By Tim Hampton
It was fantastic to see seven boats line up for the 2022 Barton Marine Wellington to Nelson race – including RPNYC boats the Guarantee and Gucci – albeit in very light conditions. Furthermore, the boats could consistently see three or four other boats around them, which made for competitive racing throughout.
The first six hours were really light. Gucci opted to rock hop along the coast, which kept us in touch with the leading boats. Kokomo took a similar path – at one point we saw them tacking out on starboard from well east of Karori light.The breeze eventually came in at Cable Bay, and we popped the masthead spinnaker for what ended up being a 42+nm glorious kite ride in 15-18 knots all the way to Stephens. Even better, the wind clocked around to the north so we gybed with the kite at Stephens for the trip south.
Unfortunately, as you would expect, this didn’t last long and the whole fleet began a 15 hour drift down Tasman Bay. After a few failed attempts to get any decent go forward in the east, Mal made the race defining call to head into the center of the bay even though at times we were increasing our distance to the finish line. Slowly but surely we made our way around the fleet through the morning.Eventually, the sea breeze came in, for a glorious but willing kite ride to the finish. With the prospect of second online, we were all a bit nervous for the final gybe to the finish, which we executed as planned.
Thanks heaps to all the boats, the race officers, Tasman Bay Cruising Club and RPNYC.
We then turned our mind to the regatta. Sunday round the cans was great conditions. Given the lovely conditions, we took out a junior Nelson beginner sailor, who proved critical for our performance. Gucci was able to make the most of the conditions, finishing the day with 3 wins on handicap. We had some great starts courtesy of Mal and Brent, including crossing in front of Revs on the first cross in one of the races.
For the race up to Torrent Bay we couldn’t decide whether to follow our main competition on the right or the locals on the left – so we made the fatal decision to head up the centre. At the finish, the tide rolled out and the sun remained high for a great beach BBQ, catching up with old friends.
Convinced we were out the back door in the Monday race, we thought it all hung on the final race home. We woke to no wind so RO Paul JD had us all motor slowly south until about 9nm out as a lovely sea breeze came i
n for a kite ride to the finish. All a bit of carnage at the end due to a shipping container leaving the harbour stopping all but one boat crossing the finish line for 15 minutes.
As it turned out, we’d done better than we thought the day before, and we were able to hold on to take out the regatta. Very happy crew.
It was great to see current and former RPNYC crew and boats throughout the week, including Agilita, 88% Proof (4 line wins) and Rumbline cruising around.
We are now in Double Cove waiting for the southerly to blow over before returning to Wellington for the Latitude Race.