Doyle Sails continues to crush it down in the deep South, with Stratis-powered boats taking overall line honors, overall handicap, and taking the line in 4 of 6 classes in last month’s NZ Coastal Classic. We’ve got two reports for you; one from Simon Kidd aboard overall handicap winner Omega, and one from Moose on the Team Australia trimaran. Awards irony: The brand new North Sails trophy for top monohull on handicap went to Omega and her brand new set of upwind Doyle Stratis ICE sails. Full list of Doyle-powered results and photos are here, and Adam Sandler fans everywhere should get the title reference.
It was always going to be a great race for Omega upwind, with pressure and the breeze backing later in the day. We started well ahead of the starting gun with preparation on the boat, which is half the battle, dropping the rudder to service the bearing and undertaking several other small maintenance jobs. For the sail inventory we added a new Stratis ICE Code 2 headsail, which we carried from North Head up the coast, and also a new Stratis carbon technora mainsail.
With a large fleet off the line there was some urgency to set the Doyle A3 laminated gennaker and we made a nice jump on the other 40’s down to North Head. We had a good run up to Sail Rock with a long port tack and couple of short starboard tacks. Just after Sail Rock a squall came through and we ended up bareheaded for a couple of minutes before settling back into a slightly cracked jib top and then into the Code 0 which carried us through to the Cape Brett. The 40 fleet was locked together with Mojo, Power Play, Pretty Boy Floyd and Lawless all metres apart as we cleared the Brett.
Omega was in her element with an 150% overlapping headsail we laid pretty much through to the Black Rocks, having taken advantage of the incoming tide and then a long starboard tack through to Tapeka Point. A short tack and we laid up to the finish just as the breeze started to die, with the tide changing as we finished. Skipper and owner Scott McLaren was delighted with the result and very complementary of both the crew and also the Doyle sails that powered Omega to her win.
It’s a long time since someone brought a boat all the way from Australia for the Coastal Classic and so when owner Sean Langman and his team made noises about bringing their very cool ORMA Trimaran Team Australia over for the 2013 event it was pretty exciting news. Team Australia is, like local boat Team Vodafone, an ex-French ORMA Class box rule boat, maximum length, maximum beam, maximum mast length and that’s about it… they were developed for a combination of round the buoy Grand Prix events and single and double handed Trans-Atlantic racing. Until the creation of the AC 72 they were the most developed large multihull in the world.
Team Australia started their 2013/4 campaign by setting a new bench mark for the Trans-Tasman sailing record, crossing from Sydney to Auckland in 2 days 19 hours 2 mins 45 seconds. Their new record, now ratified by the World Speed Sailing Association, has set the bar very high for others to try and have a crack at. Once in Auckland, with the crew recovered from their Tasman ordeal, we set about getting her ready for the Coastal Classic. This entailed the guys removing all the offshore equipment and most excitingly the fitting of three new Doyle sails to compliment the new mainsail we fitted late last year prior to their successful Sydney-Hobart record run. Ahead of the Coastal Classic, Team Australia got a new Radial Stratis gennaker, and replaced both the primary headsails, the “solent” and “trinquette.” These new sails were utilising our very latest technology, with both the jibs being Stratis carbon ICE. All the sails went straight on and fitted like gloves and were “sweet as,” to use the words of one of the crew.
Race day came around and I think I was the most excited person in Auckland, with the prospect of an upwind beat to Russell, knowing we had two brand new jibs in our arsenal. The start went well, with Sean’s years of skiff sailing paying good dividends. We won the race to North Head but soon after Team Vodafone got through us by just carrying bigger sails. Team Australia is less powerful then Vodafone and so we decided to go with the smaller Trinquette jib. During the reach to Kawau Island we struggled to hang on to them as their added power let them slip away. Around Kawau we cut the corner on them and were right back into it… we then exchanged a couple of tacks and with the wind forecast to go left, we protected that side and were starting to pay good dividends. Just as we were about to tack and clear ahead the $10 lashing that held the Solent Jib up snapped and we had the jib fall on the deck. There is no halyard for this sail, it gets hoisted on a Gennaker halyard and then lashed, so we had to change down to the Trinquette and set about to catch them up. Whangarei Heads was always going to be an interesting landmark to get past in a Westerly breeze. We saw Vodafone go wide and so hit the beach. This paid off big time and while they were struggling offshore in light winds and headed breeze, we were smoking down the beach. From the time we got past them through to when we finally rounded Cape Brett I believe we were just quicker, as we reasonably quickly extended our lead out to nearly 40 minutes from there it was a blasting reach into the finish..
All in all it was a very satisfying win for Team Australia, we certainly had had our share of obstacles along the way! A big thanks to Sean and the Team Australia team for putting their faith in Doyle Stratis sails to power their amazing boat, and thanks also to our team for delivering. Let’s hope Sean can bring the boat back next year to have a crack at defending our title!