In light air, and with a downhill start, 6 boats jostled for position and a clean start off EBMYC on their way to the Brother’s and back. The big black sails got away first; Blink, Bullistic, and Code Breaker all under Gennaker, and slipped ahead from Gucci, with Am Meer bringing up the rear. It was a minefield at the bottom of the bay with converging pressure creating holes all over Kau Bay, unfortunately Gucci placed the wrong bet, opting to head wide into Northerly pressure only to get stuck, whilst the rest of the fleet navigated the corner and slipped further ahead. The shifty conditions were made even more challenging by an incoming tide.
Once round the corner and into Scorching Bay the pressure settled in from the South and the hunt was on. Gucci made some good gains on Am Meer out to Moaning Minnie, opting to tuck into the shore and stay out of the tide for as long as possible. By this point the Black Sails were off like a robbers dog and storming off under cracked sheets. Gucci tried out a new reaching block setup for the first time, getting an extra 1.5kts out of the #1 heady and chomping into Am Meer towards the Rip.
The Rip was kind to the fleet, sloppy as usual however the crashing and banging was limited and soon all boats were able to bear away and get the kite’s back up and working. The big boats were soon a dot on the coast of the South Island working their way down to the Brother’s under 15-20kts of South-Easterly. Gucci popped the kite driving deep and holding onto Am Meer through the main part of the crossing. With the following sea building, Gucci hotted it up and by the time both boats reached the Brother’s Am Meer was in passing distance.
Once round Gucci was able to harden up inside Am Meer and move ahead as both boats rounded the Islands. Sometimes it pays to be the slower boat as a 15 degree shift made it possible to point to Terawhiti, unlike the 3 leading boats that had to head towards Makara/Porirua to make the crossing. By the time we reached the Nth Island coast again, Gucci had gained the tide advantage and stretched ahead of Am Meer. By hugging the coast and some tidy tacks by the crew Gucci took full advantage of the tide and got round the Karori Light for the final stretch back into the harbour.
It was nervous times coming back into Wellington with Kites back up but not much air. Luckily it held on and the crew was ready for a quick hoist coming round Kau and across Evan’s Bay. With the reaching block back on it was a quick trip past Halswell and across the finish line. The numbers were being crunched almost immediately to work out where we landed.
With a 1st on PHRF and a 2nd on Club by 4 mins, the Gucci crew had a glamour day – with a little luck, to show the old girl still has legs and can keep the fleet honest.
Cheers from Skippy