It was a 9.30am start at the Gucci boat shed for a quick catch up with the crew (The Gucci boys and Debs) and load the boat. And then we are off, We drop the mooring buoy with the knowledge it’s going to be a long race and hoping the wind stays in. Motoring around to the start line we see the first of our competition Blink fully revamped heading up to the start. We round the White Lady and see for the first time the wind pressure is 15- 20 knots as we line up for the start. The others players arrive – Laissez Faire, Rascal Racing and The Guarantee.
The start box count down begins, but somehow we have lost a minute and are on the start line out of sequence. There is an issue on the foredeck (no one is yelling), we wait for the tangle to be sorted, then up goes the kite, It’s a downwind start – Blink is off in a flash then The Guarantee followed and Rascal Racing chasing closely on the inside of us and to our starboard is Laissez Faire running down wind with a big blue kite. We all have a brief park up on Point Halswell. The field starts to separate heading into the southerly, the water is flat and the wind has a chill factor as we stay on the starboard side out of the incoming tide.
We head up to Seatoun around Steeple Rock to starboard as the Blue Bridge Ferry is coming in. The fleet then heads up to Moaning Minnie while Blink is powering down to Sinclair Head and now it’s a procession to the Rip. The wind begins to drop and a quick sail change from our trusty Number 2 sail to the Number 1 goes smoothly along the coast. As we head in it gets a little bumpy at Sinclair Heads and then on past Karori Rock and now the wind is getting light, “Weight down everyone”…. we all have a role to play in light wind!
All the other yachts have popped their kites and up goes the ours … we stay high and run down to the Brothers. We see Blink has dropped their headsail and begun motoring back and about 30 minutes later Laissez Faire withdraws as well. It’s always sad to see boats withdraw and not to complete a race. So now the fleet is three 35 footer’s racing to the Brothers.
Cam’s is on the spin sheet working it. Mike and Brent share the helm and the rest of the crew have a wee break and lay in the sun, as it is hot when we reach the Bothers at 5.15 pm. We can see the black sails of The Guarantee in the distance with Rascal Racing following close – they both are pushing it hard. The crew on The Guarantee are three, while Rascal Racing are fully crewed. It looks to be very close from where we are but they are around 4-5 nm ahead of us and as they sail to the windmills we work hard, keeping our weight down.
In the course of the race we see dolphins heading out of the harbour, a couple of sea birds and one small shark as we head down to Terawhiti Heads. The water is flat and then the tide begins to run and the swell picks up as the Cable Patrol Boat steams passed us at a distance, keeping an eye on would be offenders that might damage the Power Cables. The leaders disappear into the darkness and we keep on racing. It’s cold but at least it’s not raining as we slowly pass Island Bay and we think we can see some nav lights in close but are not sure – the Race Tracker shows they are there.
We choose to stay wide due to the light breeze and as we line up the entrance into Wellington the wind starts clocking northeast and begins to fills in to around 9 knots. We were all dreading the tide changing and not making it into Wellington Harbour, as it is now a final run up to the channel which requires four tacks, and then a sail pass Kau Bay. In the distance we see the finish line – “Weight down” calls Debs and yes out of the darkness we see Rascal Racing to port and The Guarantee to starboard having finished the race.
We had no idea we were that close to the leaders at the end of a long 13 hours plus, well sailed race. To our partners thank you for our freedom to do the thing we all love. A big thanks to all the competitors and to RPNYC for running them.