Safety At Sea Triple Series – Race 1
Race 1 of the 2018 Safety at Sea Triple Series saw a fleet of over 120 boats hit the start line in near perfect Winter sailing conditions. Pro-active organisation by the one-design fleets in Auckland insured the small boats were well represented with both the Young 88’s and the Pied Pipers attracting great fleets to ensure both classes had their own divisions.
The entire fleet got underway cleanly in 10 – 15 knot northerly wind which had the boats reaching down to the Motuihe Channel before settling in for the long upwind leg towards Tiri Channel. The boats that went left upwind gained nicely with a persistent left-hand shift which left those forced out right struggling to stay in touch with the leading pack.
As the fleet rounded Navy Bouy Tiri Channel the kites went up and the NZ Rigging and PIC Marine Insurance fleets settled in for a great downwind sail towards the bottom end of Waiheke. The Piedy’s were battling hard in the Baltic fleet and were in for a tense downwind battle back to the Noises with Wasabi and Panic Mouse battling at the front of the fleet.
Wired naturally stretched out to a handy lead on the NZ Rigging course as the fleet threaded their way through the islands at the bottom end of Waiheke, however, Anarchy, as always, were putting in a solid performance to keep themselves in contention. Coppelia were have a great race in NZ Rigging Division 2 and had themselves right in the mix with the newer boats.
On the PIC Marine Insurance course, the little yellow Forty Four 40 was stretching its legs on the downwind leg and C U Later were fighting their way back through the fleet after finding themselves on the wrong side of the left-hand shift upwind.
It was a long reach up the back of Waiheke for the bigger boats with a dying northerly breeze. A tricky transition back through the Motuihe Channel ensured there was no let-up in the action for the crews. Most of the fleet managed to cross the finish line off Orakei Wharf as the sun was setting which left plenty of time for a few refreshments and some story telling back at the Marina.
It was a near perfect start to the series in ideal conditions. The large and diverse fleet insures there is tough battles throughout the divisions with no results guaranteed until the very end.