The astonishing (and polarising) Phillipe Starck-designed super-yacht 'A' loomed over the start line on another fine Spring evening, which saw two long-format races, thanks to a fast-ebbing tide.
Aboard the committee boat, the rabbit came out of the hole and may or may not have rounded the tree before disappearing back down the hole, thereby consigning the kedge to Davy Jones's watery grasp. And so it was that the committee set a pin-biased line (the pin being the static end) and the fleet crowded the start line at that end to stem the tide and foreclose the distance to the Wynard triangle of tidal relief (Messrs Lester and Tasker have a lot to answer for).
Dodging the fishing lines off the tank farm and hugging the break water, the fleet squinted its way into a setting sun, tacking just under the bridge to clear the top mark, laid off the Squadron.
Feng Shui (1348) rounded first and was largely untroubled for the remainder of the race. The pursuing peleton was led by Valsheda II (950), with Split Decision(914) bringing up the rear, having lingered too long in the tide after the start.
Race 2, surprisingly, saw a split at the start with Unfinished Business (1184) braving the middle on a lifted port tack. Valsheda II (950) had a slow start, hedged her bets between the tidal relief and the middle and ultimately paid the price for procrastination. Affinity (1059) sailed an intelligent race and was unlucky not to catch Feng Shui (1348) on the downwind chase as the apparent wind died in the tide.
In the end, it was a clean sweep for Feng Shu (1348), but the rest of the fleet was very close and enjoyed a very civilised evening's competition.
Many thanks to Ben Grew for his kind assistance on the Committee Boat.
Flight 2 results here and overall results here
The Tuesday Night Series (finally) got under way with a bang. After two frustrating weeks ashore, the pre-start anticipation, in a fresh Westerly breeze, was palpable. The stater's gun unleashed a surge of kinetic energy and the fleet of eight bore down on mark one, with the tide under it, it what must be the closest leg yet.
All too quickly, it was cheek by jowl on the starboard layline. Undaunted, Split Decision (914) must have sensed an opening, or hatched a brilliant conceit, as she closed the fleet on port. But Pryde as we know, comes before a fall...
Note to self: must remember to remove cloak of invisibility before race.
The Waitemata Triangle (between the Squadron the breakwater and the bridge) and has claimed your correspondent twice, leaving its unmistakable mark - a big triangular hole in the (port side) gel-coat - in two different boats. And so, as Race 1 for Tortuga came to an abrupt end, the crew remained largely unfazed and retired to a plate of fish and chips and some grog.
Sadly this means that the remainder of the first three races must remain unreported (at least by me) and the results will have to speak for themselves.
It was great to see Captain Pete (716) out on the race course and back at Swashbucklers, where everyone enjoyed the post-match fare and a cheery debrief.
Megan Kensington and newcomer Ben Grew (a handy Laser sailor) got three fair races away, quickly and efficiently as always. RO assistance will be required again next week and we are looking for volunteers (email@example.com if you help)
Next week we will introduce a rosta for assisting with the launch of the start boat and race prep. If you are an owner or regular crew, your name will be on it. Please make yourself available at the designated time and date and help to ensure that everyone gets a fair crack.
A slightly misleading title to this post, since Flight 1 has not yet taken place despite the season being two weeks old.
However, I hope that your Tuesday mornings, like mine, are once again filled with anticipation and laced with more than a hint of adrenalin.
Next week looks promising and, in the meantime, I advise you to look over your bateau and take stock because I cannot promise that it will be light.
Please also take a moment to consider the forthcoming Etchells Invitational - on the subject of which I will be circulating a special email later this week.
The purpose of the Invitational is to introduce new blood - and some fresh enthusiasm - into our class. There are still too many boats standing idle on the hard when there is (as we all know) genuine excitement and exhilaration to be found just beyond the breakwater.
From an outsider's perspective it can be hard to reconcile the reality of fast, fun, competitive sailing with the common perception of the Etchells Class as some kind of floating Rotary Club - an impression that I am determined to rehabilitate.
Whilst it is pleasant to see your familiar faces across a packed Swashies of a Tuesday evening, think how much you would enjoy the sight and thrill of a packed starting line, new rivalries and fresh competition.
The Invitational will not form part of the regular season, but will include awesome prizes and a Duckworth-Lewisesque system to reward the boat with most (genuine) newbies. I for one have invited a promising young chap just in from San Francisco whose recent experience seems to have been in cats (of all things!), so it will be interesting to see how he copes with sailing at this rarefied level.
Don't forget that the Tuesday Night Series starts tomorrow (Tuesday).
As advised, this marks the start of Tuesday Night Series 2013. There will be a Tuesday Night Series 2014 commencing January, 2014. On Tuesday nights.
The calendar of events is, as always, here.
Any questions, comments or desperate pleas for crew a ride to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the water.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.