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Coastal Classic 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weather predictions during the week were for strong, gale-force north-westerlies, swinging to the west up the coast and either on the wind or tight reaching all the way.  Though the winds were never much above 20 knots, it was pretty well as predicted with lumpy seas from Cape Rodney north until entering the Bay at Cape Brett.  With Jim Delegat’s new acquisition, GIACOMO (the Volvo 70 foot round-the-world winner GROUPAMA with a full professional crew) and a fleet of 4 52’s (GEORGIA, V-5, WIRED and KIA KAHA) plus AKATEA (Cookson 50) and EQUILIBRIUM (Botin and Carkeek 55), the monohull racing was predicted to be close after the Volvo 70.  And so it proved to be.

GEORGIA got a good start but so too did the other 3 52s, all of them to windward.  After rounding North Head, GEORGIA was 4th 52 and she followed the other 3 up to past Kawau.  From that point on, she gradually reeled them in and finally got to the front.  A favourable lift and wind change that changed the angle of the breeze and enabled her to get her canting keel working  got V5 back into the race further up the coast and she ended up close on GEORGIA’s transom and threatening to pass in what was then about 22 knots of wind.

GEORGIA was able to keep her at bay however and eventually V5 dived down to leeward and, as the wind freed up, put up her masthead Code Zero which had been a winner for her in the past.  GEORGIA countered with her fractional Code Zero which proved to be more than a match and she gradually pulled away again with a comfortable lead at Cape Brett not long after dark.   V5 however did a good job in getting through the gap at Cape Brett and when both boats ended up on the wind was close behind.  With the wind slowly dying, GEORGIA took no risks and covered V5 all through the Bay, eventually finishing 2nd monohull after the 70 footer at 10.54 p.m., approximately 4 or 5 minutes ahead of V5.  WIRED and KIA KAHA were down the track.  Meanwhile the Volvo boat was on its way back from Auckland to complete the round trip of 250 miles, which is the qualifying distance for the Sydney-Hobart.

The GEORGIA crew included regulars GEORGE HENDY, KERYN McMASTER, JIM FARMER, CHRIS FUNNELL, TOM KEARNEY, TOM PEET, TOMO TERAKAWA, ANDREW COOKE, DAVE McLASHAN, ROSS McKEE, and newcomer MIKE GIBSON.  On board also were a bunch of outstanding young sailors who have been participating in the World Match Racing Circuit.  Will Tiller and his crew were doing a delivery to Australia to raise money but he arranged for us BRAD FARRAND, MATT STEVEN, CHRIS STEELE and DANIEL POOLEY.  These guys were absolutely terrific in the work they put in and in their determination to keep V5 from passing us at a time when the conditions really favoured the canting keel boat.

KIA KAHA took a video camera with them and there is a short clip on the Coastal Classic website which records us overhauling them.  See http://www.coastalclassic.co.nz/.   And see Richard Gladwell’s photo of GEORGIA soon after the start : http://www.sail-world.com/NZ/Coastal-Classic:-Images-from-the-start---3/116051.

A special word of thanks to JACKIE HENDY, SABRA DAVIES (both of whom elected not to race this year) and SUSIE FUNNELL who turned up at the Opua Marina as the boat docked with beers, toasted sandwich makers and all the ingredients for toasted sandwiches and fried chicken.  This was greatly appreciated by a tired crew.

Next for Georgia Racing – the 4 day Targa Motor Rally starting this Thursday 31 October with JIM FARMER and RHONDA McCREA.  Daily of each day the following morning on the web site.