Sailing Regatta in Auckland

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No – it’s not a typo – it’s definitely “Harbour” as opposed to “Harbor”. That’s because its in Auckland, New Zealand and down here the blue of the ocean is a colour not color. The extra “u” is something to do with the direction of bath water spinning the opposite way down the drain. (See the NauticEd Weather Course to learn about Coriolis spin effect and why  a cyclone spins clockwise down here). But …  I digress…

I sailed in a little wednesday night local regatta (about 40 boats) this week in Auckland New Zealand Harbour. And what a pleasure it was to get out on the water racing again. I hooked up with an old University buddy, Dave Berry, on a Young 88 (8.8 meter New Zealand design and built racing sailboat).

The Young 88 Courtesy of
The Young 88 Courtesy of

The Young 88 Class has quite an active fleet and typically about 12 boats race in the one design fleet race on any given Wednesday. This week half of New Zealand was still on vacation so the fleet size was down a little. Our motley crew assembled at about 5:50pm for a 6:20 start. I use the term “motley” because it’s an excuse to say that since we had not raced as a team together before, we didn’t do so well at the finish line.

Our spinaker launches and take downs were flawless but we got our butts kicked on the long upwind leg. With out knowing the Young 88 sailing profile and best practices, I’m guessing that our speed slowed due to being over powered  and thus over healing (I think).

Over healing slows the boat down in several ways. The main ones are:

  1. Due to the angle, you have less keel vertically presented to the water and so your side slip increases.
  2. Drag is increased because the hull is not optimally designed for these kinds of angles
  3. It’s difficult for high speed wind to stay attached to the lee side of a large sail and thus more turbulence spins off the back of the sail reducing the effectiveness of the sail.
  4. Please comment on other reasons if you’d like to add.

So in high winds, you’re sometimes better off going with a smaller sail. In the middle of a regatta however,  the time it takes to change out a sail is very costly so you’ve got to do your best guess at the sail vs the conditions prior to the start.This comes from experience in operating your boat. IE you’ve got to loose a lot of races before you start to gain some placements.

Another factor which we had to be cognizant of was that the tide was ebbing out of the harbour. This meant we needed to keep out of the main channel when going back up the harbour to keep out of the highest current flow. This is part of local knowledge and you can bet that the old hands in a local area will be doing better than newbys.

Here’s a pic of some the fleet coming out from under the Auckland Harbour Bridge on the way to the finish line.

All this brings us to the conclussion that this year we’ll release a regatta racing sailing course so stay tuned. Become a fan of NauticEd on facebook and we’ll let you know as soon as we launch that course.

A quick final point for this entry is that if you really want to learn to sail – get your self on a race boat in a regatta. It’s the way I learned years ago. You instantly pick up best practices and those practices are drilled in many times over. There’s no space for learning bad sailing practices in a race. The results are immediately presented to you. Almost every sailing location has a yacht club. All you have to do is to put you name and ph number on the board and you’ll get a call or stand on the dock looking lost on any race day and every short handed boat will be bidding over you.

Now, want some REAL FUN?

Want to learn from the best?

Want to get out of the cold?

Come on NauticEd’s 80 foot Maxi Yacht in the Rolex Regatta in March 2011 in St. Thomas or if you’re female join NauticEd’s 51 ft Swan all female crew in the same Rolex Regatta.

Here’s the blog entries for this this event.

All female crew

80 ft Maxi

Northern Light 51 ft Swan

Kialoa V 80 ft Maxi

One of these boats could be yours for a few days. Come join us on sailing classes in St Thomas – March 2011. Crew Wanted!

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Online, at home, in your own time multimedia theory learning integrates perfectly with on-the-water practical teaching to make you a confident and competent sailor. Read more about NauticEd