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RNZ 2019: Round NZ competitors brace for storm on Leg 2

by Josh Tucker/Sally Garrett 20 Feb 2019 04:12 PST 21 February 2019
MotorBoat II - Round New Zealand Race 2019 - February 17, 2019 © Josh Tucker

Updates from the Round New Zealand 2019 race fleet as they prepare for forecasted strong winds on the 920nm Leg 2 from Mangonui to Stewart Island.

Sally Garrett reports from Coppelia

This is the forth time Rob and I have sailed down the West Coast in Coppelia. The first 2 trips in 2011 (RNI) and 2012 (RNZ) were rough, terrible in fact. So as we meander down the coast, moving between rivers of wind up to and including 8 knots of wind speed, we wonder when we are going to have to "man up" and deal with a good thrashing.

2011 18 of the 38 boats that start the RNI finished, most withdrew around where we are now, with Matt Woodley loosing the rig of Mr Roosevelt about here.

2012 we had 70-90knots of wind and sea state phenomenal - waves larger than 14m.

So today we have started preps for such situations. Rob and I both have new dry smocks for the South Island and we have cut the necks so they fit, dishes have been done, and the Coppelia made generally ready for sea.

I then listened to the MetService Coastal weather on SSB. At the moment it looks like the worse we will see is South West 35 knots in sea area Miford. But gusts of course will be 50% more.

Take care out there. For those of you wondering why we are not going faster.... this is as fast as we go!

Sally

And from Motorboat II - Boatlife and routine with beats, its all going on out there!

We are well into day three of the second leg and settled into boat life. The noises of the water rushing past the hull and sheets on winches are becoming part of life but are mostly drowned out by Damon's epic music at full volume, 24/7.

So far the race has been a voyage of discovery for both of us and we are learning to love this little 1980's wooden sail boat. She's performing beautifully and feels safe, fast and comfortable. We had a slight weakness upwind which we are working on, after a good start we were loosing height and speed to Gale Force and Titanium but a few tweaks to the trim and setup had us back on the pace. All of our untested modifications seem to work well and the new Evolution Sails are mint.

Two happy people here.

The only current problem we have is a compression crack in the prod that we noticed during our check in Mangonui. It has been an ongoing issue for us but we have some gear coming down to Stewart Island so we can make an internal sleeve to hopefully eliminate the issue. We need to know we can push this bus hard without worrying about things breaking. For now we are treating the prod very gently and limited our sail selections to keep it unloaded. This hasn't affected us too much yet, but could over the next few days.

We knew rounding the top of New Zealand against the tide was going to be a pivotal point of this leg so we worked hard to make sure we came out well. It was a good battle with Titanium until we split directions. Them inside Pandora Banks and us outside. We exited the fickle winds and currents of the coast cleanly and opened up a nice gap, to our surprise. Our lead has since been eroded to the point of them just passing us this morning. As expected, they seem to have a boatspeed edge in these light running conditions and are slowly extending away. We changed to the masthead spinnaker this morning and gybed heading just outside the rhumb line. Weather for the rest of the leg looks interesting with a gradual knock and build in pressure over the next few days has us laying quite tight all the way down on one tack. Our routing has us getting in just before the wind really builds, but the tail end of the fleet could get a bit of a hiding. Let's hope the conditions are not as bad as forecasted for them.

All is well on the good ship Motorboat II.

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