Chamberlains Bay, Ponui.
The forecast was for a lot of wind on Friday, moderate SW on Saturday, then doing SOMETHING on Sunday. We were all set to go, and had decided to go to Issy Bay on Friday night if possible. We had our food organised, so off we went. The wind had moderated by the time we left, so we had a very nice sail to Issy Bay, arriving just as it was getting dark. Already in the bay were Result and Ocean Rhythm. We had a quiet night and a good sleep.
Race time found us fully bacon-and-egged, and ready to race. Everyone who planned to do the race (and dinner) had made it to the start, except Incentive, as poor Fred and Wendy had caught the flu. Notable among those present were Kittyhawk, who had waited till early morning for the wind to let them sail South from Algies Bay. They had to start REALLY early, so well done to Conway and Jude, it was great to see them out there.
The breeze was quite good for the start, SW at around 12-18 knots or so. Half of the fleet started well down the line towards Emu point, and the other half were closer to Issy Red Buoy. At the Emu point end of the line, Communique was first across the start, then Romany and Ocean Rhythm both close together and at full speed. Close behind these was Mr Roosevelt and then P’zazz just a bit further back but travelling fast on a higher angle. At the pin end, Kittyhawk started best, but was quickly overtaken by Tomodachi who had also started well, with Result just a little behind. Further back was Absolut Leisure who was simply late getting to the line.
It was a wonderful reach to the Southern end of Motuihe, all the yachts looked powerful and were going very well. P’zazz showed great pace to overtake everyone on their leeward line to the corner. Tomodachi was powering along to windward looking like a different boat from the light-wind Tomodachi we have seen before. Mr Roosevelt was also going fast, despite a slightly hung-over team of just Matt and Kath driving the blue boat. Everyone was loving this leg of the course, and waterline was king in these conditions, so Romany was overtaken by Mr Roosevelt, but we in turn were able to get past Communique, and sail away from Ocean Rhythm. Kittyhawk and P’zazz were showing catamaran reaching capabilities, and Result and Absolut Leisure were also making very good speed.
At the turn towards Passage Rock, it was P’zazz out in front, pursued by Mr Roosevelt and Tomodachi, then Romany, Communique, Absolut Leisure, Kittyhawk, Result and Ocean Rhythm. Absolut Leisure was quickly making ground on all the smaller yachts and was soon passing all of the slower boats as we continued on a broad reach towards Passage Rock.
This was an interesting reach, and quite broad, so it was on the cross-over point between pole-out or keep on 2-sail broad reaching as normal. Some boats did a bit of both depending upon wind strength and direction. Communique was one yacht that committed strongly to the pole-out solution, and they sailed a lower line to Passage Rock than most of the other yachts, but it is hard to tell if they made any gains doing this.
At Passage Rock, P’Zazz was doing a disappearing trick on the rest of the fleet. Mr Roosevelt was next and going nicely, then came Absolut Leisure who had worked his way past all the smaller boats by the time he reached Rocky Bay. After Absolut Leisure was Tomodachi, going very nicely and sailing always as quickly as possible. Romany was next, unable to catch Tomodachi in those conditions, then came Communique, and not far behind Communique were Kittyhawk and Result having a fairly close race down the long leg to Passage Rock, with Ocean Rhythm not very far behind.
The leg up to the finish at Chamberlains Bay was basically downwind, most yachts gybing a couple of times to make it through the finish. As can be seen from the results, P’Zazz finished first by a very long way, and then anchored and took times of all the other finishers – good job people.
The corrected results make for interesting reading. P’Zazz finished first by a long way, in conditions that suited her better than beating, but were not perfect monohull-thrashing breeze. Tomodachi and Ocean Rhythm had both just done a hull-clean, and obviously both also had very good races, starting well and sailing well in conditions that were OK for their yachts. Well done to these 3 deserving prize-winners.
After those 3, the rest of the fleet is fairly close together on corrected times, with the higher handicapped boats suffering most. It was a very pleasant sail in lovely sunny weather, and the anchorage at Chamberlains was literally empty when we made our way into the bay, but very flat and calm. All the boats were anchored and finished quite soon, as the yachts had finished quite close together.
The Christmas Dinner on the beach was set for 5:00pm, and we mostly got there a little after that. It was a very happy gathering. Everyone had enjoyed a very pleasant sail, and there was good competition amongst all the boats. It was good to see former club captain Neil Gillard had turned out with brother Grant to help their other brother Paul Gillard and Sue Cooper with the crew work on P’Zazz.
The prize-giving was held after we had sampled a few of the excellent sausages, but before starting the main meal. P’Zazz, Tomodachi and Ocean Rhythm were very happy to receive their rum (this is the first rum Tomodachi have won sailing with RAYC), and the boats who finished 4th to 6th received the excellent Columbus fresh-ground coffee. Thanks to the good people at Orakei Yacht Sales and Columbus Coffee for their generous sponsorship – without them we would not be getting all these nice prizes.
The Christmas dinner was excellent. Everybody had brought along something, and we really did have a lovely meal. Ham, Chicken, hot buttered new potatoes, green salads, coleslaw, couscous salad, bean salad, rolls and butter, fantastic home-made cranberry sauce. For dessert Lyn Halliburton had found some really good strawberries, and with cream and some excellent mince pies our meal was complete. This really is such an easy thing to do, and everyone made just the right quantity of everything, so there was not much left over at the end. A special thanks to Susan Cooper (crew from P’Zazz) who had gone to a lot of trouble to wrap a lot of delightful gifts for everybody at the party. It was a very generous thing to do, and we are very happy with the little gifts we received – one of which includes a Thai cook-book. Thanks again Susan.
The weather turned really cool towards the end of the dinner, and many people were dressed for Summer, so the party broke up fairly early and people got back to their yachts before dark. We had to go to KeriKeri the next day, so we set off and overnighted in Huruhi Bay. The next day the wind was up and from the WSW, so we had it on the nose from Huruhi to Westhaven. We did sail, but it was a bit bumpy and windy, so we started with 1 reef, but ended up with 2 reefs in the main as the wind reached 30 knots for a while. We beat all the way to the ferry terminal before starting the motor – we quite enjoy sailing the boat in these conditions from time to time – we find that Romany really is surprisingly easy to manage when it is windy.
This was the last race in the “Pre-Christmas” series, and I have tried to get the results fully up to date. I must point out that I had earlier made a mistake in thinking that Tomodachi had not towed their dinghy in race 3 (Mark Foy to Onetangi), but I have corrected that now. Please do check over the results, both your positions AND your handicaps, and if you see any errors, please let me know ASAP. These results should be treated as “provisional” until everyone has had a chance to look over them and check that it is all OK.
From the provisional results, it looks like we on Romany have won the pre-Christmas series, with Absolut Leisure 2nd and Communique 3rd. We have had a good turn-out for the racing this season despite some slightly ordinary weather at times. In particular, Absolut Leisure, Communique and Ocean Rhythm have made it to all the races, well done guys.
Christmas looms large on the horizon, so we may see some of you on the Christmas cruising circuit. We intend to go North this year ourselves, and will no doubt bump into some of you here and there. Have a lovely holiday, we look forward to our first race of the next season when we will catch up with everyone to tell tall tales as usual.