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Coastal Classic 2007 - Onwards

Friday Oct. 19, me and 4 other brave souls set out from Auckland for Russell in the Bay of Islands.

This photo was taken by the media just leaving Auckland. Our yacht is the one on the right

First the facts and figures, the distance is approx 120 nautical miles and can take anything up to 30 hours depending on the wind, 240 boats set out of which 206 finished, the first in 10 hours ( a multi hull boat) and the longest 26 hours. One multihull flipped over, its crew rescued but the boat still had not been found by Tues. One yacht lost it's mast, and one sailor got hypothermia after falling over board.

If this is your first run as skipper, ask for tips from those who know, not like our skipper, most boats choose a landward course or far out to sea, not the shortest route. If you get to Russell and there is no wind tack to the port side of the entrance, not like us stuck out on the right side going backwards

The Journey

The wind gods were kind and were pushing us to Russell at speed, with spinnakers up. With the wind behind us and the sun out, the day sailing was almost pleasant, but the night temperature dropped to about 6 degrees, and the waves seemed very high by moonlight, especially when taking a short cut between two large pieces of rock.

The gap may look large, but at night with high wind and waves, they look quite close together

This is Russell Bay, we arrived about 4:00 a.m. and the wind dropped, with the tide exiting, anyway the last 200 metres took 50 mins, some of it in reverse

A scenic view of Russell and a couple of its bays

“What goes up must come down”, in this case the boat had to be brought back. The original plan was that 3 of us would start out on the Monday and take a few days to get back to Auckland. My fellow 2 crew members decided however to start back on the Sunday. I opted to stay the extra day with Terri and meet them on route on the Monday sometime. Anyway by Monday afternoon they had found shelter in Marsden Cove after the weather had turned nasty. Marsden Cove is a new marina looking for customers, the facilities for the boats are superb but for their crew only amount to toilets and showers, with absolutely nothing to do, and that includes the local tiny town. Tuesday morning broke with a positive weather forecast , meaning that with luck we could make the 70 nautical miles to Auckland in about 12 hours. Of we set at 7:00 with a nice side wind, the forecast said it was going to turn behind us and push the boat home. Well the wind picked up and the waves got larger, but all was OK and we were making good speed (speed is relative, we are talking about 8 knots 10 miles per hour), then the wind moved round, but not from the northwest, but the southwest, meaning we were heading on a close reach into the wind, and the waves got higher. At this point, mainly because we wanted to sleep in our own beds we sailed on, the poor old yacht was pounding into the sea and the waves kept dowsing us but on we continued. So at 17:00 hours 2 hours ahead of schedule we made Bucklands Beach and I personally did not wish to see another boat for quite a while.

Marsden Cove Marina

2008 event:

83 yachts out of 229 entrants finished the HSBC Premier Coastal Classic. A high proportion did not start because of the weather forecast. The wind was straight on the nose the sea was rough. Our neighbour and two of his crew were violently sea sick and turned back before halfway. In 2007 we were docked by 4.00 a.m. but this year after 24 hours only 31 boats had finished, another friend and his son took 30 hours, thats not fun.

2009 classic

Weather was kind this year, with the wind blowing from the South west. Still not tempted to go again

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