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

6 November 2014

Brothers 2014

We managed first on line and got some great pics, but ended up a long way from a race record that we thought we might challenge ...

The forecast looked pretty good, reach/downwind out of the harbour, upwind in 20 knots to round the Brothers Islands, then a downwind blast in 25-30 to get home… Wellington’s northerly quarter winds often get accelerated and this day was no exception. The first reach and run out of the harbour were sublime, Blink led the rest of the 40-footers out of the harbour by 5 minutes, and at the south coast extended to a 15-minute lead. If the forecast held, a race record seemed possible and calculations led some friends of ours to arrange a helicopter for some photos. Unfortunately the beat up from the south coast to the other side of Cook Strait came with a 35-knot headwind, and we couldn’t keep our VMG high enough in those conditions to stay on record pace.
There was still hope, downwind with the A6 up in mid-30s windspeeds might make up some of that lost time… but it wasn’t to be. a series of lulls on the downwind kept us off full pace and then we were greeted by 35-50 knots just ahead of our beam all the way back across the south coast and then a tough beat with multiple short tacks into the harbour against 40+ knots and outgoing tide. Not so fast.
But the big wind wasn’t the scary part, the holy crap moment came when we gybed while doing 18 knots of boat speed to see a large whale about 20 metres dead ahead on our pre-gybe line. Had we not gybed we’d have hit that at speed and it wouldn’t have been nice for us or the whale.
Heli got close to us just as the breeze started to soften.  Great pics from the air by Chris Coad

Fun on the way home

Similar pic to the last one, but a bit of tilt-shift effect tinkering ...

40+ across the coast on the way home wasn't much fun though

28 September 2014

Spring Series Race 1

RPNYC's championship season got off to a typical start ... mid-20s gusting to mid-30s as we headed out to the racecourse.  We're still waiting for our new #4 from Norths - furling cable being built elsewhere - so decided that with the wind forecast to ease throughout the afternoon the heavy jib and a couple of reefs would be a good start.

Even with 2 reefs, all the crew on the rail, and full cant we still got some big hits that laid us over.  We had several 'free willy' (keel bulb out of the water) episodes that provoked discussion of whether there might be any keel walking later.  VW took this from the companionway, there's a wee bit of heel on ...

But we did manage to spend at least some time in our upwind planing mode

Joerg and Jono were looking forward to a big ride or two later - which didn't happen

We thought we'd had a nice start, hit the line at about 12 knots and got away cleanly.  Only we didn't, we were over the line at the gun by the front end of the prod, about 30cm or so.  We didn't hear the call to go back to restart over the wind noise, despite VW being downstairs with the VHF on and with another handheld VHF at the helm station.  It was blowing hard, so difficult to hear anything much.  We didn't know for the rest of the race that our result wouldn't count.

Revs lost their mainsheet block at the top mark, so withdrew from the race, and we got to the first top mark just behind Wedgetail, managed to overtake them on the way down to leading light despite being taken well of course by a ferry that was doing harbour laps.  

So we were in front at the leading light bottom mark, and just held our lead up to the next top mark after a beat with fluky/gusty conditions with monster shifts and lulls all the way back across the harbour.  We had taken out the reefs at this point.  It was after that mark when things starting not going so well.  We went a little too high after the last top mark, and ended up in a windless lane down towards Evan's Bay.  Lots of little gusts seem to appear and then vanish before getting to us.  Wedgetail was a couple of hundred metres east of us, in much more consistent breeze, and was making up lots of ground.  In hindsight we should have gybed out, taken a small loss to get into better wind.  

After that we just got more unlucky.  Wedgetail had got alongside, and forced us to gybe as we approached them on port.  No problems, all we needed was one good bit of breeze to get us to the correct side of the mark.  Didn't happen.  We might have made it but for a kite collapse about 200m out.  So we had to gybe again, late, really close to the mark.  Then the gust that we hadn't had for the last 2 miles of downwind arrived at just the wrong moment, rounded us up, right in front of Wedgetail.  Who were still on starboard.  We were not on starboard, but couldn't manoeuvre while we were on our side and Wedgetail we now moving fast and about to ram us amidships.  Thankfully Meric was able to avoid us, but in the process of their gybe the partly-down kite and boom conspired to throw one of their crew into the harbour.  

So we rounded the mark, got to the MOB fairly quickly, picked him up, Wedgetail sailed past on their way to the race win, and we went off to do our 720° penalty.  Not that it mattered, with our OCS ... but we didn't know at the time, nor did Wedgetail.

So that wasn't the result we wanted - even a finish would have been OK -  but we did many things well, and our boat handling continues to improve.  Next Saturday's race 2 might have better breeze and we're overdue for some good luck.

23 August 2014

Blink's Big Birthday

After a year of sailing and several thousand offshore miles, Rob suggested that we check that the keel mechanism was wearing as it should.

Last time we went out was a great training day...

So Blink came out last Monday for a rig check, keel and canting mechanism check, and a bit of a general workover while out of the water this week - including having some of the NPC signworks crew (Dave and Regan) from Kerikeri replace the graphics.

We also weighed the boat and rig, partly to know what it is but partly with a view to seeing how entertaining an IRC rating we might get.  It looks like our IRC weight will be in the low-3700kg area (yet to be confirmed).  The 20m mast and rigging, including running rigging, electrical cables, halyard lock, etc... was only 180kg.

Matt and Scott have knocked over a big list of jobs big and small, everything from new keel pin bushes (just a trace of wear on the front one, would have been fine but since it was all disassembled ...) to adjusting the vang height, outhaul adjustment, and refurbing the sticky halyard lock in the last few days.  We also have a new pad eye on the foredeck for the furling J4.

And lastly...
No, not a carbon bike seat for riders with severe piles, but a protector for the recurrently dented forestay well

25 May 2014

Blink RPNYC Boat of the Year

A fabulous surprise to receive boat of the year last night at the RPNYC 131st Season prize giving.  Not many other trophies this season, Blink spent most of the summer away for the RNI. Some great photos of the night taken by the fabulous Chris Coad of Chris Coad Photography.

3 April 2014

Mike Sanderson visit

We had one of those great sailing days yesterday - instead of going to work we went out in a perfect 10-20 knot breeze with Mike Sanderson - who flew down from Auckland with Rob Shaw to come out for a ride on Blink - and Mike gave us lots of fantastic advice on how to get the most out of the boat derived from his extensive Volvo 70 and Ocean Race experience. We put up pretty much every sail we had and ripped around the harbour testing and tweaking.  He had lots of great suggestions, and some pretty significant tweaks to sail setup which should have us getting around racetracks even faster.  

Vesna was having a great afternoon too ...

Not sure what everyone is looking at here.  Maybe just away from the guy with the camera ...?

29 March 2014

RNI Prize Giving

Great night at the Devonport Yacht Club. Blink won line honours - fastest boat around the North Island of NZ (7days 11hours:51mins:02secs)  (Elliott Marine Line Honours Cup). Blink is the smallest boat to win that cup. Blink also won 3rd on PHRF overall, second on PHRF for Division 1 and first on line for Division 1. 

5 March 2014

Change Tack Dunk ...

That title will make much more sense once you've seen this...

4 March 2014

Video clips from RNI 2014

In no particular order ...

First up, a clip from seven hours of fast, comfortable sailing with a heavy jib and double-reefed mainsail, in 30-40 knots northwesterly, between Taranaki and Wellington.  Boatspeed rarely dropped below 15 knots although top speeds not much over 20.

At the same time as this Bushido with a fractional code zero up were averaging just one knot faster than us, once we realised we did the same and added 2-3 knots of boat speed and started making ground on them.

This is from just after the start, leaving North Head in Auckland. Despite the conservative start we are getting near the front of the fleet here.

Leading the fleet towards Kawau, under masthead code zero

Leading the fleet towards Napier, sunset over the Wairarapa coast

Just after we rounded Colville, wind in the mid-30-knot range. Within an hour it was up into the mid-40s and we had to drop the jib and sail bare-headed under main alone for a while. The waves were surprisingly big (they always look smaller in photos/videos) given the limited fetch of the Hauraki Gulf, and of course larger as the wind built.

On the way up to North Cape, Code 0 flying again in 15-20 knots on the beam

And lastly a clip from a magical half-hour of light breeze, moonlight, sunset, dolphins... but at the limits of what the camera can capture so the video is a bit dark...

26 February 2014

Chris Skinner's (Truxton) Version of the RNI - Hilarious!

Chris Skinner is an absolute legend and funny guy.

See his wrap up of his division of the RNI.

24 February 2014

RNI ... Blink's battle for the line with Bushido

Final RNI 2014 results: Blink first overall (Line Honours)

Blink was fastest boat around the NI in total elapsed time.  Initially we had thought we were pipped in overall standings by Bushido in RNI 2014 but we weren't as we sailed faster (and longer) in the RNI.  Bushido led us to this finish line in the final leg, this came down to headsail handling problems affecting us in the last beat to windward in winds up to 48 knots (90 kph) and ~4m waves.  

Blink is a faster boat than Bushido, but our inexperience with getting the best out of her - a result of the inevitable problems with a brand new design meaning we had minimal 2-handed practice and only had her properly ready and available for racing for  just over 2 months pre-RNI - combined with the Bushido team sailing so very very well, kept them in the game. Bushido nailed their sail changes, tactics etc. pretty much all the way around. They were clever enough at the corners and strategically to always stay in touch, and when we had problems they could catch us. 

And extra respect to Wayne for (via the grapevine) wanting no part of some seriously poor sportsmanship in the last weeks leading up to the race.

I've lots of thoughts / notes, photos, some video to post which I'll get around to posting soon. Not as much as you'd think of video and pics, though... Between sailing the boat as fast as we could, some proper sleep deprivation, trying to work out tactics etc, the prior intention to take lots of pics/vids faded into the background a bit . 

Leg 1 Auckland-Mangonui

As for the entire race, we started conservatively (ie late!) to ensure we avoided start line incidents. Hundreds of miles to go, no point in getting damage or getting into protest situations.  And the way the SIs were written the only penalty available to the race committee was disqualification. So not worth mixing it up on the start line. 

With a masthead code 0 we zoomed through the fleet, leading out past Rangitoto.  Then we needed to sail a bit higher so furled this and took it down. 2-sail reaching after that we seemed fast, mid-teens boat speed, lots of spray across foredeck, etc, but Bushido and Overload (both canting keel boats) overtook us, carrying code 0s. 

Maybe we should too? Yes... and we overtook them again, we'd been underpowered and hadn't realised. Back in the lead. 

Then the tough call, inside or outside the Hen and Chicks?  
Rob had experience of several races with varied results from both, we decided to go inside (2-sail reaching again) while Bushido kept their code 0 on and went outside. You can see on the track that despite the higher angle and no code sail we didn't lose any ground here. 

But, this time, it was the wrong call and we had to sail too low after that, so Bushido stayed in touch. We  had a quick spin with the A3 which was very fast but a bit low, in hindsight we should have kept it on and lost some of the height we'd gained on return for distance to the next corner. But we used the masthead 0 instead. And Bushido caught us again, sailing a hotter angle up to cape Brett. 

After this, though, it was an upwind sail in 10-12 knots and once we were settled down, Bushido couldn't keep up. 

Leg 1 line honours to Blink.  Should have won by a much larger margin, but our inexperience with choosing optimal sail plans, and being a little conservative, meant that Bushido - who sailed really well, getting right the things we got wrong - could stay with us until most of the way through the race. 

Leg 2 Mangonui - Wellington

This started in really light wind and rain, this time the conservative start hurt us more since it was so hard to get going.  eventually we emerged in the front part of the fleet but Bushido had an excellent start and had a good 500m lead on us in very little wind.  (blink highlighted in this screen shot)

Bushido were on the wrong side of a very obvious port-starboard incident pre-start.  I was told that a protest was initiated but with the possible consequences of a protest committee decision against them (disqualification from the whole race) the protestor decided to make a gentleman's agreement to have the Bushido team give the race committee some rum and for Bushido to do a 720 just after the restart in Wellington... in my view a wholly reasonable approach given the nature and spirit of the RNI. 

Coming up to Cape Karikari, there was a decision to make: do we bear away and lose the height we'd gained, to go between the island and the cape, or do we go around the outside.  

At the time we had to make the decision, we were laying around the island so we elected to keep our height, Bushido had reached down to go through the gap, so we figured a gain to us.  Wrong.  We got headed, had to make two tacks to get around, and Bushido hooked into new, stronger, lifted breeze while we wallowed, adding a couple of miles to their previously eroded lead.  

It took all the way to North Cape to catch up again.  In a big hole just north of the cape we ghosted past  north of Bushido, looking for a bit of breeze to tack in and head for Cape Reinga.  Both of us tacked in no wind, and then it filled in at 12-15 knots from the south.  Bushido were off, powered up, while we waited. Again.  

However, on the tight reach to Reinga in 20-25 knots, we had the right sails on and Blink was just too fast and we overtook them too leeward before heading out west to pick up the predicted west shift in the 25-knot southwesterly.

We went out the furthest, sailing too far into the shift ...

So when we eventually tacked, not only had most of our lead gone again, but we were too far into the high pressure centre, and in less pressure than the boats inside us.  So Bushido were again able to keep up.  

We gybed back in towards Bushido in light air, as there was a lot of north in the wind direction where we were, and the other gybe was taking us to Tasmania which seemed wrong.  We didn't see Bushido here, had no idea where they were, but they apparently saw us.

Approaching Taranaki, there was a big forecast for further south, so we set up the storm jib on deck figuring that if Cook Strait and Stephens forecast included 40 knots then the south coast would be 50 or so.   

We 2-sail reached in 30-40 knots in big rolling waves.  We rarely dropped below 16 knots of boat speed, but didn't get much above 20.  It was great fun, scooting around and over big waves, I took some video which I'll upload later.  It was easy and seemed really fast.  What we didn't know was that Bushido were have a white knuckle ride with a fractional code 0 up, peaking at 27 knots.  They averaged just over 1 knot faster than us over 7 hours, so there went our 6-mile lead that we'd re-established and they'd overtaken us.  

When we eventually realised, we put up a FR0 as well.  Which was revelatory - several knots faster, just as easy, why didn't we do this hours ago?  Just not enough experience with the boat ...

So then we were catching up, reasonably fast.  But was it fast enough to be sure of a win?  Maybe, maybe not.  We'd be sure of overtaking and a comfy win if we could peel to our A6 kite from the FR0.  It was getting dark, but be decided it was probably worth a go, other boats far enough back that we weren't going to come third even if we had a major catastrophe.  

Which we did.  The biggest foredeck mess I've ever seen, that all resulted from mistakenly running one kite sheet under a furling cable.  Within minutes were were broaching and flogging both the A6 and the FR0.  Together, the A6 and FR0 managed to decrease the amount of flogging by wrapping around things.  Dropping the A6 resulted in the un-tensioned torsion cable grabbing and holding lots of nearby rope into a bundle.  Eventually, after an exhausting struggle in the dark, we got to bareheaded, but then had all halyards except the staysail halyard in some lovely macrame at the top of the forestay.  So the best headsail we could hoist was the storm jib.  Bushido beat us to Wellington comfortably.  

Leg 3 Wellington - Napier

Again, a conservative start in a mild southerly.  Regular Wellington sailors know that in a southerly it's a big, usually unwise gamble to head out of the inner harbour from high up on the line, but this is exactly what most of the out-of-town boats did with great success.  So our conservative (again) start at the leeward end of the line left us well behind leaving the harbour.    

And then, like many other boats, we parked up at Palliser in a big wind hole and adverse tide.  Bushido slowed down but somehow sneaked through and got away, their stern light disappearing over the horizon.  We were passed by several other boats too at this point, big lead for Bushido over the rest of the fleet.  

We eventually got going again, but well behind.  We knew there was going to be a left shift in the 30-knot northeasterly breeze about lunchtime so went out well offshore for it, hoping that Bushido hadn't done the same, or that our slightly better upwind speed would help to regain some of that lost ground.  

That worked out well.  Now we had Bushido in sight, tucked away a couple of miles behind, but knew that we couldn't afford to make any mistakes or they'd likely catch up again.  

But this time we got everything right, recognised an opportunity to use our masthead gear to claw our way back out into breeze as it died out inshore

Resulting in a second win to Blink by a huge margin, 2-1.

Leg 4 Napier - Auckland

Another light air start. Bushido again with a good start, Blink again conservative.  We had overtaken by Mahia peninsula but as the headwind got up to high 20s we needed to change to the #4 jib.  This used a neat system that worked well fully crewed but really wasn't great for short-handed.  Biggest single problem was some inevitable flogging which this time pulled through the starboard sheet and flogged it into a football-shaped knot with the port one.  This immediately made both sails untrimmable, and they flogged horribly while we tried to cope.  I ended up cutting through the ball of tightly wound rope (not fast, took a long time despite a sharp knife) and we lost our two jib sheets.  During this time we wer stalled while lots of the fleet passed us.  Eventually we got going again...

 ... and we emerged into the lead again.

We stayed in the lead up to East Cape

But some clever handling of the rounding of East Cape by Bushido meant we were exchanging the lead again, including digging well into Hick's Bay and having a worrying encounter with a fishing boat.

Then the hard call for the leg - when to tack towards the northwest in the developing header.  In our case it was just after White Island.  Perfectly timed for us, not so for Bushido

So by the time we got to the Mercury Islands, we built a 8 nm lead which due to an imperfect choice of line through the Mercury Islands (too high and too slow to get to the 'hole in the wall', should have stayed at full speed and taken a lower line as Bushido did) we'd had slip to about 6nm.  

 We were expecting 25-30 knots on the nose as we rounded Cape Colville on the final beat to Auckland and the finish line, but it was instead mid-30s, then built to low 40s and we saw some 48-knot blasts.  I was amazed at how big the waves had become given the limited fetch.

This is when we started to suffer - with our previous headsail issues we'd gone to bareheaded and the #4 tied down.  We were doing 8 knots upwind at a low angle.  We didn't know Bushido were close, we'd last seen them some distance behind, so in the severe weather decided to take a conservative approach and head for a more sheltered approach to Auckland as we were rather than trying to hoist a storm sail.  It's apparent from the tracker that Bushido were pointing much higher than us here, taking our lead away fast.  

By the time we realised our lead had gone and we had to set something up front,  we elected for a storm sail.  But out previous problems at Mahia now started to add up and this was a very slow and difficult setup that also effectively removed the possibility of changing back to the #4 (which was also falling apart). 

That was pretty much the leg for us, we had to hold our storm jib to the finish even as the wind started to drop to more sensible numbers.  Bushido got to the line before us by 12 minutes.