24 Hour Endurance Race – 14-15 March 2020

Crew: Geoff, Ken, Murray, Lorna, Eduardo, Malcolm.

Wednesday 4 March
Geoff and Ken attended the 24 Hour Race First Skippers’ briefing at 1930 on Wednesday 4 March at LBYC. Race director Theo Muller welcomed us and introduced Race Officer Bob Rowell and Brent Porter who gave us lots of instructions about the course, weather limits, boat and crew safety etc.

Friday, 6 March
All crew joined Halo for a Harbour Night Sail Practice. We started at 8 pm with a Trip Report (TR) call to Wellington Radio on ch. 14. We practised our Man Over Board (MOB) drill by throwing a life ring over the side. Even though it was almost full moon with calm seas with an emergency light fitted to the life ring, it was certainly showed how hard it is to see the buoy once it’s a few metres away from the boat. We boiled the kettle for cup of tea using the interim gas cooker (the normal one is being replaced), and checked out our night lights. We also got a feel for how cold it quickly gets out on the water at night. We all agreed it was a great try-out for the race and enjoyed a nice evening out on the harbour.

Friday 13 March
Geoff, Murray and Paul Wavish sailed Halo across the harbour to the Seaview Marina. Beautiful day for the crossing. We went via Rona Wharf at Eastbourne where the race was to start and checked water depth. Also caught up with Doug on Coriander who was just back from the Sounds. After securing Halo to our allocated B34 berth we found that the marina were in the process of upgrading all their power boxes and the new 15 amp round pin power outlets were not wired up. As Geoff was keen to leave the batteries on charge overnight we complained to the marina office and they suggested we move to a berth on E pier. So we moved Halo over there only to find that pier only had the larger 32 amp plugs. So back to B Pier – argh!!. Graciela had turned up by then with the car and we took a drive to the local Placemakers to buy a standard flat 3 pin extension cable. Murray and Paul conveniently were able to get a ride back to Wellington on another yacht while Geoff did final preparations on Halo before driving back to Wellington for the night.

Saturday 14 March
The big day has finally arrived. All the crew met at the Lowry Bay clubhouse for the race briefing. Weather conditions were looking to be perfect:Saturday – Northerly 10 knots, easing to 5 knots everywhere in the evening. Sea slight. Fine.Sunday – Northerly 10 knots, rising to 15 knots early evening, fine.

The race was to start off Rona Bay wharf at 11 am. We cast off from the marina at 1006 hrs and sailed with a tail wind down the harbour arriving off Rona Wharf at 1043 hrs. Excitement was mounting as we jostled with all the other boats for a good start position. At 1100 hrs with Ken on helm and the No. 1 Genoa hoisted we were off on a starboard tack heading out towards Somes Island.

After tacking our way up to Seaview mark, then Petone Wharf mark, Korokoro and then Ngauranga we had a great downwind run to the Front Lead with the Maxi Spinnaker. By this stage the boats were spreading out with Masterpiece, a Beale 45, in the lead, followed by the two Farr 328’s Amnesty and Celebrity. A bit behind the leaders, Halo was having a great duel with Kama 2 (a Passage 33) which was to continue much of the race.

We completed our first lap of the harbour rounding the Seaview mark at 1426 hrs. At the completion of each lap we were required to call in to Race Control on the VHF or optionally by cellphone. Ny now we were getting into the swing of things with our 4 on 2 off watch system with rotating crew positions. The northerly breeze continued to be a perfect 10 kts average.
As the sun started to set we heated up the beef curry and rice (pre-prepared by Graciela) and enjoyed a lovely meal with a glass of red wine while enjoying the view of the sun setting behind the western hills of the harbour. From then on it was night sailing!

Most of the time during the night we couldn’t see many other boats at all. It felt like we were the only ones in the harbour sometimes, broken only by the occasional call on the radio to race control as the boats announced they had completed another lap. We found it difficult in the night to spot where the markers were, even though they had lights on them, and we were thankful to have the chart plotter and GPS Repeater to help us navigate.  As Ken said, “we welcomed the sight of the two bright eyes of the alien buoy in the middle of the night after the transit from Ngauranga mark towards Ward Island”. 

Rather than using the spinnaker during the night on the downwind sections we hoisted the second No. 1 Genoa with the spinnaker halyard and poled it out. Only problem we had was when Kama II radioed to alert us that our starboard green navigation light was not working. We confirmed this was the case and had to attach our emergency battery-powered light to the pulpit.

Sunday 15 March
By day break it was getting very cold and we were happy to start getting warmed up by the sun and a hearty breakfast prepared by Lorna. It was beautiful watching the sun slowly rise behind the Eastbourne hills after a long night sailing. At about 1030 hrs the wind started dying out. We just managed to get around the Seaview mark to complete our 9th lap before the wind stopped altogether and then at 1100 hrs the race was over. Each boat was then called to report its latitude and longitude position recorded at the finish time. We then dropped the sails and motored back to our berth at the marina. Some of the crew had showers and we freshened up and relaxed at the Compass Cafe for coffee and sandwiches.

At 1400 hrs all crews crowded into the Lowry Bay clubhouse for the prize giving. We were excited to hear the announcement that Halo has won Second Place on handicap results. Well done Team Halo! Geoff went up to receive the cup and then we all went outside for the photos we all got sprayed with champagne. Lots of fun!

Later that afternoon Geoff, Malcolm and Sandra sailed Halo back across the harbour to Chaffers Marina before the big storm came and then home to bed!

Full Google Photos Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ty9qXaYHJ7fRBhPF7

RaceQS Replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1044745

PredictWind Race Tracker:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/24hryacht/

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