Crew: Peter, Albrecht, Grant, Lorna, Geoff.
Forecast: Southerly 15 knots but southeast 20 knots about the south coast, rising to southerly 25 knots gusting 35 knots everywhere this morning, easing to 10 knots this evening. Sea becoming rough for a time morning until evening. Mostly cloudy, with fair visibility in a few showers. Low tide 12:52 hrs.
The day started with ominous dark cloud and strong cold winds from the south. We were thinking that the club may cancel the race as we departed Chaffers Marina at 1155 hrs and headed round to Evans Bay with the wind 20 kts gusting to 30 kts. Lorna jumped aboard at the wharf and we saw on the start box that the course was set as #26, Start – Somes Island – Ward Island – Finish. It’s all go!
It seemed that not many other boats were brave enough to sail but with the four boats entered we had enough for a race. We allocated crew positions with Peter on helm, Lorna on keys, Albrecht on bow, Grant and Geoff on trimming and initially set up the No. 3 Jib with one reef in the mainsail. The five minute race countdown started at 1255 hrs with a downwind start. There was too much wind to safely hoist a spinnaker so we hoisted the big No. 1 Genoa HW poled out which gave us more than enough controllable speed. Rascal and Slingshot started ahead of us and Jesse James behind us as we crossed the start line.
We had a good run up Evans Bay at around 7 kts with Jesse James hot on our tail. Once we passed the calm patch after Pt. Halswell we got the full force of the southerly up to 30 kts and Halo was flying along at 8-9 kts. Exhilarating stuff. With the big seas behind us we rounded up a couple of times in the gusts but Peter did a sterling job on helm keeping us on track.
We dropped the Genoa down into the forward hatch before we rounded the top of Somes and reefed the mainsail for the beat into the wind. The southerly had dropped somewhat but we were pleased to have taken the conservative decision to put two reefs in the mainsail when the big gusts came. The rain set in and we did five tacks to round Ward Island and then sailed on a beam reach across the harbour towards Pt Halswell and then tacked our way down the bay to cross the finish in third position on line.
We motored back to Chaffers and arrived back in our berth at 1620 hrs, cold and wet but happy. Total distance sailed 23 nautical miles.
The results were later published and on corrected time Halo came second for the race. We are now sitting at first place overall in the Spring Series!
Race Qs Action Replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1337660