in 18kts.
Coming in towards the Rangi channel we saw the ETNZ AC 72 out training and as we got closer they furled their genaker and hardend up to come for a play.
Tacking under them we had good pace but lacking on height, breeze now down to 14odd kts, it was great to have someone else out there to gauge how we were going. No question if it was down wind we would be left in their dust.
A few more tacks in towards A Buoy saw us with 20 odd minutes left to beat the record. It was going to be close.
We layed into Bean Rock and across the harbour crossing the line on Saturday 24 November @ 13:07:58
With a new race record of 27hrs 7min 58sec, shaving just 3min off.
A few Steinlagers and a burger back in town, then it was time to head off home to hold the couch down.
The next boat in was Equilibrium – Sunday 25 November @ 05:22:27
Cheers to the crew: Simon, Casper, Scotty, Rod, Potter, Luke, Chris nice work boys, a character building race but pleasant nonetheless.
by Stu MacKinven
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10:21 PM Sun 25 Nov 2012GMT
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