Design Objective: to maximise the performance potential of a 12m offshore monohull, with the capacity to sleep a full crew and with a usable interior. This is a versatile boat, set up for high performance racing either short-handed or fully crewed, both harbour and offshore. Blink is built with racing in the infamous Cook Strait in mind, with robust construction and systems, foam core, and options chosen with the wisdom that 'to win you must first finish' in mind: twin rudders, twin hydraulic rams, and dual hydraulic keel power sources (electric and engine pumps).
More details, interior pics, plans at bottom of page.
Blink race results highlights 1st on elapsed time, Round North Island 2-handed 2014 (Rob Shaw and TW) and 2017 (VW and TW)
1st on Line, Round North Island 2-handed 2014 and 2017
1st PHRF Division 1, and 2nd IRC Division 1, Round North Island 2-handed 2017
1st in RPNYC 2014-2015 Offshore Series on Club, PHRF, and IRC Season Champions RPNYC 2015-2016 PHRF and Line
New Zealand Design/Build Trophy (Muir Vonu Trophy) Auckland-Fiji Race 2016
Race record Kapiti-Chetwodes-Ship Cove 2015 Race record Cook Strait Classic 2015 Race record 2016 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Yacht Race
First on Line: Island Bay race Nov 2013*, Brothers Race Nov 2013*, Cook Strait Classic Dec 2013* (*beating Elliot 50 canter Ran Tan in all 3 of these races), Brothers Race 2014, Kapiti-Chetwodes 2015, Port Nich Regatta 2015 overall line honours, Alan Martin Series 2015, Cook Strait Classic 2015, Nelson Race 2016, RPNYC 2016 Season Div 1, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Yacht Race 2016, Mana-Ship Cove 2016, Brothers Islands Race 2016, Round North Island 2-handed 2014 and 2017
Adding to our Kapiti-Chetwoods record earlier this year, we had great conditions for this year's race. Taking such a big chunk out of the record was quite a surprise as Blink was in cruising mode, -we were heading away for a few weeks in the Sounds immediately after.
Lots of video to edit ... But won't be available until we are back to civilisation and computers
Vesna with some editing from Dave put a description of the race on the RPNYC site, www.rpnyc.org.nz, included below
A couple of days out from the Cook Strait Classic it was looking like a drifter, but we weren’t that concerned as we only had five crew available. A day out and the drifter was changing to something more promising so a couple more crew would be rather helpful, and we were pleased to rope in Vicki and Stephen from Incantare. It happened to be their first wedding anniversary and we thought we should set the bar fairly high for experiences. Stephen also had the same idea and arranged some beautiful dolphins for Vicki at the start line.
head of the start we ummed and ahhed about flying the fractional zero or the #2 jib but poking our nose into Evans Bay to find the wind quite forward from the SE settled the argument – the #2-that-reefs-to-a-3 was the go. We got a decent start below the fleet and got our nose ahead to lead the fleet to Kau Bay, which normally ends up as Blink’s parking lot. This time there was good breeze and we kept the lead on our main rivals, Wedgetail, and Satellite Spy from Waikawa.
The breeze settled in to around 18-23 and the boats split at Point Howard. We wondered about covering Wedgetail but had a good lift so worked across to the Eastbourne side of the harbour and tacked our way up to Moaning Minnie. The wind was gusting around 28 knots and there was some chatter about reefing but we dismissed the idea as it wasn’t far to Minnie where we expected to ease off to a nice reach across the south coast. Wedgetail made a gain by going in to Scorching Bay but it wasn’t enough and we led at the mark.
Cracking off at Moaning Minnie the obligatory check was made for any chance of flying the fractional zero to Sinclair but, as is always the case, it was too shy so we two-sailed it. The helmsman, trimmers, and foredeck staff were getting twitchy so we prepared the 200m² A2 gennaker for the big yee-ha that would follow.
We launched the A2 at Thom’s Rock and it did not disappoint – a boisterous wind gusting to 30+ kept us busy and consistently doing over 15 knots, with a top speed of 19.6, which let us put some ground on Wedgetail and Satellite Spy. A couple of small lie-downs and skids indicated the the wind and waves were on the up, and the race record looked like a possibility.
The happy couple trimmed their seal-skin socks off and got to know the Blink day spa experience. Vicki, not to be outdone by Stephen’s start line dolphins, had arranged a graceful albatross or two.
A couple of miles out from Tory the big red kite was getting to be a handful and we pinged it for the fractional zero – setting up for the drop was the cue for Huey to send send a puff and we had a little lie down. This is where Wedgetail made a significant gain and we could see big white Bertha approaching fairly swiftly. Tory was typically fickle and unpredictable, and we had to get rid of the fro and tack/gybe/furl our way to the finish line where we arrived about 22 minutes ahead of the record set by Wedgetail a couple of years ago. Wedgetail came in about 8 minutes later, also beating their record.
We popped some bubbles to celebrate a great win and romantic anniversary getaway. A wonderful day out, with great crew and a top way to finish off a year of sailing on Blink.
The next race is the Wellington to Nelson Race starting on Friday 22nd January – the forecast is sunny and mostly following breezes
Good result for Blink in the Summer/Alan Martin Series - 1st on Line, PHRF, and Club handicaps.
That's the fabulous Shirley Martin in the middle holding the trophy for the series win on PHRF - the Alan Martin Series is named after her late husband, a leader in Wellington yachting and RPNYC for many years.
Other notable figures in this pic: Daryl Wislang's daughter being held by Daryl, Crew Boss Craig Shearer holding his granddaughter and her mother Jordan in the foreground, and new recruit (in camo) Jason Hurdle's son being held by Pete Delaney from the Blink Mainsheet Department. Then there's Kimmy behind Janet (holding the general handicap trophy) and Vesna next to a guy with lots of Husband Points.
Gordie McDougall and Dr George are regular crew that raced with us in this series, they're missing from this pic because they couldn't sail on the last day.
True to form, Wellington didn't let us down with plenty of wind.
This is a 360° YouTube clip, which won't work properly in some browsers.
It apparently works in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and in some IE variants -- I've only tried it in Chrome.
If you see the video playing in the letterbox view like in the thumbnail (currently how it works in Safari), it's not working properly, you should see a pan button in the top left, and the view can be rotated using the WASD keys
This clip is from Race 2, day 1 of the Alan Martin Series at RPNYC (1st for Blink in both races!)
We've left Wedgetail behind (visible through the stbd wheel) and running down the trimaran St Laurence, we gybe away to clear them near the end of the clip.
- Opening Day / Ambassador's Race (will we once again semi-submerge an ambassador?) 19 Sept
- Inshore Season Championship begins 3 October, most Saturdays after that
- Eye Registrars 'harbour cruise' 18 October
- First offshore for the season (Brothers Islands Race) 31 October
- Waikawa - Wellington ('Sav Blanc Race') 6 November
- Port Underwood - Ship Cove Race 14 November
- Cook Strait Classic 19 November
- 2-handed offshore training: TW + VW + coach, to be arranged ...
and big targets for 2016:
- 2-handed Central Triangle Offshore 19 Feb - 4 March
[- Likely to do Fiji (fully crewed offshore) June 2016 and then maybe Airlie Bay Race Week (Aus)]
RPNYC Regatta (Div A Line)
2014-2015 Offshore Series (PHRF, Club, IRC)
Brothers Race (line)
Kapiti-Chetwodes (Line, PHRF, Club) - and a new race record
Christmas Series Div 1 (Club, Open Club)
Autumn Series Div 1 (Line, Open Line)
RPNYC Regatta (Div A)
2015 PHRF National Championship Div A
Div 1 Inshore Season Championship (IRC)
ANZAC Race (IRC, PHRF)
Christmas Series Div 1 (Line, PHRF)
Autumn Series Div 1 (IRC, PHRF)
Cook Strait Classic (Line)
Kapiti Chetwodes (IRC)
Akaroa (Line, Club, PHRF, IRC)
Again the superb Crusader team led by Anthony Leighs beat us around the racetrack. In a series of races that were best described as frustrating for us, we repeatedly extended a healthy lead and then lost it. stationary in no wind, before the finish line.
But what a fantastic week of racing. For us it was a week of competing against Crusader.
Leg 1, Wellington to Akaroa, 195 nm: The first 4 hours were epic... Out of Wellington and nearly to Kaikoura in 4 hours. 40-50 ish knots tailwind, many gusts into the 60s and a few recorded in the 70s.
These clips are with a reef in the main and a #4 headsail. Blink felt like she was on rails, was balanced, and probably could have been pushed a bit harder. But we were building a handy lead on Crusader and the conditions were, well, intense - so we just kept sending it over the waves....
Then we got south of Kaikoura and stopped. The local wisdom is that you never go inshore here in a northerly, boats have stopped nearer shore in no breeze for days. We headed further out, expecting to find enough wind to fill our sails in the slop. Never happened. Crusader ended up well inshore of us and got away, we never caught up again in the light airs all the way into Akaroa. We did learn a bit about trying to move the boat in light air. But not enough ...
Leg 2, Akaroa to Napier, 350nm: After a drift-off out of the harbour we got around Banks Peninsula with a massive lead, Crusader so far behind they were hard to identify. Then the routing was upwind all the way up the coast of the South Island and - given Blink's big speed advantage upwind - thought this would go our way. But no - the Crusader team in the biggest (and one of the riskier?) round-the-outside manoeuvres I've seen completely avoided sailing upwind, and when we again ran out of breeze near Cape Palliser they were 94 nm more east than any other boat in the fleet. They got the breeze they went looking for, and moved from a 30-mile deficit to a nearly 10-mile lead. Overnight. Wow.
Despite our losing power and not being able to cant the keel or use the boat electronics after we broke an alternator bracket just east of Cape Palliser, we went chasing after them and over the next 40-odd miles we got close, really close, about 15 miles from the finish line. Game on. We were less than a mile abeam and slightly behind, went for one more gybe to take an expected shift and maybe overtake, and stopped in no wind. Crusader didn't, disappearing over the horizon for a 2-hour win. Really.
Leg 3, Napier to Wellington, 205nm: At last a chance to stretch our legs upwind, at least to Cape Kidnappers. There were no options for Crusader but to follow us out, and again we had a few miles handy lead as we headed down the coast back to Wellington. Until later that evening when we again parked on mirror-smooth water, Crusader caught up again and we sat for a long time, 40m apart, in surreal moonlight.
Then a wonderful highlight of the week. Here were these two high performance raceboats becalmed in the middle of nowhere at sea, supposed to be racing but stuck still in the wee small hours of the morning ... we fired up our stereo and played Mahna Mahna from the muppets at high volume from our cockpit speakers.
The breeze eventually filled in and we were away again the next morning. In increasing breeze up to high 20s and even 30s around Cape Palliser Blink again had a healthy lead, several miles. With the harbour entrance in sight, the Code 0 on and powering towards the finish line at 12 knots, and Crusader apparently well tucked away behind, it all looked good for us to at last convert one of our recurrent leading margins into a race win. But no. Another windless park-up at the harbour entrance. Yes you understand correctly - Wellington Harbour entrance, no wind. We all know that never happens.
But anyway you can probably guess the outcome. Crusader and Blink were about 50 m apart, roughly side by side pointing in to the harbour, Blink in about 0.5 knots of westerly and Crusader picked up a good easterly (yes, dear reader, easterly) puff with their Code 0 ready. Off they go, we never regained the lead, despite an absolutely brilliant gybing duel in a nearly windless inner harbour at night. Crusader got us by 51 seconds for the full trifecta.
Kudos and trophies well deserved by the Crusader team for nailing every single opportunity.
Despite the disappointment of no silverware, we had a brilliant time, have formed a basis for a solid amateur offshore crew, and learnt a great deal about the boat. We'll be much better armed in the future. It really suited Crusader to have minimal upwind sailing and very little reaching (at least at the same time that Blink was) as those points of sail would be a advantage to our more powerful and not much heavier boat. But that did make for some spectacular racing, and pushed both teams pretty hard. I'll be using the happy memories of that big downwind ride from leg 1 to bore people with when I'm old and deaf.
The experience of all 3 legs was encapsulated nicely by an event the next day. Rob's flight to Auckland was cancelled due to fog, resulting in him getting becalmed in a queue the length of Wellington Harbour. 2 hours later some of the Crusader crew arrived, checked in, and flew out an hour before the next plane Rob could get on.
Blink hasn't done so well recently around the cans. Firstly there's quite a lot of boat to get right for a relatively inexperienced crew, and things typically happen pretty quickly. Secondly, she is fabulously responsive to the right sails and trim, but with wrong sails up or not properly set up the performance hit is significant.
We'd also lost all of our regular trimmers in recent weeks and found replacements at short notice. Plus there was some serious competition for line honours as well as handicap results: Wedgetail (Welbourne 42), St Laurence (trimaran), Crusader (Elliot 35ss), Revs (Ross 40), Satellite Spy (Ross 40) ... and some properly good sailors distributed through the rest of the Div A fleet. So I went into this regatta not expecting too much... a chance for some intensive boat handling practice, in mostly short windward-leeward races, and let's see how much we improve as the regatta progresses.
I was surprised on both counts. We had Pete Geary (from Hall Spars) join us from Auckland and he taught us in the first race that the slightly higher upwind mode that we'd been trying still wasn't high enough. So we reset out targets to his suggestions and suddenly we're pretty good upwind, able to hold and sometimes even climb off the benchmark Wedgetail.
The other great thing that happened was our crew have started getting most of our short-course boat handling right. The team has started to click and we are able now to start thinking outside the boat a bit. Of course we had plenty stuff-ups, a couple of the larger ones probably cost us the regatta (no doubt other contenders could say the same) but the improvement was noticeable.
There were some epic moments, especially during the windiest day (Saturday)
Eventually, we far surpassed expectations. 1st overall on line, second overall on PHRF, 3rd overall on IRC, 4th overall on club handicap. Not bad at all against good competition.
Thanks to the Blink crew, for a most enjoyable regatta, ditto for the regatta organisers, race officer Paulie and the on-water regatta support. Big thank you to Pete G for contributing to our big step up in performance.
After the CSC we had out rudder alignment returned to where it should have been (thanks Rob, Matt G, Matt S, Craig, Gordie and all who helped). Soooo much better.
The Forecast for Kapiti-Chetwodes starting at 6am Waitangi Day was for a southerly front dying out. We'd anticipated a nasty harbour exit in the rain, against tide, 30 knots southerly, and swell, in about 12 degrees. It came through right on schedule with some force just after 4am as we all left home for the marina, gusts of up to 50 knots along the south coast and rain showers. Start was to be at 6am but delayed due to a berthing container ship to 6.30.
Things started getting better. The rain stopped. We got a good start and unwrapped the Fractional Zero off the line, worked really nicely for us and we led across Evans Bay.
Like many of the boats we liked the pin end, Wedgetail and others nearer the middle, not in this pic
Then the FR0 took us a bit low, so we lost a bit of our lead in height and Wedgetail made good use of that, leading us out of the harbour - which wasn't as rough as we'd anticipated - by about a minute
Unfortunately for us the next leg was almost hard on the wind, so we couldn't crack off much as we'd have liked, but that angle suited us slightly better than Wedgetail and we regained the lead. Not as fast as usual across the south coast, only about 8-9 knots, but current was with us so SOG was usually over 10. Next were the rips, Sinclair was again less than we had anticipated,
but the Karori rip was bigger, which had bowman Matt alternately airborne and submerged while he prepared a downwind sail for the ride north to Kapiti. Matt was probably the wettest of us, but we were all a tad damp.
At Terawhiti we were lulled by the strong current (5-7 knots) going our way to think that the breeze was only in the upper teens or low 20s. So we went for the A2.
Which was awesome until we crossed a tide line out of our nice stream. Both the true and the apparent wind increased significantly, now high 20s, and suddenly it was clear we had too much kite on. After a couple of very restful lie-downs we got the A2 below, granny-tacked, and changed to the A6. Which was great...
we cruised along with boat speeds consistently between 17 and 20 (well, that's what the speedo said, although it may not have been in the water all the time!) and extended on the fleet. We had got the layline just right, gybed the A6 next to Kapiti island after 4 hours of sailing (52 nm rhumb line to here), and then dropped it for the 40 nm reach to the Chetwodes This started windy and rough, 25+ knots on our beam with waves to match,
but got progressively lighter as we got further west.
We'd been trying to get height to get around the Chetwodes clockwise, like we always had. As we started to get close, Craig actually read the SIs carefully and noted that we were supposed to round *anticlockwise* Oops. We'd been sailing too high and too slow for several miles, should have had a bigger sail on. Never mind the disturbing realisation that it would have been a much more costly mistake had we actually gone around the wrong way.
Just after this, we realised we'd thrown our belts of the canting motor / 24V alternator and they'd need to be replaced before we next had to cant. i.e., very soon. So there was a not very pleasant, messy, hot, rushed, knuckle-skinning engine-bay job to do. Some expletives were utilised.
Then we just had to ghost through the horrid Chetwodes wind shadow which seems to last forever, before tacking upwind towards Point Jackson and the finish line. Near Jackson, with a 10-15 knot breeze, lots of daylight left, and a little over 6 miles to go, we thought we'd have a good chance of taking a big chunk off the record time.
Yeah, right -- not long after rounding Jackson, with the finish line in sight, we starting running out of wind. We spent a long time going very slowly, often in the wrong direction, and getting generally frustrated. We were saved by a few knots of wind on the beam which got us the last mile or so with our masthead zero.
We crossed the line at 11 minutes past 6pm, setting a new record: 11h 41m 42s.
Team pic a few minutes after finishing, finish line in background ... note lack of wind
The rest of the fleet suffered more from the wind dropping out than us. Wedgetail had emerged around Jackson, didn't look very far away, and seemed to be sailing straight for the line instead of having to tack up. We thought that a little unfair. But they ended up running out of wind too, and finished about 1.5 hours after us. The Revs team described several slow and frustrating attempts to get around Jackson against the tide before giving up and withdrawing. The Guarantee apparently sailed past Titi island 3 times, being knocked back by tide repeatedly before withdrawing. With no breeze available or looking likely, darkness approaching and no favourable tide for 6 hours, several other boats withdrew also.
We had a great evening in the Furneaux Lodge bar, and decided to use the crew fund to buy some warm dry comfy beds there instead of wet sails. Matt S was so pleased with this arrangement he even went back into bed for his post-brekky cup of tea.
The trip back was very pleasant, Vesna and Jono doing most of the steering, perfect conditions and masthead zero to the south coast, and then a typical 'welcome back to Wellington' 25-30 headwind to get back around the south coast and into the harbour.
Should be some silverware and an official record after this race...
Not one of our best races - we had a very slow light air start out of the harbour, and had a very costly sail change to the heavy jib. so we got a bit of a sailing lesson from the Crusader team who led us out of the harbour by a healthy margin.
Once we got going in decent breeze we started to get back into the race, but were not able to catch Crusader on the downwind run to Tory Channel Entrance.
Tory Channel Entrance, finish line drawn in
We were surprised at not being able to hold our A2 kite in a little over 20 knots - had a few round-ups so were forced to sail low and slow to keep upright.
Eventually we worked out the problem ... our rudder angles didn't end up right after Blink's Birthday earlier this year, had a toe-in angle of about 4° instead of 1.5° ... so the inner sides of the rudder blades were spending much of their time stalled and at the very least dragging.
Great raft-up after the race, Blink even had her mirror-ball ...
Then off for a few weeks fast cruising. Should be much more salubrious than previous years ... lots more room, hot shower, fridge, freezer (ice cream!! Woohoo!!) etc..