What a classic!

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This year’s Cook Strait Classic race had a bit of everything for the intrepid few that lined up on a grey Saturday morning. A frisky forecast of 30kts gusting 40kts, and rough sea in the Strait, promised plenty and delivered on so much more.

I was crewing on the Shaw12 ‘Blink’, with a combined team of nine. The big debate on the dock was how wet the race would actually be (turned out it was quite wet!)

We started on time at 0930 with a reef in the main and the #2, and reached off to Point Halswell, which then saw a call for the A6 to be hoisted and we quickly accelerated out of the harbour with the building northerly.

A good gybe and then a tidy drop at moaning minnie saw us settle in for a short reach to Sinclair Head where the tidal rip was just warming up, time for another tuck in the main. From there we were pretty much on the wind through the Karori Rip and into a building breeze which peaked at a steady 40kts in the middle of the Strait.

A little later on out came the chewy jet planes to remove some of the saltwater taste in our mouths, and then with an easing breeze, a tack (or two) to get through the entrance to Tory Channel, down to the finish line – and the race was done. Our finish time was 13:10:54, not quite a new record, but a great race all the same.

We had decided not to stay overnight, so picked up a mooring in the very pleasant Ngaruru Bay for a spot of lunch while we waited for the tide to change. A beautiful location with barely a puff of breeze as we chatted about the race and how enjoyable it all now seemed.

With lunch over we sailed back up Tory Channel, and spotted a small pod of Killer whales, who at one stage swam right up to the stern of ‘Blink’, really, really impressive and one of those special moments that only a yachtie gets to see.

We opted for a conservative sail set for the ride home, three tucks in the main and #4, which turned out to be a good call as the Wind factory was truly living up to its name. We were back at Chaffers around 7pm, full of smiles after a great day on the water.

Thanks to Tony and Vesna Wells for another great race on ‘Blink’, our fellow competitors on ‘Gucci’, and the yacht club for running the race.

Next year let’s get a few more on the start line.

From the Blink crew and wordsmith Mark Gordon

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