EBYMBC Kelvin Hopkins Memorial Trophy – 28 November 2020

Crew: Geoff, Peter, Albrecht, Murray P, Tina.

Forecast: Southerly 15 knots. Becoming northerly 20 knots this afternoon, rising to 25 knots gusting 35 knots this evening. Sea becoming rough this evening. Fair visibility in showers, clearing to fine this morning. Becoming cloudy this evening. High tide 1632 hrs.

The forecast was indicating a narrow window of opportunity for the race in between a strong southerly and strong northerly with a flat calm in between. We rigged up the Genoa No. 1 LT and full main and cast off from Chaffers at 1045 hrs with Peter, Murray and Geoff on board. Did a few practise tacks to introduce Murray to the boat, and sailed round to Evans Bay tying up at the wharf at 1200 hrs.

We checked out the race course which was to be Start – Ward Is (p) – Somes Is (p) – Finish. Wind was dropping to under 10 kts so we rigged up the Maxi Spinnaker ready for a kite start. After being joined by Albrecht and Tine we cast off at 1240 hrs. Positions on the boat were: Peter on helm, Geoff on mainsheet, Albrecht, Murray and Tine on bow, trim and keys.

We were a bit behind the bunch crossing the start but quickly had the spinnaker hoisted and made good progress up Evans Bay catching up with Coriander and eventually passing them.

After rounding Pt Halswell we kept a good distance from the shelter of Kau Bay (by accident or design!) and pulled ahead of most of the fleet which looked to be stuck in the wind shadow. The gentle southerly continued as we sailed on a beam reach across the harbour while the Bluebridge steamed close by us.

We passed the southern tip of Ward Island at 1400 hrs just as the wind died out. The doldrums! Time to put the kettle on and make teas and coffees and finish lunches.

We drifted slowly northward on the incoming tide for over an hour until the northerly finally came and we were off. After four (and a half!) tacks we were rounding the sunken rocks off the point of Mokopuna Island at 1537 hrs.

We changed down to the smaller medium spinnaker for the run. The wind kept increasing to over 20 kts at times and occasionally moving round towards the west so we were almost reaching. At one stage the boat started to broach but with a combination of Peter’s good helming and Geoff easing the spinnaker sheet we recovered. The second time it happened it felt much worse so fearing we were going into a full broach Geoff released the sheet and let the kite fly like a flag to avoid a possible capsize. The boat quickly stabilised but as we went to drop the spinnaker the pole suddenly came apart from the downhaul which caused it to shoot vertically up in the air. With some difficulty we eventually dowsed the kite and stowed it away. We noticed that the downhaul wire itself had broken. Also the sheet snap shackle must have come undone and we lost the sheet in the harbour. Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos as the ActionCam battery had died but Ken on Coriander managed to get a shot of our ‘flag’ flying!

We then hoisted the Genoa and poled it out and enjoyed a nice fast run down to Evans Bay ‘goose-winged’ in 20 kts plus tail wind. We passed the finish line ahead of Coriander, Tamerlane, Grenadier and Marquise and came in 5th overall on handicap.

RaceQS Replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1163014

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