Crew: Geoff, Ken, Murray, Grant.
Forecast: Northerly 25 knots gusting 35 knots, but 20 knots gusting 30 knots in the harbour. Sea rough about the south coast. Cloudy with poor visibility in occasional drizzle.
The Commodores Cup was a mark foy/pursuits style start where the slower boats start earlier and theoretically we all arrive at the finish line together. Geoff, Grant and Murray met at 1000 hrs at Chaffers to install the mainsail. The wind was around 20 kts and re rigged up the No. 3 Jib and the main with one reef. We then had a wet and wild sail round to Evans Bay with gusts up to 30 kts. We expected the race would be cancelled in these windy conditions but sailed on and tied up at the Evans Bay wharf.
Ken joined us at the club where we attended the race briefing at 1215 hrs. The race was on but it appeared only four boats had the courage to enter: Mairangi, Stinger, Coriander and Halo. We were allocated a start position of 32, ie 1332 hrs. Coriander was to start a minute earlier. The course was #16, around Somes and Ward islands.
We cast off at 1300 hrs with the same rig as earlier. Positions were Grant on helm, Murray on mainsheet, Ken and Geoff on trimming.
The start number were a bit hard to see in the poor visiblity but we figured our number was up and crossed the start line on port tack and beat our way up Evans Bay into 20-25 kts of northerly trying unsuccessfully to catch Coriander. By the time we passed Pt. Halswell the 38′ classic yacht Marangi had already past us and Coriander was disappearing off to the east side of the harbour. As we went around the top of Somes we were neck and neck with Coriander and we edged ahead of them on the turn (with Geoff closely monitoring the chart plotter to make sure we cleared the Mokopuna rocks safely).
On the downwind section to Ward Island we poled out the jib on the port side and at Ken’s suggestion we tried a new technique: we hoisted the No. 1 HW Genoa goose-winged on the starboard side using the second genoa halyard and a spinnaker sheet. It worked well and we picked up some extra speed and kept Coriander behind us.
On the turn around Ward Island Coriander was able to pass us this time and stayed ahead of Halo as we crossed the harbour. On the turn down into Evans bay with the reef shaken out of the main (good call Murray) and the jib poled out, our duel with Coriander continued. With Grant doing a great job on helm we slowly edged past them and crossed the finish line just seconds ahead. An exciting finish!
Here’s the RaceQS race replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1000346