The first 12m offshore race boat designed by Rob Shaw, build by Craig Partridge Yachts.

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).

Length: 12m / Sailing Displ: 4.1T (8 crew) / Empty Displ 3.6T / Draft: 3m / Keel Cant Angle: 50° / RM (max): 7,687 kg/m / Mast: 19.8m
Fixed prod: 1m / Retractable prod: 2.5m / SA up: 110m2, down: 268m2

Sail Number: 110011 / VHF Call Sign: ZMU2211
More details, interior pics, plans at bottom of page.

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship

Race Results

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

11 January 2014

AKL Delivery

Our delivery to Auckland began on Boxing Day with a pretty good but slightly big southerly forecast for Cook. 30 knots and a fairly hefty sea state of 4 or so meters making what we thought would be a quick ride once we turned left.

Without a working autopilot despite everyone's best efforts to get it going (Tony spent all day on Christmas Eve until 11.30pm on the phone to the fabulous Bob Evans and Woolfie (with Craig Shearer's help)), we couldn't get it to work. Probably should have tried it earlier but with fully crewed racing who needs an autopilot?

Given the forecast and that we didn't have an autopilot, we decided to ask Craig Shearer to join us for a delivery to Auckland and once there, we would get the autopilot sorted and do the qualifying miles over a long weekend before the RNI. 

Blink sailed beautifully in a biggish sea. She is so stable and keeps her nose up despite all our sails being in the bow. We sailed using our compass in lousy visibility in rain, at a slightly peculiar CoG until we worked out that by having worked on the instruments to resolve the autopilot issue, we had lost our previously set compass deviation of 20 or so degrees. With no horizon or stars, and coping with a big sea, rain etc we only realised what had happened from the chart plotter when we were nearly 60 miles out from the shore (but still pretty close to the East Cape rhumb line) and out of VHF range. Some motor sailing to get us back nearer shore was in order!

With motor sailing we used quite a bit of fuel so decided to pull into Gisborne to refuel and sort out a bracket that had broken holding the 24 volt alternator in place.

Gisborne was fantastic. All credit to Greg the marina manager who was like the MacGyver of help. He put us in touch with the fabulous and meticulous Peter who was a mechanical engineer and tool maker and gas fitter Dave (stove story below). 


On the way to Gisborne, I realised how sore my left arm was from the recent fracture. I had given it a pretty good bashing on this trip and at times had trouble hanging on to the boat.   Driving was no problem but that is only about 40 percent of what was needed for the RNI. I had also missed out on critical time on the boat and apart from being able to help with sail changes when fully crewed, I wasn't strong enough to do so two handed.  

Tony had spent 100s of hours on Blink from the time of her launch and with everyone's huge effort to get Blink ready for the RNI, it was a fairly straightforward decision to sub myself out.   When I broke my arm, I had rung Rob Shaw and asked if he would be interested in doing the RNI with Tony if I wasn't up to it. From Gisborne, I rang Rob again and a few hours later we got the call to say that he would love to do it.  

Rob drove from Auckland to Gisborne and then Tony and Rob set off for the qualifier to Auckland still without an autopilot.  I drove Rob's car back.  Craig flew back to Welly.

The delivery was uneventful except for a little incident with a sunfish hitting the starboard rudder (no damage to the rudder, the sunfish would say otherwise).  Rob and Tony had a  full range of conditions - zero to 30s, all uphill, to take just over 40 hours to Westhaven. On the way, they tested how long they could leave the wheel for and in light airs (12 knots up wind), Blink sailed for 15 minutes without needing to touch the wheel.  In heavier airs (20 knots and open water), Blink sailed for 12 minutes. All credit to Rob for designing such a well balanced boat.

The RNI team arrived at 2.30am to be met at the dock by yours truly flashing my iPhone torch to show them the berth for Blink kindly lent to us by Humphrey Sherratt.

Best bit of Gisborne-Auckland was heading towards East Cape flying the Code 0

Approaching Colville

Suset over Auckland

Following dropping off Rob and a few hours kip, we met Woolfie at the dock at 9am to sort out the autopilot.

That weekend, we had Craig Partridge, the boys from Norths (Josh and Magnus), Dave from Hall Spars, Rob, Tony and myself for a fang on the harbour.  This was Craig's first time on Blink in a decent breeze and his smile said it all.



Blink is happily in Auckland in good time for the RNI and will hopefully see a bit more of the harbour for some racing before the RNI starts. 

8 January 2014

The Cautionary Saga Of The Stove (& hazardous bureaucracy, sans explosion)

We had pretty much ignored our stove until the photo shoot for Boating NZ, when it was put in place for the pictures.

I noticed there was no hose from the end of the plumbing in the stove recess to the back of the stove, added that to the to-do list.  The stove had been purchased from Burnsco up north, and the next week we were in Lower Hutt, so I bought some gas hose and some fittings from Burnsco and went to put it in.  But I'd picked the wrong size for one of the attachments so Vesna drove back (n.b. each visit is a 90-minute round trip, and this was #2 of several) to exchange it -- where it was pointed out to her that a law change some months ago now required a certified gas fitter to do this job.

Which is where things got interesting.  Firstly we couldn't get any of the usual options to do it for us because they hadn't done the connection from the gas bottle in the aft locker to the stove recess themselves.  Then we eventually convinced someone to do it, but only if we could prove the certification of the existing pipe run - which we were able to do via email.  They also needed to have a copy of the manual before they would start.  We didn't have that either, but Burnsco had one, they photocopied it, and we picked it up.  

The gas fitters duly arrived, fitted a pipe, and asked if the gas bottle was full.  Ah, actually, no.  I said I'd have it filled by 1pm, they arranged to come back after that.  Turns out that not many stations do gas bottle fills now, so it took well over an hour to get this bit done.  While they were gone I noticed that they had fitted a nice, solid, large valve/tap at the base of the pipe behind the stove, this clearly wasn't going to work... I expected to have to argue the point but they removed it with no discussion beyond my pointing out there wasn't room for the stove to gimbal with it there.  Then we fired it up, tested, and it worked.  Woohoo.  Working stove.

Except that this marine stove, as the astute reader may have noted already in the pic above, has no fiddles/brackets to keep pots etc on the otherwise nice smooth surface.  Astonishingly for a marine stove this is a separate kit (!).  With only a day or so left before we headed on a 700+ nm trip, an anxious phone call to Burnsco confirmed that they did have one of said kits, which they held for us.  So another 90-minute trip to pick this up.

It fitted into place nicely, with only the very very minor shortcoming that the packet we received had no screws to attach it to the pre-drilled mounting holes in the stove.  With yet another visit to Burnsco looming (they had already offered us a pipe cot at this point because we had been there so often) Gordie said he had some and disappeared to get them.  Wrong size.  Tried again with some others, all done, saga over.

But no.  The scary bit was next.

So, a couple of days later, 40+ nm off the east coast on the way north, bashing into a moderately lumpy norwester, I thought that (a) I had successfully made hot drinks in similarly bouncy seas before, (b) that morale should be substantially improved with a cuppa, and (c) we had a nice new stove that needed to be christened.  So I offered Vesna and Craig a hot drink, that they both declined, suggesting it was too rough to try.  Unusually, I wasn't quite pigheaded enough to do it anyway just to show that I could.

Which saved all of us.  What we didn't know was that the nice looking metal-reinforced shiny plastic pipe had broken.  Turns out that alloy reinforcement is great for tight corners in non-moving situations but it breaks with repeated flexing.  Say, a gimballing stove.  What would have happened is that I would have turned on the gas at the bottle in the port aft locker, made my way downstairs, probably not smelt the heavier-than-air gas pouring out of the broken pipe end and accumulating in the bilge, and incinerated/exploded the boat when I tried to light the burner.  This would have been suboptimal.

An hour or so later later we heard squeaking from the completely separated broken pipe end so knew of the problem, no cooking or hot drinks ... when we pulled in to Gisborne, a gas fitter there explained the above sequence of events, and fitted the appropriate pipe.

Which was exactly what I had bought and tried to fit in the first place.