Grew: Geoff, Grant, Albrecht, Eduardo, Nina.
Forecast: Northwest 15 knots changing southerly 20 knots this afternoon, then easing to 15 knots this evening. Sea becoming moderate for a time. A few afternoon showers, then poor visibility in evening rain.
We departed Chaffers Marina at 1230 hrs to give us plenty of time to sail the 6 nautical miles across Wellington Harbour to Seaview where the Lowry Bay Yachting Club Opening Day race would start. The northerly was around 10 kts and we hoisted the No. 1 LT Genoa and averaged 6.5 knots up the harbour. We sailed around the top of Somes Island towards the start area and signed on for the race by VHF channel 62. Race Control announced the course for the day for the Spinnaker Division: Start – 19p – 12p – 24p -12p – Finish with a start time of 1410 hrs. By 1345 hrs the northerly had increased to around 15 kts gusting 20 kts so we decided to change down to the No. 2 Jib before the race started. Positions were allocated : Grant on helm, Albrecht on bow, Geoff on mainsheet, Eduardo and Nina on trimming.
Halo didn’t get off to a good start. Our countdown timer wasn’t set up correctly and we were a bit unsure of the start timing. LBYC use a different system to what we are used to with our EBYMBC start box lights. Also with the large number of boats competing we played it cautious and kept to the back of the bunch on a starboard tack. With our lack of local knowledge we made the mistake of tacking too soon heading straight towards the Hutt River outflow which probably slowed us down somewhat. The northerly was still around 15 kts and we were happy with our Jib selection but by the time the rounded the first mark, Tamerlane who had started behind Halo, was already well ahead of us.
Once we rounded the top mark we hoisted our medium spinnaker and the run started well sailing up to 7 kts downwind. By the time we passed Somes Island however, the wind started easing off and turning round to the west. Pretty soon it was coming from the south and we dropped the kite and went back to tacking into the light head wind. At this stage we were wishing we had the No. 1 Genoa up but decided it wasn’t worth doing a sail change at this stage of the leg.
After passing the No. 12 mark and with a tail wind we hoisted the maxi spinnaker and chased the fleet towards No. 24 mark. During the run Albrecht and Eduardo de-rigged the No. 2 Jib and rigged up the No. 1 LT again. The next upwind leg we did better with the larger headsail in the light breezes. A couple of boats pulled out of the race at this stage as it was getting to be quite a long slow sail but the hardy Halo crew unanimously agreed to continue on. It was getting cold and wet by now and we all donned warm jackets. The last spinnaker run we continued to close the gap with Tamerlane but were unable to catch them before crossing the finish line.
After the race we had a wet and wild motor-sail back across the harbour into 18 kts headwind arriving back at our berth at 1800 hrs. A great day’s sailing.
We later saw the results that Halo had come 8th on handicap in the Spinnaker Division. No too bad!
RaceQs Action replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1314965
Total trip 27 Nautical miles.