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).

These numbers are from before the extra 90kg added to bulb in 2019
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
Race record 2018 Catherine Cove 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,
Brothers Islands Race 2017, Catherine Cove Race 2018, Wellington-Lyttleton 2018

26 March 2020

A couple of stories from Blink's RNI

Leg 4, Napier to Auckland, dawn of Day 2.  In the early light we can see East Island off our port bow.  We’ve ended up a little high in the SE wind, using our FR0 along the east coast has given us a decent lead on the other 40s, but has also ended up high, heading NNE, away from the Mercury Islands, our next mark, and therefore the finish.   We know we have to head north-ish, hopefully NNW, to get offshore and stay in better pressure before gybing west.  It’s supposed to be mid-to-upper 20s for most of the day so the A4 is the obvious choice.  The longer we delay putting it up the more ground we lose on anyone who might duck inside us and shorten their course.  So Craig volunteers for a salty firehosing on the pointy end as he plugs it in, then we hoist and we’re off.  The combination of the good pressure and the big rolling swell lights Blink up.  We rarely drop below 17 knots of boat speed and spend minutes at a time in the low 20s, surfing down and across the swell, sometimes long rides on the crest of a big wave, seeming to rip along many metres above the whole ocean.  About half of the time we can leapfrog to the next swell in front, and we only slow down when we hit a steep back of a big wave.  It’s fast, brilliant, exhilarating, and we know that few boats in the fleet can do this quite like Blink can.  But there’s a problem.

It’s full-on.  We’re both completely committed to steering and trimming, and can’t leave what we’re doing or we’ll end up broaching.   Well actually we did have a few round-ups, so probably more accurate to say we’d be broaching much more often if we relaxed.  We’re okay with this because the speed is brilliant, and the broaches are happening only if we slow down, when the waves can spin us, so we know the faster the better.  The problem is neither of us have slept at all.  Nor have we had a drink, peed, eaten, adapted what we are wearing to the rapidly warming day, put on sunburn cream or anything else apart from constantly manning the wheel or a winch.  We do this for several hours and get well north of East Cape before facing a gybe, which we carefully time for a combination of a lull and high speed down a wave, and we get very close to avoiding a round-up.  And then we’re off on a westerly course, just as fast and intense as before.  We see a boat on our windward beam, a couple of miles north, but we can’t identify them, firstly because our boat computer has a problem (we can’t get instrument data including AIS to show, and we also can’t get the Yellowbrick tracking data), and secondary because we can’t leave what we’re doing.  But given that over the next hour we’re leaving them behind and they are falling down below our line, we assume they’re not one of our competitors.  We later find out it was a TP52 in our fleet.  We ended up second on line in this leg, beatig several 50+ foot boats, the only boat in front of us was Wired, a canting keel 52.

Up to that leg, in the mostly upwind and light air of the 2020 race, Blink didn’t really get a chance to shine.  Upwind we’re pretty good for a 12m boat; cracked off a few degrees we’re fast, but she’s extraordinary with the wind near or behind the beam.  There hadn’t been much of that so far.  Added to that our (very logical at the time but in retrospect a move of blatant idiocy) long tack in towards Raglan in leg 1 that cost us at least 5 hours, we weren’t likely to do that well overall.  At least we got to drop and repair our MH0 while we were drifting in circles.  With a couple of small time penalties from protests added to our elapsed time, in my totally unbiased opinion we did brilliantly to come 6th out of 38 boats on PHRF overall.  But for that Raglan move … 

Thirty-six hours after the ill-fated Raglan venture, still in leg 2 past Taranaki, we’re in catch-up mode.  Mr Kite, who we probably should have been leading into Wellinton, was long gone, no chance of catching her.  Clockwork were with us, and Anarchy well ahead.  There’s still some self-respect to be recovered though, if we could beat these two into Wellington.  We’re playing our strong suit for the first time in the race, the previously light NW was building to the upper teens, we had an A2, J2, and full main up, and starting to hustle.  A quick look at the forecast and we knew how just it would play out in the strait.  Nowcasting had 30 knots at the Brothers weather station.  So, at least 2 hours before we needed it, Craig and I made a plan - based on local knowledge, forecasts, nowcasting, and knowing Blink and her sail wardrobe well.  Reef the J2 soon while it’s easy, drop the A2 just north of the Brothers, change to A6 for crossing the strait, drop for the FR0 for terawhiti to Karori or maybe Thom’s.  Looking back on it now, this was a perfect plan, it would have worked brilliantly.  So we were uncommonly well prepared, well in advance, and knew exactly what to do.  It think our undoing came from the well-in-advance part.  

What actually happened, despite that careful plan, went like this. We were mowing Anarchy down, and nearly past them by the Brothers.  This was in low 20s wind, still full main, J2.5, A2.  So we kept going to the Brothers, because the strong NW-SE tide would help, where it was still reading 30 from the Brothers weather station.  Perhaps several knots of tide would lessen the apparent wind to the mid-20s too?  As we approached, it didn’t look windy on our line between Koamaru and the Brothers.  So we kept going.  Until we were slammed over in the fastest broach I can remember, keel way up in the air and all the stuff that should have been up in the air now getting wet.  After getting upright again, waaaay overpowered, dropping an A2 in 30+ knots 2-handed with a full main up.  What could go wrong?  Oh yes, that’s right.  Awash rock. Downwind and down current. Not very far away at all with the speed we’re doing while sailing deep to drop the kite.  

Default positions, me steering, Craig forward for the drop.  Craig was again sensational at handling the sail and drop, and despite a bit of a struggle, the A2 ended up all inside the boat.   Gybed asap to clear the rocky lump, now we’re heading towards Wellington again, slightly flustered and a lot sweaty and bit tired.  Anarchy as been sailing the rhumb line and made a gain while we were struggling.  To my surprise Craig looked back at me and despite the rough water and 30 knots, said that if we wanted to catch them, which we did, the best option was the A6.  Also to my surprise I agreed.  So up it went, as fast as two tired people can get lines cleared and ready, and heavy sails brought on deck and hoisted in rough water and lots of wind. 

The angle was a little tight, but that ride will sit happily in my memory alongside the first half of 2015’s Wellington-Akaroa leg, a great antidote to Covid-related house arrest.  The front half of the boat consistently out of the water, like a giant child was pulling us through the water as a toy by the end of our bowsprit.  Once or twice serious amounts of green water over us as we ran into waves at boat speeds somewhere in the 20s.  Asking Craig if he could get one of the other crew to please put a reef in (we hadn’t quite got around to that).  Craig asking me if I had any idea how we were going to get it down.  Noting that we’d again passed Anarchy, but now we were quite low and we’d better get the A6 down if we wanted to get back up.  So down it came, and 2-sail reaching with the long overdue reef, from there. We did cross the line before them.  

After all of that, the most frightening moment of the whole race for me was when we thought Anarchy were about to sail straight over Thom’s rock, they didn't hear our radio calls on Ch16 over the wind-factory noise.  We both thought they were going to hit it, but apparently they were watching it closely on their plotter. They must have been much closer to it than we’ve ever been. 

Apart from some small issues, the months we put into personal and boat prep paid off.  We didn’t have a J4 because it was accidentally left in the loft and we couldn’t put it on during the race, we missed that dearly at Cape Reinga and after Cape Palliser.  We couldn’t get the Yellowbrick data downloads to work on Expedition so we were unable to track the fleet for the entire race, a significant tactical disadvantage that might have prevented the Raglan episode.  The previously immutable dictum that you can't anchor a race boat at Mangonui without getting damaged was again true - the strong currents and variable wind wrapped anchor chain around the bulb and tore some fairing off the fin (of minor hydrodynamic importance only).  Slopping around in little wind and the MH0 up resulted in spreader holes in the sail.  Otherwise Blink could handle everything we threw at her, with no damage or failures.  

Thanks to the best road crew ever, Vesna (happiness, provisioning, dispute resolution)  and Gordie (technical, rigging, boat cleanup, fuel, anchoring and more) who travelled the country in our car and met us at every stopover.  Sorry about the sleep deprivation from the 30-minute updates, but deepest apologies would be reserved for the times you needed to yell at the YellowBrick tracker screen because we were going somewhere daft.  

Thank you Craig for your huge commitment of time and effort, and joining me on this adventure.  You’re a great salior, excellent company, and I think we made a team with Blink that could so easily have taken a slice of podium or even the top spot. 

There'll be more stories from Blink's 2020 RNI, but I think these are probably best shared over a glass of something once the eerie isolation month is over.  Stay well in your bubbles, all.

29 February 2020

Leg 2 done!

After an epic sail of more than 600 miles, Blink finished a respectable 5th on line.  A great battle with Anarchy along the south coast and into the harbour was had beating them by a few minutes.  Tony and Craig reported a fantastic sail near the Brothers with the A6 doing speeds in the early 20s.  This was short lived and the more traditional two sail smacking into Wellington took its place.

The decision to go inland near Raglan didn't pay off but seemed right at the time according to weather models on Expedition.  Then fighting their way out of the hole to catch up to the rest of the fleet became a priority.  Running a dry boat for racing meant that no beer was on board and ice creams at Raglan were just out of reach.  Had a beer been opened, no doubt the winds would have started to increase.

The shore crew met two tired boys on the dock with beers and pies. A great finish by Tony and Craig and with a few days of relaxing, the next leg to Napier is likely to start midday Monday.

27 February 2020

Addicted to Yellow Brick!

With half hourly updates, the tracker is totally addictive!  There are loads of family and friends sending in their best wishes for Blink who is currently in the Sounds heading home.  I think you get more rest on the boat than you do being a spectator.

From Glen (Craig's sister):

"We have all been watching the boys comparing notes amongst ourselves.  They are tenacious".  "Hopefully they can play their home advantage on this inbound leg".

Blink is a few hours away now approaching the Brothers Islands.  The Blink shore crew, family and friends will be here to greet you Tony and Craig for beers, hot food and great big hugs!

Go Blink!

25 February 2020

Happy Birthday Tony!

From all the crew at Capital Eye Specialists and Resolve. Looks like everything's under control back at the surgery Tony.

Mangonui to Wellington - Update

A great clean start for Blink.  The conditions in Mangonui were superb - A2 up from the start and carried out of Doubtless Bay around the corner.  At the sched last night, Blink reported that all was well and a tough sail change at Reinga.  Not a surprise as the Shaw Crew drive to Cape Reinga and there was quite a bit of breeze up at the top.  Not to mention the two oceans meeting and the tidal/wave action that brings.  There are numerous hazards at the top including some significant reefy rocky bits.  As the rock monitor and let's not hitting anything monitor ;-) on the boat, just looking at it made me worried.  Much better to be on the boat and see the maps of such things not standing on a hill thinking about them.

Shaw Crew - Gordie and I, had a great day yesterday driving to the top.  Had a stop in Kaitaia and Houhora for a late lunch (fish and chips at the cafe in Houhora rivals Mangonui by the way).    We were too early to wave at the fleet as they rounded the top around 7pm last night while we were having fish and chips for the second time in Monganui.

Some pics of the start from the hill top and our adventures.


24 February 2020

Mangonui Done! Leg 2 - Wellington

After a great sail using mostly the MHO and A3, Blink finished approximately at 7am.  An infarction on the finish line didn't detract from an excellent effort by Tony and Craig competing against some very fast 40 and 50 footers.  Provisional Results: 2nd on PHRF and 4th on Line for Div 1 and 6th on PHRF overall.  Great effort Tony and Craig!
Results here:

With a good night's sleep, the epic Mangonui to Wellington leg starts at 12pm today.  Briefing at 9am. Over breakfast, there was loads of discussion about strategy, sail wardrobe and the most optimal run.  Provisions are done with options depending on what the conditions are. Speaking of breakfast, today it was birthday cake.  Tomorrow (25th) is Tony's birthday.  There will be more on the boat as Craig said he won't be baking; he will be too busy naviguessing, sleeping, eating, driving or trimming.  Tony said he will be having the day off.

Thank you to the Mangonui Cruising Club for your superb hospitality. In particular, Roger who drove the rib to and from all the boats yesterday - you are a legend.  We remember you fondly from the last RNI too.   Also to Pete Geary for his tirelessly enthusiastic and kind support of the RNI 2020 and all our friends and family around New Zealand and overseas watching the race.

Will keep you posted.

22 February 2020

And they are off!

As Shaw Crew we had the privilege of being on Steve and Vanessa Ashley's launch alongside the Krakatoa support crew.  With more than 40 days of no rain in Auckland, today's start was certainly not a dry one.  A great start to the RNI with 38 boats making their way to Mangonui for fish and chips.

Speaking with Tony and Craig just before leaving the dock indicated that they were ready for a seriously good and enjoyable battle.  There was much discussion in our household this morning before the start of the race of what wardrobe (apart from umbrellas) might be needed for the start line.  A3? MHO? J2?  Sail chosen was the MHO which proved to be a good choice to make it around North Head and to clear Rangitoto light.

Report from Tony and Craig for their SSANZ schedule is that all is well on board, MHO doing all the work and time for some dinner.

More  to be updated when the Shaw crew get to Mangoinui base.

RNI 2020 - Ready

After a great few days of last minute tweaks in Auckland, Blink is ready for the RNI.  Tony and Craig have been preparing for this day for more than 12 months; physically, mentally and enthusiastically.  Such a great honour to sail in the 43rd anniversary of one of the toughest yacht races in New Zealand with Sir Peter Blake as one of the founding fathers of the race.    This year there are 38 competing boats with an excellent mix in each of the divisions.   First division has a number of 50 and 40 footers.  Blink are defending overall champions for the last two Round North Island races.

Tony has sailed in two of the overall line honours; with Rob Shaw in 2014 and with Vesna in 2017.  No pressure Craig!

Our friends and colleagues from Wellington and Waikawa are Satellite Spy, Arbitare, The Guarantee, Distraction and Am Meer.  It is a huge effort to bring the boat to Auckland and be ready to start.  They effectively do the race twice.   Go hard everyone, stay safe and see you all for fish and chips Mangonui.

Follow Blink's progress here and also on the SSANZ website

8 April 2018

More 1s

Wellington to Lyttleton 2018 started at 6pm on Easter Thursday, and we knew before we started that the light wind in the first 12 hours would take away any chance of a race record time.  We knew also that we'd have trouble getting away from our competitors in the light breeze and that we'd spend quite some time being frustrated and drifting backwards.  Cook Strait - it's never like this ...

And so it was.  At dawn on Good Friday things were not good for us.  Josh Hayter's well sailed Young 11 Clear Vision was threatening to get further south than us as we headed inland.  The Thompson 38 Codebreaker team had stuck with us all night, sometimes ahead, making great use of their Code 0 and narrow waterline, also heading south as we sailed at almost 90° to the rhumb line.    With nearly half of the race over and with the rest of the fleet's handicaps significantly lower than Blink's, we figured we'd be well off the podium.  

Then the new NE, compressed by the Kaikoura ranges - the reason we'd suffered to head inshore - started.  Up went the A2 for one of the most pleasant day's sailing for a long time.  

Heading in towards Clarence River Mouth

Flat water, TWS 12 built slowly to 15 and then to 20 knots throughout a lovely sunny afternoon.  We gybed out when we were running out of water, then back in again as the breeze softened away from the land, almost to Kaikoura, then back out again to ride a gradual lift down the Canterbury coastline.

This breeze steadily built through the day, and it seemed the other boats that had stayed further out were missing out, by late afternoon we'd put ~50 miles on the rest of the fleet.  

Sunset in Pegasus Bay
Sunset with the A2 still up

Sun down...

... moon up ... full, of course, it's Easter.

The wind built further, soon just after sunset we had a hectic moonlight ride in high 20s to low 30s windspeed with the A2 and a full main still up.  Not really wise, but fast as long we kept the boat upright, which we mostly did.  

We deduced eventually that was definitely too much sail and we changed to the A4 and put a reef in.  Same 18-23ish boat speeds, and much more sensible for uprightness.   We had to gybe in the dark and, given that we expected to do badly on handicap results so we didn't need to push it toooo hard, decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valour (cowardice might have been the better part of discretion too?).  

So we dropped the A4, gybed, and hoisted the A6.  Now slightly underpowered but well in control which was just as well because we were converging on the harbour entrance with a container ship.  Frustratingly ... we'd been watching the lack of change in compass bearing for a long time since we were both doing 18ish knots.  We decided to drop our kite - maybe temporarily - to let them go ahead, slowing down to about 12 knots. The ship then also slowed to take on the harbour pilot.  Still on a collision course :-( ... So we sailed slowly, badly, deep downwind with only a jib up at the front for a few miles while we got into the harbour.  Eventually we ducked behind the ship, unfurled a FR0, and sped up a bit.  But it was the wrong sail so we tried to get the A4 back up but this was slow to organise and we ended up just going slow over the line.  No matter we thought, we're not really in the running for the prizes anyway, so what if we lost maybe 20 minutes or so in the harbour entering debacle.

But, as it turned out, the combination of our heading inshore to pick up that breeze early in the day, and the wind dropping as the rest of the fleet got to the harbour entrance, meant we ended up winning on handicap by healthy margins, ~35 minutes on Port Nich Handicap and nearly an hour on PHRF.  [Handicapping committee: please note that result is clearly an outlier due to fickle weather conditions  :-)  !]

Team: Gordie, Craig, Jason, Alex, Cobbie, Fletch, TW.  Sadly no VW as knee still not quite ready.  

6 February 2018

Catherine Cove 2018 - a set of 1s

Awesome race in a solid southerly
1st on Line, and on PHRF and RPNYC handicaps.  And another race record.

Video below ... pretty much says it all ... Welcome to the team Matt and thanks to Robin for joining us again