A couple of days out from the Cook Strait Classic it was looking like a drifter, but we weren’t that concerned as we only had five crew available. A day out and the drifter was changing to something more promising so a couple more crew would be rather helpful, and we were pleased to rope in Vicki and Stephen from Incantare. It happened to be their first wedding anniversary and we thought we should set the bar fairly high for experiences. Stephen also had the same idea and arranged some beautiful dolphins for Vicki at the start line.
head of the start we ummed and ahhed about flying the fractional zero or the #2 jib but poking our nose into Evans Bay to find the wind quite forward from the SE settled the argument – the #2-that-reefs-to-a-3 was the go. We got a decent start below the fleet and got our nose ahead to lead the fleet to Kau Bay, which normally ends up as Blink’s parking lot. This time there was good breeze and we kept the lead on our arch rivals, Wedgetail, and Satellite Spy from Waikawa.
The breeze settled in to around 18-23 and the boats split at Point Howard. We wondered about covering Wedgetail but had a good lift so worked across to the Eastbourne side of the harbour and tacked our way up to Moaning Minnie. The wind was gusting around 28 knots and there was some chatter about reefing but we dismissed the idea as it wasn’t far to Minnie where we expected to ease off to a nice reach across the south coast. Wedgetail made a gain by going in to Scorching Bay but it wasn’t enough and we led at the mark.
Cracking off at Moaning Minnie the obligatory check was made for any chance of flying the fractional zero to Sinclair but, as is always the case, it was too shy so we two-sailed it. The helmsman, trimmers, and foredeck staff were getting twitchy so we prepared the 200m² A2 gennaker for the big yee-ha that would follow.
We launched the A2 at Thom’s Rock and it did not disappoint – a boisterous wind gusting to 30+ kept us busy and consistently doing over 15 knots, with a top speed of 19.6, which let us put some ground on Wedgetail and Satellite Spy. A couple of small lie-downs and skids indicated the the wind and waves were on the up, and the race record looked like a possibility.
The happy couple trimmed their seal-skin socks off and got to know the Blink day spa experience. Vicki, not to be outdone by Stephen’s start line dolphins, had arranged a graceful albatross or two.
A couple of miles out from Tory the big red kite was getting to be a handful and we pinged it for the fractional zero – setting up for the drop was the cue for Huey to send send a puff and we had a little lie down. This is where Wedgetail made a significant gain and we could see big white Bertha approaching fairly swiftly. Tory was typically fickle and unpredictable, and we had to get rid of the fro and tack/gybe/furl our way to the finish line where we arrived about 22 minutes ahead of the record set by Wedgetail a couple of years ago. Wedgetail came in about 8 minutes later, also beating their record.
We popped some bubbles to celebrate a great win and romantic anniversary getaway. A wonderful day out, with great crew and a top way to finish off a year of sailing on Blink.
The next race is the Wellington to Nelson Race starting on Friday 22nd January – the forecast is sunny and mostly following breeze all the way to Nelson.
Matty P – good luck for the Hobart. We’ll be watching. We’ve run the weather for you and guess what…it’s all downhill in sunshine.