Karewa race 3, 6th March 2016

Karewa race 3, held 6th March 2016

by Tom Wheeler

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Six yachts and their crews converged on the start line off the Pilot Bay wharf at 1 pm on a fine warm day.  A light 10 knot westerly breeze had just settled in, saving the participants from what would be have a demanding crawl through the harbour entrance against the incoming tide.  The early stages of the race featured a short upwind beat before negotiating the shifty winds within the entrance itself.  It was not long before Not Negotiable had distanced herself from the rest of the field, with Persuader following suit behind her.  Candidus got her nose in front of Force 10 and eventually pulled away, but Santana mounted a strong challenge on Force 10 on the northbound leg towards Karewa, rounding the island ahead.  However, Force 10 clawed her way back in front on the southbound return leg, thanks to her genniker, a sail that her crew rarely deploy but proving effective with the wind just forward of the beam.  Ghia, despite trailing the field, had the bonus of viewing a pod of dolphins, being the envy of some of the crew on the other yachts.  Overall, it was a great afternoon’s racing in ideal conditions.   

Winter Open series 2015, season summary

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Winter Open series 2015 – Season summary

By Tom Wheeler

The ten races, spanning from May to September, produced some exciting racing in a wide range of conditions – the light air days at times had boats moving backwards with the tide, with anchors ready to be deployed, while the windy days had some boats over on their ears and their crews struggling to control spinnakers or shortening sail.  The Mark Foy system of staggered start-times, a feature of the series, reduced pre-start stress for skippers and crews, leaving them only to stay out of the sandbanks and stay on board their vessels for the duration of the race.  The races encompassed a variety of courses, with the western arm of the harbour being much frequented, but also taking in a couple of visits to A beacon or Karewa.  Many thanks should go to the starters for setting some interesting courses.  Almost all the participating boats had podium finishes at some point during the series and the final overall placings were contested right up until the final race, which attests to the accuracy of the handicapping.  The overall Division A winner was Not Negotiable, with Rocky and Persuader taking second and third place.  The overall winner of B division was Candidus, followed by the combination of Invincible and Force 10 (the crew swapped boats mid-season) and Nelani taking third place.

 

Winter series 2015, Race 10

Winter Series Open Race 10, 13th September, 2015 – Season finale

By Tom Wheeler

 

The final race of the winter series produced a good turnout of yachts and some of the season’s best racing in fine weather and pleasantly warm sailing conditions. The 20-25 knot southwesterly wind prevailing as the boats crossed the start line opposite the Pilot Bay wharf had the skippers thinking hard as to the appropriate amount of sail to carry. However, by the time the contestants closed in on the first of the turning marks in the western arm of the harbour, the wind had eased substantially, necessitating some crews re-thinking their choice of sails. It was a busy day for foredeck crew as spinnakers were hauled up and set several times, with the kites getting an airing during two downwind runs in the western arm as well as the final leg, returning down the main channel from the Bridge marina. The fleet was visited by a pod of dolphins near Panepane point, a rare occurrence within the harbour. The A division early leader, Persuader, looked good at the head of the fleet, until gear failure necessitated her withdrawal. The faster, later-starting boats, Not Negotiable, Rocky, and Wizzard gradually hauled in another of the pacemakers, Jetstream, to take the first three places. In B division, Candidus was dominant, leading from start to finish. However, late in the race they were threatened by a fast-charging Ghia who closed in on them in the last 200 meters, followed by Force 10, who took out third place. Overall, the winter series featured some close and exciting racing in a wide range of conditions. The series makes for an excellent entry into keelboat racing – The Mark Foy starts minimise the stress of pre-start manoeuvring, and the competitive spirit is also tempered with courtesy. The focus now switches to the upcoming Legends Regatta, featuring a unique mix of racing, cruising and socialising on and around Great Mercury Island. The winter series was supported by the following sponsors; Mount Liquor Mart, Mills Reef winery, Burnsco Marine, and Bakeshack.

Winter series 2015, Race 9

Winter Series Open Race 9, 30th August, 2015 – Another Karewa classic

By Tom Wheeler

 

A total of nine yachts took their usual turns crossing the starting line according to their handicaps in fine and mild conditions with a moderate 10 knot westerly breeze. This was a welcome improvement from the rain and no wind situation prevailing earlier in the morning. On this occasion the course took the fleet to A Beacon then Karewa Island, 5 nautical miles north of the Mount, before returning to finish off the Pilot Bay wharf. It turned out to be a more tactical race than expected, due to a wind shadow through the harbour entrance, which had the participants ghosting along in various directions before catching the breeze again. Once past A Beacon, the breeze made for ideal sailing under eased sheets, with plenty of time to enjoy the lunch which was kindly provided to all the crews by Bake Shack. All seemed to be routine until the leaders encountered an area of no wind part-way to Karewa. Tacticians were put to the test as the competitors chose to pass the no-wind zone either to the inshore or offshore side. Some, perhaps having multiple tacticians, chose a compromise path right through the middle. In B division, Nelani and Gillian profited the most from the situation by staying well inshore, leaving the A division boats in their wake. As a result, the racing was still close quarters as the leaders rounded Karewa in the revitalised breeze, some finding to their cost that the wind angle on the return leg was too shy for spinnakers. Not Negotiable recovered well from their near-becalming and were hot on the heels of Gillian, eventually taking the overall lead approaching A Beacon to cross the finish line first and take A division honours, followed in their division by Rocky and Jetstream. In B Division, Gillian had an outstanding race and was the runaway winner, followed by Force 10 and Ghia. Overall, the race featured some close quarters duals that tested the crews, making for a classic day’s racing.

Winter Series 2015 Open Race 8

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Winter Series Open Race 8, 16th August, 2015 – The wind that wasn’t

By Tom Wheeler

 

Fine spring-like weather saw another good turnout of yachts, heading out along the main channel and through the harbour entrance in stately procession, ghosting along in the very gentle southwesterly breeze. The predicted building wind was anxiously awaited by skippers and crew as they anticipated the return downwind leg from A beacon and through the harbour entrance against the outgoing tide. With the promised wind not yet eventuating, the passage through the entrance and onwards into the western arm became a tactical minefield as each boat sought to chase the occasional light puffs of wind on offer. Jetstream made the most of her early start time, and led the fleet from start to finish, having never completely lost the wind at any point in the race. She was followed over the finish line by Rocky and Not Negotiable – both boats doing well despite running aground in their effort to avoid the tidal stream. The B division race proved a happy hunting ground for Force 10, who despite her late starting time made her way steadily through the fleet, benefiting from some unusual but successful tactical decisions. The stage was set for an intense close quarters duel for the lead with Nelani in the shallows leading up to Banks buoy, with Force 10 prevailing to claim first place of the shortened race ahead of Nelani, who were followed by Candidus in the dying wind. The promised 20 knot southwesterly breeze never eventuated, and the remaining yachts finished the afternoon becalmed at various points along the race course. Nevertheless, the day’s events was the subject of much animated discussion and story-swapping at the after-match prize-giving at the MOSC, attesting to the exciting nature of the racing.

Winter Series 2015 Open Race 7

Winter Series Open Race 7, 2nd August, 2015 – A sail of two halves

By Tom Wheeler

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The sunshine and a very light wind were a pleasant change for the crews of the ten yachts participating in the seventh outing of the Winter Series. Unusually, the prestart manoeuvring featured the rattle of anchors being readied and deployed as all the boats battled to make headway over the start line off the Pilot bay wharf and up the main channel against the outgoing tide. Their spinnakers, once hoisted, made for a colourful sight, but the crews had to work hard to keep them filled. These conditions put paid to the Mark Foy handicaps, as the gaps between the boats quickly disappeared and progress was marked by wise choices or lucky breaks in harnessing the fickle zephyrs coming from a wide range of directions. Inevitably, the lighter and more powerfully rigged vessels stretched away from the more cruising orientated yachts. The leaders had rounded the first mark were well on their way downstream again heading towards the Mount before some of the tail-runners were halfway up the first leg. And so the race seemed set to be a classic drifter – but the weather gods had other ideas, as a 10 to 15 knot westerly abruptly filled in during the third leg, as the boats headed back up the main channel. The complexion of the B division race changed dramatically as Gillian and Force 10 made steady inroads into the race leader and eventual winner, Déjà vu, before Force 10 overtook Gillian on the penultimate leg to claim second place, leaving Gillian a close third. The finish of the A division race was similarly exciting, with Not Negotiable and Rocky engaged in a close quarters battle for first and second, with the former holding out for the win, and the ever-competitive Jetstream taking out third place. Overall, it was a very pleasant and eventful day’s racing, with an equally pleasant catch-up at the clubrooms afterwards. For the first time this featured a draw for all crew present with the lucky winner taking away a Burnsco gift voucher.

Winter series 2015 Open Race 6

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Winter Series Open Race 6, 19th July, 2015 – Every Cat has its day

By Tom Wheeler

 

The sixth outing of the winter series proved to be another to test the mettle of both the skippers and crews of the nine yachts that braved a gusty 20-25 knot south-westerly wind for valuable points in what is turning out to be a closely fought winter series. The smooth and fast sailing during the first leg downwind to A beacon turned out to be the calm before the storm, as a succession of boats were buffeted by tremendous bullets of wind pressure nearing Matakana Island. The gusts, estimated to be 30-35 knots, made for some spectacular round-ups, which had some boats completely laid over, while their crews grimly hung on. As the afternoon wore on, the gusts only increased in strength during the difficult beat up the western arm of the harbour against the outgoing tide. Wizzard excelled in the conditions- From her position as last starter, she relentlessly carved her way through the fleet, to lead the A division boats across the line, followed by Not Negotiable and Persuader, who took out second and third places for A division. Nelani also had a very fast race and her position at the head of the B division fleet was never seriously challenged. Candidus took second place in B division after holding off a strongly finishing Ghia, who secured third place. However kudus should also go to all the participants for their excellent seamanship and courtesy to fellow participants under testing conditions.

Photos – 2015 Winter Series Race 4

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Winter Series Open Race 4

Race report, Open Race 4, 21st June, 2015 – A tale of two races

by Tom Wheeler

A good number of boats fronted up for the fourth competitive outing of the winter season, with both A and B division being well represented.  The 15-20 westerly wind and fine but cool weather made for some great racing. The usual Mark Foy start saw a steady stream of yachts hard on the wind, headed for the harbour entrance.  From there, the fleet split, with B division heading up the western arm of the harbour, while A division headed out to Karewa.  This caused some initial confusion among some of the crews, perhaps too used to following the leader.  A tight tussle ensued among the leaders of B division, with little more than 100 metres separating Ghia, Invincible and Candidus for the most of the race. Ghia prospered in the conditions, but was barely in control at times, showing off her bottom during a couple of spectacular round-ups, one of them almost taking out a closely following Invincible.  Ultimately, Ghia held out for well-deserved B division win and line honours, followed by Invincible and Candidus.  The A division race was something of a yacht procession, with the course dominated by reaching.  The wind reached 25 knots at times, which made for some impressive boat speeds. Wizzard was untouchable in these conditions, gradually mowing down the fleet to be the first to the finish line, followed by Formula One and Persuader. Overall, the day provided some great sailing and close racing, with plenty of stories to tell in the clubroom at the end of the day.

 

 

Winter Series Race Open Race 3

Race report – Open race 3, 7th June, 2015 –Canny sailors dominate in tricky conditions

 

A fine day with a 10 to 15 know westerly breeze saw a good turnout of boats.  The usual Mark Foy start, designed to avoid crowding and stress at the start line, resulted in some close-quarter racing, but soon there was a steady stream of yachts of all shapes and sizes making their way out of the harbour entrance and downwind to A Beacon, with some electing to fly their spinnakers.  Invincible made good gains coming back through the harbour entrance by staying close to the Mount, and almost caught the race leaders, Candidus, Déjà vu, Persuader and Nelani  on the way up the western arm of the harbour in the dying breeze.  But it was not to be Invincible’s day, as the leaders caught a puff of wind and were away, leaving the rest of the fleet making no headway against the tide.   Formula One was most impressive, with her big rig powering her majestically up the harbour seemingly oblivious to the tide. Rocky demonstrated much skill and tenacity in working up the left of the Western channel, and was rewarded by being second in A division behind Formula One, with Jetstream finishing in third place.  Candidus took the B division honours, sailing a very tidy and smart race, closely followed by Déjà vu and Nelani.  Overall, a very enjoyable day on the water, with skill and tactics having a big influence on the outcome.

 

 

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