table for 2

Rob Shaw is doublehanding the Shaw 40 Blink in the Round the North Island Race. Here is his update on leg one/preview leg two, which started today at lunchtime. After 8 hours in quite light conditions they have covered about 50 miles – Blink is in the lead as they head for Cape Reinga and the long ride down the west coast to Wellington. Expected to take about 3 days.

blinkIt’s shaping up to be a great second leg in the two-handed Round the North Island race – forecast is for a very quick trip down the west coast to Wellington. Our weather guru has told us to expect a run out of the start up to North Cape, then a reach across the top of the island before being on the wind for a short while down the west coast before the breeze swings around for us to reach again. This will be a bit of a contrast to the 2011 race, when we were on the wind all the way to Wellington, before a smacking storm in the Cook Strait.

The 36-hour stopover after leg one gave us barely enough time to recover from the 160-odd miles racing from Auckland to Mangonui. Neither of us was able to sleep for nearly 16 hours as we were pushed hard all the way by Bushido, the Elliott 35SS. It was a wet reach, mostly two-sail, up the coast, pretty much neck and neck until we turned the corner north of the Bay of Islands and came more onto the wind and we able to inch away from them, and finish 13 minutes ahead. We are expecting them to chase us hard down the west coast but now we have a few sail systems sorted out I think we will go much better. Leg one was a bit of a shakedown for us – new boat, new crew combination – so we are hoping to build on that.
Great to have finally got sailing after lots of argy-bargy, gossip and stirring on shore before the start. We were lucky enough to get away cleanly but one boat pulled out the night before the race and has lodged a Rule 2 protest against another competitor for gamesmanship…will be interesting to see how that plays out, but right now we need to concentrate on our sailing.
Track ’em here.