EBYMBC Regatta and Matariki Classic 24-26 June 2022

What a weekend! The Te Ākautangi Matariki Water Sports Festival is a new event jointly run by Tai Tonga 41 Outrigger Canoe Club and Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club. Three days of racing with 87 yachts of all shapes and sizes (including 18 keelboats) and more than 200 participants.

Day 1 – Friday 24 June

Crew: Eduardo, Grant and Anastasia and Geoff.

Forecast: Northerly 10 knots, rising to 20 knots in the afternoon. HW 1322 hrs.

Eduardo, Grant and Anastasia met Geoff on Halo at Chaffers Marina and we cast off at 10 am. With the No. 2 Jib and full main hoisted we sailed round to Evans Bay and tied up at the wharf alongside Tamerlane, Zigzag, and Saucy Sausage to get the course details: Start – 12 Ward Is – 11 Korokoro – Finish with on-the-water start line from Pania and finish line from Seahorse.

After yummy croissants and coffees at the clubhouse we cast off from the wharf and made our way up the bay to find the start boat Pania which was NE of Greta Point. Positions were Eduardo on bow, Grant and Anastasia on sail trim and Geoff on helm. The bay was very busy with a multitude of different water craft to be careful not to bump into.

Pania hoisted the green division flag and we set our timer for the 5 minute countdown. It was hard to see the flags but just as we thought the race was starting they suddenly hoisted the AP flag. Ah, the race has been delayed we assumed, so we turned around and while we were trying to reset our race timer we noticed to our dismay that all the other boats were off racing! We obviously got that wrong so off we went, crossing the start line about 4 mins late and well behind the fleet.

We rounded Pt Halswell after 3 tacks making good progress across the harbour.

Alex zoomed up beside us in his RIB and took a nice shot of Halo:

After rounding the Ward Island mark we headed up the harbour and got to the Somes mark in just 3 tacks. We were gaining on some of the boats at the back of the fleet.

The wind was gusty and shifty and Grant was doing a sterling job on the mainsheet/traveller keeping Halo on an even keel.

As we neared the Korokoro mark our super bowman Eduardo had the medium spinnaker and pole all rigged ready for a quick hoist.

We only just made it to the mark without having to do another tack and then hoisted the kite for the run home.

We got great speed surfing down the waves at up to 8 knots at times. The only concern was when the Interislander was heading right for us as she steamed into the harbour but we held our course and safely passed behind her.

We crossed the finish line just over 2 hours from starting, coming 11th place on corrected time. We then motored back to Chaffers Marina.

RaceQs Action Replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1421651

That evening Wellington put on a marvellous Matariki fireworks display. Jenny, Jono and our lovely grandchildren Isabelle and Max joined us on Halo for the show.

Day 2 – Saturday 25 June – Matariki Challenge

The Matariki Challenge is an adaptation of an event previously run by the Horowhenua Sailing Club during the 1980s and 90s called Frostbusters. All divisions completing a lap course with a time limit of three hours. 

Crew: Eduardo, Trey, Murray, Jason and Geoff .

Forecast: Northerly 15 knots, rising to 20 knots late morning easing to 15 knots late evening. HW 1415 hrs.

Early start today. We cast off from Chaffers at 9 am with the No. 2 Jib and one reef in the main. The northerly was averaging around 18 kts and noticed one gust up to 28 kts. Did a few practise tacks in the harbour and poled out the Jib on the way down the bay. We arrived at the Evans Bay club area which was chock-a-block with boats being rigged up and people milling around.

Murray attended the race briefing before joining us. The course was announced as Start – 1 -2 -3 -4 – Lap Line – all to starboard.

We got away with a good start in the middle of the main bunch but as we close hauled our way up the bay we found that we were getting knocked on both port and starboard tacks. By the time we made the first mark we were at the back of the fleet behind most of the keelboats, trailer yachts and paper tigers.

The conditions were pretty tough. Choppy seas and wind 15-25 kts. During a port tack there was suddenly a loud bang and we found that the port side jib car had busted. Bugger. The Jib was now way out of trim. We tried with limited success to use the spinnaker tweaker to lower the jib sheet.

The other problem was that the sheet wasn’t aligned properly with the winch and got crossed over on the next tack. When tacking back to starboard the sheet was totally jammed on the winch. To avoid being blown onto the rocks we quickly cut the sheet with the emergency knife. Amazing that I only had to touch the blade to the rope for it to slice in half. We got a spare jib sheet out of the lazarette and rigged that up.

Alex Paterson was out on the harbour again getting some great shots of the action.

For the downwind runs Murray took over the helm and we decided to fly the second headsail (No. 1 HW) poled out on the starboard side. The twin head sails system worked really well giving us almost hull speed while keeping the boat relatively stable in the gusty conditions.

We noted that our Windex had blown off the top of the mast during the race.

Halo completed three laps within the 3 hour time window. A challenging race but we had a blast!

After the race we motored in to the Evans Bay Marina Pier 2 to park the boat overnight in a berth that had been kindly lent to us by Matt Taylor (Usurper crew). 

Day 3 – Sunday 26 June

Crew: Murray, Nina and Peter, Anastasia, Grant and Geoff 

Forecast: Northerly 15 knots, easing to 10 knots this morning. HW 1505 hrs

Today looking to be a much more pleasant day for sailing with a nice harbour course announced: Start – No. 5 Somes – No. 4 Ngauranga – Finish with on-the-water start line from Pania and finish line from Seahorse.

Overnight Geoff did a small repair to the jib car in the hope that it would hold in today’s easier conditions.

Bill from Tamerlane also very kindly lent me a spare which he had on his boat. While attempting to fit it on I inadvertently sent it shooting overboard to disappear into a watery grave of Davey Jones Locker! Oh shit. I’ll make it up to Bill later.

We cast off from the Evans Bay berth at 0926 hrs with Murray on mainsheet, Anastasia and Grant on sail trim, Nina on keys, Geoff on bow and Peter on helm. We hoisted the No. 1 Genoa HW and full main.

The start line was set just off Shelly Bay. They flew the AP flag from Pania again and yes, this was our race that was delayed while they re-positioned the pin to allow for the change in wind direction.

We managed the start sequence better this time and got away in the middle of the bunch on a starboard tack before tacking away to point up the harbour towards Somes Island.

We had to do some more adjustments to the car position to get the all telltales flying flat on the Genoa. We enjoyed a nice duel with Sea Beagle only just beating them to the Somes mark.

On the reach across to Korokoro we couldn’t help noticing Sea Beagle was sailing considerably faster than us (as they passed us) until we realised that our jib car needed to be adjusted back by three notches to get all four sets of woollies all flying flat again.

Rounded the Korokoro mark and hoisted the kite.

A great finish to a day’s sailing and a wonderful long weekend’s regatta! Well done team Halo!

Here’s the RaceQs replay: http://raceQs.com/event/1417147

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