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Georgia prepares for Coastal Classic

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

After her delivery back from Australia, the 52 has been restored back to her usually immaculate condition, with new antifoul and topsides polished in time for the Coastal Classic this Friday. Predicted weather is strong winds from the South West - conditions which will favour boats with big downwind sails and, as the race progresses to a reach, the canting keel boats. GEORGIA, still rated for IRC with no big sails, will be disadvantaged against boats like RAN TAN (an Eliot downwind flyer) and Rob Bassett's well performed WIRED.

Painted 52 Oct 2012 Hamilton Island delivery Hamilton Island delivery Hamilton Island Delivery 3

The crew will include three fifths of Will Tiller's successful FULL METAL JACKET match racing team (now placed in the top 10 in the world) as well as see the return for the race of Ricky Royden, who has been taking a "sabbatical" (otherwise known as hard work). Matt van Kretschmar, who led the delivery crew across from his native Australia and who has apparently found a reason for hanging around in New Zealand, will have his first race on GEORGIA in this country. He is being pressured to find time, amidst his extra-curricular activities, to write a report on the trip home. After weathering a storm, they picked up good tail winds, with a top speed hit at 27 knots!

Discussions have been continuing over potential modifications to the boat with a longer prod and bigger down wind sails definitely planned. The jury is still out on the other major possibility - a flat top main - which (despite some performance gain) would compromise some attractive ways in which the boat is presently set up and is able to be sailed.

Major regatta plans for the summer include Bay Week in January, the National IRC Championship in Wellington in February and the Auckland Regatta in March.

The pressure on Matt worked. Here is his report:

OK, extra curricular activities now over, I finally have time to tell you all about our trip from Mackay to "sunny" Auckland.

We left Mackay in a 15 - 20 knot northeaster heading for Brisbane with an A3 and full delivery main. In two and a half days, we were in Moreton Bay (never go there again) - in the middle of the night, dodging ships and sand bars. After 24 hours in Brisbane we cleared Customs and headed east for North Cape. Just a bit early thou - we copped 35-40knots on the nose for 24 hours. Clouds (Roger Badham - Team New Zealand's weather man) was not too happy with us so we headed back to Brisbane and it finally moderated. Georgia and its crew then headed south for Byron Bay where we hooked into an eddy flowing east out of the EAC (East Australian Current). With light airs and a following current, we steamed for Lord Howe Island, fishing lures in tow (no fish).

250 miles west of North Cape the pressure and boat speed built and we were headed for home. The wind built to 45 knots and the boat was hauling. Hit 27 knots. We went from North Cape to Opua in 6 hours (120nm) at an average of 20knots boat speed. By the time we hit the dock at Opua the wind peaked at 56 knots. Not the easiest boat to park in that sort of pressure.

Thanks to George for all his weather forecasting during the trip and Russell and Ben for making it a fun trip. George is not very happy though with the other two crew members who shall remain unnamed for cutting away $400 worth of his lures, for let's say dumb reasons...

I'm writing this as we head back from the Bay of Islands after the Coastal Classic in 23 knots with full main A4.