More than 160 yachts of all shapes and sizes contested the 2013 edition of the Coastal Classic as the fleet lined up for the 119nm race from Auckland to Russell.
The race was hotly contested, particularly in Division 6 where visitors Team Australia were aiming to claim victory over title-holders Team Vodafone, who had taken line honours for three years previously. With the pair considered to be the fastest yachts in Australasia, it was all to play for.
It was a strong race for the Doyle-powered boats with good performances in all divisions, including first place across the line in five of the eight divisions. Team Australia took line honours with a time of eight hours and 15 minutes, nearly 40 minutes ahead of Team Vodafone, winning the Duke of Marlbourough Cup for the first boat to finish and the Alexander Flynn Trophy for first multihull to finish. Omega 8, which features a full Doyle inventory, came first by handicap in Division 1 and was also the overall winner of the race. Both yachts were carrying Doyle’s innovative new Stratis carbon ICE sails, as well as Stratis carbon technora mains, and the results speak for themselves.
As well as the overall successes, there were excellent divisional results. Division 2 saw a win on the line and second place by handicap for Outrageous Fortune, which carries a partial Doyle inventory. In Division 3 R N B, with a full Doyle inventory, took first place (line and handicap), Division 4 saw first place (line and handicap) for No Worries, which has a partial Doyle inventory, and Division 7 first place on the line for Charleston, which also has a partial Doyle inventory.
Below we have race reports from Simon Kidd, of Doyle Sails, who was racing on overall winner Omega 8, and from Mike Sanderson, Head of Sales at Doyle Sails, who was racing on line winners Team Australia.
Omega 8 – overall winner and first place in Division 1
Race report by Simon Kidd
It was always going to be a great race for Omega upwind, with pressure and the breeze backing later in the day. We started well ahead of the starting gun with preparation on the boat, which is half the battle, dropping the rudder to service the bearing and undertaking several other small maintenance jobs. For the sail inventory we added a new Stratis ICE Code 2 headsail, which we carried from North Head up the coast, and also a new Stratis carbon technora mainsail.
With a large fleet off the line there was some urgency to set the Doyle A3 laminated gennaker and we made a nice jump on the other 40's down to North Head. We had a good run up to Sail Rock with a long port tack and couple of short starboard tacks. Just after Sail Rock a squall came through and we ended up bareheaded for a couple of minutes before settling back into a slightly cracked jib top and then into the Code 0 which carried us through to the Cape Brett. The 40 fleet was locked together with Mojo, Power Play, Pretty Boy Floyd and Lawless all metres apart as we cleared the Brett.
Omega was in her element with an 150% overlapping headsail we laid pretty much through to the Black Rocks, having taken advantage of the incoming tide and then a long starboard tack through to Tapeka Point. A short tack and we laid up to the finish just as the breeze started to die, with the tide changing as we finished. Skipper and owner Scott McLaren was delighted with the result and very complementary of both the crew and also the Doyle sails that powered Omega to her win.
Team Australia – First place on the line, and third place in Division 6
Race report by Mike Sanderson
It's a long time since someone brought a boat all the way from Australia for the Coastal Classic and so when owner Sean Langman and his team made noises about bringing their very cool ORMA Trimaran Team Australia over for the 2013 event it was pretty exciting news. Team Australia is, like local boat Team Vodafone, an ex French ORMA Class box rule boat, maximum length, maximum beam, maximum mast length and that’s about it… they were developed for a combination of round the buoy Grand Prix events and single and double handed Trans-Atlantic racing. Until the creation of the AC 72 they were the most developed large multihull in the world.
Team Australia started their campaign by setting a new bench mark for the Trans-Tasman sailing record, crossing from Sydney to Auckland in 2 days 19 hours 2 mins 45 seconds. Their new record, now ratified by the World Speed Sailing Association, has set the bar very high for others to try and have a crack at. Once in Auckland, with the crew recovered from their Tasman ordeal, we set about getting her ready for the Coastal Classic. This entailed the guys removing all the offshore equipment and most excitingly the fitting of three new Doyle sails to compliment the new Mainsail we fitted late last year prior to their successful Sydney-Hobart record run. Ahead of the Coastal Classic Team Australia got a new Radial Stratis gennaker, and replaced both the primary headsails, the 'Solent' and 'Trinquette.' These new sails were utilising our very latest technology with both the Jibs being Stratis carbon ICE. All the sails went straight on and fitted like gloves and were 'sweet as,' to use the words of one of the crew.
Race day came around and I think I was the most excited person in Auckland, with the prospect of an upwind beat to Russell, knowing we had two brand new jibs in our arsenal.
The start went well, with Sean's years of skiff sailing paying good dividends. We won the race to North Head but soon after Team Vodafone got through us by just carrying bigger sails. Team Australia is less powerful then Vodafone and so we decided to go with the smaller Trinquette jib. During the reach to Kawau Island we struggled to hang on to them as their added power let them slip away. Around Kawau we cut the corner on them and were right back into it… we then exchanged a couple of tacks and with the wind forecast to go left, we protected that side and were starting to pay good dividends. Just as we were about to tack and clear ahead the $10 lashing that held the Solent Jib up snapped and we had the jib fall on the deck. There is no halyard for this sail, it gets hoisted on a Gennaker halyard and then lashed, so we had to change down to the Trinquette and set about to catch them up.
Whangarei Heads was always going to be an interesting landmark to get past in a Westerly breeze. We saw Vodafone go wide and so hit the beach. This paid off big time and while they were struggling offshore in light winds and headed breeze, we were smoking down the beach. From the time we got past them through to when we finally rounded Cape Brett I believe we were just quicker, as we reasonably quickly extended our lead out to nearly 40 minutes from there it was a blasting reach into the finish..
All in all it was a very satisfying win for Team Australia, we certainly had had our share of obstacles along the way! A big thanks to Sean and the Team Australia team for putting their faith in Doyle Stratis sails to power their amazing boat, and thanks also to our team for delivering. Let’s hope Sean can bring the boat back next year to have a crack at defending our title!
Breakdown of leading results from Doyle-powered yachts
Division 1 Line Honours
V5 – third
Wired – fourth
Omega 8 – first, and first overall for the Coastal Classic
O’Sinnerman* – third
Division 2 Line Honours
Outrageous Fortune* – first
Frenzy – fourth
Outrageous Fortune* – second
Division 3 Line Honours
R N B – first
R N B – first
Division 4 Line Honours
No Worries* – first
Wild Oats* – third
No Worries* – first
Wild Oats* – second
Heaven N Hell* – third
Division 6 Line Honours
Team Australia – first
Team Australia – third
Division 7 Line Honours
Charleston* – first
*Partial Doyle Inventory
Congratulations to all participants, and thanks to the organisers.
by Elle Brade - 10:51 AM Thu 31 Oct 2013 GMT
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