The fleet is small, but time on the water for those racing is invaluable as the Auckland Skiff League 18 footers fleet prepare themselves for the upcoming JJ Giltinan Regatta in Sydney.
Honda Marine, Knight Frank, C-Tech and ASCC were all planning on being on the start line for Race 1, however with 20-25 knots on the water with gusts then reaching 27-28, ASCC didn’t get much further than the Orakei breakwall before deciding to head back to the ramp.
That left Honda Marine, Knight Frank and C-Tech to smash it out, and smash they did. With a strong ebb tide the sea state mimicked that of the southern ocean, with strong fronts bashing their way up the harbour. The wind against tide made racing very difficult for the entire day.
Race 1 did get away on time with C-Tech and Knight Frank hitting the line. Honda Marine was late for the start after heading back to shore within 10 minutes of the start. C-Tech led for the duration of the race and eventually crossed the finish line in first, with Knight Frank in second. Although Honda Marine were late for the start, the did catch up to Knight Frank after they had a stressful capsize.
The course was then moved to keep the boats closer to Orakei and out of the rough channel with the sea state getting worse as the conditions built to around 28 knots gusting 32. All boats had their number two rigs in.
A shorter windward leeward course was aimed to keep the fleet closer together but Knight Frank were forced to miss the race as they headed back in to replace their main. It was C-Tech and Honda Marine who battled it out. Honda Marine took the lead early on and held it for the entire race. Knight Frank made their way back to the race course to take on the third and final race of the day.
But just before Race 3, C-Tech experienced a few technical issues and capsized their boat. That was them out of the race, so it was once again a two boat challenge this time between Honda Marine and Knight Frank. Honda Marine took the lead and were looking spectacular on the first downwind. Knight Frank followed, and tried to play it conservative delaying their hoist. Eventually they deployed the shoot but just seconds later they put it in the tide, all but ending their day.
The race committee was signalling a shortened course when Honda Marine rounded the bottom mark, but due to the conditions, the team didn’t see the signal or hear the sounds, and kept racing upwind. By this stage it was peaking out at around 35 knots, and Honda Marine were unable to bear away to head back downwind. The sea state was way too intense, so the crew waited it out on Mission Bay, dropped their main, and sailed back to the clubhouse under headsail alone.
Needless to say, all the sailors were knackered.
Racing for Day 2 was meant to start at 1100 hours, however a collective decision amongst the sailors and race committee means instead race four’s warning signal will sound at 1300 hours, with another three races schedule.