Two Man Round North Island Race starts Monday, Karma Police shines

Karma Police (foreground) and Akatea to leeward - SSANZ Round North Island Race 2011
Jodie Bakewell-White
All yachts have now finished the third leg into Napier. The start of the fourth leg has been delayed and will now go at 1000hrs on 7 March

06 Mar 2011

Until recently coastal or offshore races were often described as a 'Big Boat' or 'Small boat' race depending on the weather conditions...

Valium carving through in the Round North Island Race
. ..
Not anymore. With Karma Police (a 30 footer) finishing just over 40 minutes behind Akatea (Cookson 50) and ahead of M1 (Ross 45) those past descriptions are no longer valid. The new term would have to be that Leg 3 was a 'FAST Boat' race.

Other than Karma Police's standout performance to win on PHRF overall by hours the other standout was Valium. Valium used their fractional gennaker to great effect blasting across Palister Bay and up the coast for a way to gap the rest of the fleet. Sailing most of the leg a lonely 4th the gap they opened up under gennaker put them into better weather to keep extending to be over 25 miles ahead of their normally close rivals.

The Leaders reached up the coast towards Cape Kidnappers where as further back in the fleet the wind went really light and often on the nose (again !) For crew's stories it seemed those that hugged the shore performed the best. Akatea took this a little to far by nudging some rocks off Cape Kidnappers.

The closest finish was between Caro Vita and Midnight Express. With only 17 seconds between them after match racing across Hawkes Bay.

This edition of the RNI is quite possibly the toughest yet. On the winetrail one of the wines sampled was described as 'Promising on the nose, but delivers on the...' This could equally well describe most of the race to date !

03 Mar 2011

The leading yachts have arrived in Napier to complete the third leg of the SSANZ Round the North Island two-handed race, taking less than 24 hours to cover the 205 nautical miles. The original 37 boat fleet is now down to 19 competitors, of whom 13 are still at sea, according to the latest schedule. The final leg is set down to start tomorrow, Sunday.

Cookson 50 Akatea, which has been first on line each of the three legs so far, was first to Napier, finishing just after 3pm, but just 43 minutes behind her was the Shaw 9 Karma Police, a boat 20 feet shorter and sailing in the next division down. Karma Police, which was also second on the first leg, from Auckland to Mangonui, and fourth in to Wellington, reveled in the tight reaching conditions up the Wairarapa coast, and looks likely to win the leg on PHRF handicap also.

Third over the line was Ross 45 M1, another larger boat, which finished at 5.23pm. M1 and Karma Police had been neck and neck at Cape Palliser, but M1 then blew out her code zero reaching sail.

Karma Police skipper and designer Rob Shaw said he and crew Ben Costello started with two reefs in the mainsail and the number three jib, ?and that was too much? in the 35 knot northerly leaving Wellington Harbour. Overnight they enjoyed tight reaching conditions under code zero and fractional gennaker in 15-20 knot southwesterlies to blast them up the coast towards Napier. It was only at Cape Kidnappers where the breeze became light, but then a sea breeze kicked in to carry them in to the finish off the Port of Napier.

Expected to be next to finish, in light conditions, is Vickers 10.6 Valium, which has a jump of around 25 miles on the next boat in the fleet. Valium also had an excellent second leg, finishing seventh on line and first in division three, after what skipper Gary Kirkland-Smith called ?the worst sail I have ever had?.

Just 21 boats from the original 38-boat fleet started the third leg from Wellington yesterday afternoon at 4.45pm, after many boats were damaged and crews exhausted on the second leg, in headwinds of up to 40 knots. Two further boats, Clear Vision and Caper, also withdrew at the start in Wellington, as the yachts struggled to leave the Chaffers Marina in wind gusts of up to 50 knots.

Behind Valium, the fleet is spread out along the Wairarapa coast from Blackhead Point to Castlepoint. The boats will have a minimum 48-hour stopover in Napier before a mass restart of the last leg, from Napier back to Auckland, probably on Sunday.

For the latest update http://www.ssanz.co.nz/news.html?id=283!click_here


02 Mar 2011

Organisers of the SSANZ Round the North Island two-handed yacht race are waiting out the storm which is currently lashing Wellington, aiming to start the third leg of the race this afternoon at 3pm. The next leg is 205 miles around Cape Palliser and Cape Kidnappers to Napier.

Race organisers have been told the gale-force winds Wellington is currently experiencing are due to peak around midday, as a trough crosses central New Zealand, then subside enough to get the 21-boat fleet away in a 25 knot northwesterly. There is then a narrow weather window of high pressure and southwesterlies which will hopefully get the boats to Napier before strong winds return to the Castlepoint sea area.

The majority of the fleet has spent three days in Wellington recovering from the second leg, on which the boats experienced headwinds of up to 40 knots all the way down the west coast. Two yachts were dismasted, several others had keel problems, and one sailor was injured and taken to hospital at New Plymouth. The last yacht to finish, 40 foot Mummery design Caper, withdrew at the entrance to Wellington Harbour on Monday when the crew decided they had had enough of going upwind.

02 Mar 2011

The Round North Island Race Fleet has finally got away and started Leg 3 to Napier. The start was postponed again due to difficulties in getting the boats off their Marina berths due to very strong gusts of wind. The Start time was eventually 16:46. Clear Vision originally went out but returned after deciding the conditions were too strong. Physical Favours could not get off the marina so waited an hour for the wind to moderate before setting off to chase the fleet.

M1 was first to cross the start line followed by Akatea and Karma Police. Pepe was the only boat to set a spinnaker on rounding the corner to exit Wellington Harbour.