Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Peccadillo’s Three Peaks Race 2012 – Leg 1 Beauty Point to Lady Barron
After much hard work and preparation Peccadillo lead the sail past on the start line at Beauty Point in Tasmania for the 2012 Three Peaks race.
With zero wind at the start, our two runners Chris Wight & John Winsbury manned the specially-engineered pedal propulsion system to put us ahead of the pack coming out of the Tamar River.
Our tactic for this leg was to sail fast under our reacher directly out into Bass Straight to place ourselves ahead of the approaching weather front and wind change leaving a free run into Franklin Sound towards the finish at Lady Barron. This seemed to be working as most of the fleet opted for the inshore route, as we changed to headsail then spinnaker as the wind began to build to the expected 25-35 knots.
By dark we thought ourselves to be in the box seat to snatch a big lead travelling at around 20 knots and the perfect course, until with the wind building over 35 knots true we managed a complete spinnaker wrap locking up the forestay. This was starting to get dangerous with the wind still building over 40 knots, seas rising, screaming towards rocky islands and needing to work the boat to a higher course. After several jibes we managed to unwrap the mess and thought ourselves lucky to have the spinnaker safely back in the bag in one piece.
With the wind now over 50 knots true, and down to staysail & 2nd reef, Peccadillo was difficult to handle so down to 3rd reef then drop main. We were now sailing under only a reefed staysail – but still doing 17 knots!
Now recording true winds of up to 63 knots (reports of 76 knots from another competitor) with nasty seas throwing the boat around, we navigated a careful course through the surrounding rocks and islands into Franklin Sound hoping for some relief, however we still faced the difficult task of tacking upwind to Lady Baron and the finish line.
This was proving to be extremely dangerous with the reduced control resulting from only a small staysail and having to gybe if we didn't make the tack (winds always over 50 and gusting). Several other competitors elected to motor past us to the finish and take the time penalty. In the end, we were third multihull in.
Thankfully we managed to deliver Chris & John in good shape to do the Mt Strezlecki run against 50 knot winds and rain. Despite the conditions, they set the fastest time for this running leg.
The extreme conditions of last night had taken its toll with the retirement of three yachts including the grounding of Haphazard. The race committee had little choice but to postpone the start of Leg 2 till later in the day as conditions abated.
Until the Leg 2 instalment, have a look at our race video...