Karewa race 4, 20th March 2016

By Tom Wheeler

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Five yachts assembled at the usual Pilot bay start line after a morning of heavy rain, which thankfully eased before the start.  The weather was fairly pleasant, with a warm 10-20 knot northeasterly wind and cloudy, humid conditions. The course was altered to an inner harbour race so as to avoid the unpleasant choppy sea outside the harbour entrance.  Spinnakers were hoisted shortly after the start. Rocky impressed, surfing the gusts through the rest of the fleet with the help of her powerful genniker.  However, the gybe off Panepane point proved to be a troublesome one for her crew, and Not Negotiable gained a healthy lead.  Nevertheless, Rocky clawed back some ground over the last two legs to make a fair contest for line honours, but in the end Not Negotiable’s dominance was unassailable and she crossed the finish line two minutes in front of Rocky.  The rear end of the fleet also had some tight and exciting racing.  Persuader led Candidus throughout the race, but the contest for fourth place was more intense.  Force 10 trailed the fleet by a fair margin for a lot of the race, due to her decision not to subject her novice crew to the challenge of spinnaker handling.  However, she made serious gains on the return upwind leg, due to some fortuitous lifts around Panepane point and working the shallows in the centre of the harbour.  She led Candidus around Banks buoy, but Candidus soon took the lead again under spinnaker, rounding marker 21 ahead of Force 10.  However, a bad angle around the mark necessitated tacking away again, allowing Force 10 to sneak through on the inside in a bold move to gain the lead again over Candidus. The final upwind leg to the finish was tightly contested, with Force 10 just prevailing by a single second.  Overall it was an exciting afternoon’s racing in fairly pleasant conditions.      

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