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Groupama NewCal race

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Groupama 600, a fantastic experience. One of the best races we've done on any boat. Last night Rushour was awarded First Multihull across the line, First Multihull Handicap and fourth across the line overall in a combined mono and multi fleet of 23 boats. We even got CPF125,000 in prize money!

Race started beating in 6-8 knots, not our preferred wind strength or angle. We were doing well (first multi and only 4 miles behind Miss Scarlet, the lead mono) until we chose to sail up the east coast of the island inside the lagoon, instead of heading offshore at the first opportunity through the Passe de Havannah. This was an expensive mistake in hindsight, resulting in us being becalmed for 24 hours. The lead multi AVE GITANA gained a 42nm lead on us, while the lead mono pack gained 140nm.

Light wind started at 8pm on the second night of the race and we started to accelerate and one-by-one pass the fleet, including the Shionning G-Force 15, Birdies Furax 2, during the night. Wind built to 20knots in flat water, and our boat speed was up to 23knots, with consistent numbers around 17-20knots. It was one board (starboard) all the way to the top mark. By the top mark we had become the lead multihull, passing the trimaran Ave Gitana at the northeastern virtual mark. (This tri is a crowther design of 44' long weighs 3.7 ton and carries more plain sail area than Rushour. She was crewed by an all female crew who were very experienced. They had quite a few issues on board which slowed them down)

We did get becalmed at the northwestern virtual mark for about 2 hours, but we picked up a northeasterly wind for 3 hours where we were doing a 10-minute average of 21 knots.

We pushed hard for 6 hours and built a 25nm lead over the trimaran then backed off  and maintained this lead all down the west coast of New Caledonia, to the end of the race. At the finish, we had reduced the mono lead from 140nm down to 60nm and were fourth boat across the line.

For those wondering if we broke anything… a few hours before the finish we tore the spinnaker blocks out of the portside of the boat, the spinnaker block chain plate was not strong enough. We jury-rigged it to finish the race under masthead kite.

The hospitality, organisation, beauty of the race course and camaraderie among the fleet was spectacular.

Lastly a word about the Rushour crew... with only six people, everyone had a critical role to play, and had to cover all positions on the boat. Everyone worked together well and did a fantastic job.

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Thanks bushie, great report. I am sure you could fit Airlie in now.

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