Anniversary Weekend 2015

The icing on the cake.

Princess has been a regular at the Mahurangi regatta for several years. This year was a cracker.

Charles with some heavy metal


The Saturday regatta was only part of a full on long weekend for us which started on Friday afternoon off the Devonport Yacht Club and lining up with the classic fleet for the night race up the coast. The starting signals take a bit of finding, ignoring a perfectly good flagpole, the DYC choose to drop division and start flags over the balcony.  Learning from past Devonport starts, we hit the line at pace alongside a powered up classic Tawera who cleared North head just ahead of us. Princess settled into long and short legs along the North Shore in a slowly dying breeze before edging out towards the Tiri channel into the flood tide which was gathering strength. We crept up alongside the 50ft Tawera while the fleet behind us split looking for wind. To our surprise and delight we passed Navy buoy in the lead and cleared the reef in daylight. Pia and Tawera were the next to round, by which time we had eased sheets and cracked a beer. In previous years the big gaffers have run us down reaching into the finish off Saddle Island, this time we had 30 min over the next boat home.  A fine start to the weekend.

The Mahurangi regatta gets better every year. Nowhere else will you see such a variety of eccentric craft. During a lazy morning the diverse racing fleet gathers off Sullivans bay, registration and handicap negotiations take place while swimming, rowing, kayaking, you name it, races take place off the beach.  Pavo, Pia, and Princess lined up among the ‘modern’ fleet, or more likely, anything less than 100 years old.  A swift rounding of the committee boat, due to a minor, on board, timing error, found us in clear air and on a good lift. Our race just got better from there, Two laps of the harbour in stunning weather conditions, and we get our second gun of the weekend. To cap it all, at the prize giving BBQ in the evening, we are awarded the Double.  We can thoroughly recommend the Mahurangi regatta, after all Princess’s handicap is now truly stuffed.

Sunday morning dawned calm for the CYA Mark Foy race back to Auckland. Princess was to be last away. No objection from the crew who for some reason were a little slow rousing. The whole fleet lay becalmed ahead of us in a line towards Whangaparoa. Our big blue 10 knot ‘Roydon gossamer special’ kite went up, set, and with a new breeze we slowly wound them in, all but one, ‘Prize’ who crossed the line just ahead of us at Orakei wharf, but another handicap win for us. Sometimes you get lucky.

The final act of the weekend was the Anniversary day regatta, and for ‘Princess’ it would be part of the CYA harbour series. Last year as a modern classic, we found ourselves in the same start as ‘Fidelis’, In the heavy air back then she just left us standing, this year Innismara was the big boat, admittedly it was her very first outing, and we found ourselves able to out tack her in the harbour, however once clear of North head she just took off on long tacks. To our huge surprise we came together again at Northern Leading, by which time Ranger was also alongside us having started 10 mins later. Where was the rest of the fleet? Focus on the next mark, there are boats everywhere on different courses, spectacular but confusing.  We round North head for the last time on starboard jybe to see Innismara powered up on port converging and flying her massive new gennaker.  We were in with a chance here. She dipped behind us and went off for her own ‘in house’ battle with Ranger.  Two more marks, a melee of boats , a 180 deg wind shift, the finish in sight and Innismara is not far ahead. Another handicap win to us, Princess gets her name on the savoy cup. The icing on the cake.  Charles

Useful Software

Everyone has a smartphone these days or at least one of the crew has, in which case it can be pressed into service to help you review your racing tactics or at least provide post match entertainment. There’s a few dedicated apps that run in the background of your device and record your track throughout a race.

Predict wind has Tracker which the race management can set up, and it allows others to see where you and anyone else using it are in the same race.  It’s very similar to the Yellowbrick tracker used during the RNI and RNZ races but with the limited battery, durability and range issues of a smartphone. The SSANZ triple series this year has been running Tracker, and if you go to their site you can see how it works. Probably better in longer races although plenty of competitors didn’t use it, which makes it less than useful in comparing tactics with the other boats in the same division. In race one I simply forgot to start it and in race two, the app asked for $3  during the pre start leaving me fumbling with Apple security questions like what was my first car, was it a Holden or a… Anyway it’s all set up now and hopefully will have it running in the third race.

RaceQS is another app that runs on a smartphone and provides a 3-D replay of the race with various tools to see how you compare with other boats. This looks pretty interesting for using in harbour racing, but only if other boats are using it;

The real value in it may be to back up protests, as well as seeing what the competition did to pick all those boat lengths on the beat.

Another bit of free software which may or may not be useful is something called “Boats” it’s a simple drawing program that allows you to draw boats and marks and animate them. This is probably most useful to help clarify protest scenarios.



This animation was made in about a minute, it may also help if you happen to need an insurance claim.

Navionics is a must have personal chartplotter, not recommended as a primary navigation tool, its an excellent backup in smartphone form and more than a few people have converted their tablets to permanent plotter with waterproof cases and bulkhead mounts.  It has local tides, currents, and downloads weather grib files for wind predictions. A very useful app and one everyone should have on their phones.

“The app will record your track where distance, speed and duration are shown and stored for reviewing later with playback including geotagged photos or videos taken along the way. But, before setting off, you can plan your routes, measure distances, check wind forecasts, sun/moon phases or add markers to key fishing areas you want to target. You’ll be able to save data like tracks, routes, markers and photos and share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or via email”

The latest version is free to download but you pay for the extra features you want.

Sailing software is not going to get you on the water, but it may provide another tool to improve your skills, and if you use something that you think might be useful, send Cherry a link and well update this post.

Good Luck!


S34 Book Presentation to the Royal Ocean Racing Club

A meeting was arranged in London this week at the Royal Ocean Racing Club
for the Stewart Association president to present a copy of ‘The first 50 years’ to the RORC library.
Neil Spencer, the tall Aussie sometimes seen aboard Princess, and a RORC
member, put the meeting together after having a yarn with Eddie Warden Owen at
the London Clubrooms.
Eddie Warden Owen is the chief executive officer for the RORC. In speaking
to Charles over a beer in the Fastnet Room, he remembered well representing the
UK in the ’87 and ’88 Citizen Watch Match Racing series, sailing Playtime (then Pink Panther) and Psychic.  He was delighted to learn that the class is still thriving, and given
the opportunity would enjoy another ride next time he is in Auckland. He said
that the Stewarts were “testing” to sail, and no surprise that top Kiwi sailors
emerged from the class. Neil had also ensured that the book was signed by the
author, George Backhus.
Charles Scoones,  May 22nd, London.