Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Whale of a Tale

It took a fair bit of work to wrap my head around sailing a multihull. After spending a lifetime racing keel boats, from Harmonic 24's to maxiboats, cruising in my own yacht and skippering small ships; Loose Goose, a Newick Val 31, felt awfully flimsy and they turn over, don't they?

I'd been shopping for a boat to win the 2007 Taranaki Daily News Shorthanded Tasman Yacht Race and when Loose Goose, a saucy little Dick Newick designed trimaran came on the market, she seemed like the boat to do the job and teach me how to sail a multihull in the process. I wasn't along to participate in the race, I wanted to win and Loose Goose was the boat to do it.

During the test sail, in 30 knots of nor' easter on Auckland Harbour, Loose Goose put on an exhilarating performance, picking up the Sunday afternoon armada of inbound Gulf cruisers like they were sailing backwards, but she showed the effects of long months of neglect on a mooring and proved very difficult to tack.

Nevertheless I felt Loose Goose was the boat to tackle the Tasman Race and possibly even look at the six days eight hour record for the 1250 nautical mile course set by another trimaran, Bullfrog Sunblock, in 1986. I checked with Loose Goose's builder and was satisfied with her plywood, epoxy and carbon fibre construction. I bought the boat and, over the next six months; hauled her out at Okahu Bay in Auckland, replaced the standing rigging, removed and rebuilt the rudder and steering gear, rewired the interior and completed a myriad of small fitting out jobs.

The more I got to know the boat's construction, the more my confidence grew and I began keeping an eye on weather patterns for the right window to sail Loose Goose on the 520 mile coastal passage home to Port Taranaki. Finally, in early January, the time looked opportune. The sea area Brett forecast predicted a few days of sou' westerlies veering nor' easterly.
The southerlies would get me up the north east coast and, hopefully, the northerlies would kick in for the trip from Cape Reinga to Port Taranaki. Read more.

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