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 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.  


Well done Rob and Tony. Epic battle with the Bushido to come just behind them on the finish. Tough conditions with storm sails and two reefs to the finish. Awesome effort!!!!!! 

23 February 2014

Shaw Crew All Geared Up For The Finish!

Rob and Sarah's little ones with their Shaw crew shirts!  Go Dadda Go!

Last Cape - Colville

Blink is steaming along to the final Cape. With 30 knots blowing in the Harbour this will be the final slog home. Blink ahead of Bushido by nearly 9 miles. Superb catch up by Wedgetail having started several hours later and trucking along. Go Bex and Meric. 

Go Blink boys, we are all blinking in the salt spray with you!!

22 February 2014

Final Leg - Auckland

After a small delay to the start due to lack of wind, the fleet are on the last leg of the RNI to Auckland. 360 odd nautical miles rounding East Cape then the final sticky outy bit being Colville before finishing in Waitemata Harbour. 

Our Wellington friends Wedgetail had an engine issue as they were attempting to get out of their berth - a drive pin falling out and the boat needing to be cradled for it to get sorted.  No doubt a bit full on and having to worry about the tide as well with Wedgie drawing more than many of the competitors and Napier not being known as a deep water chanel or marina when the tide is out. 

They joined the fleet some hours later to not only catch up but start passing some of their sailing colleagues.  Well done Bex and Meric. 

Tony and Rob have been advised by Mike Quilter, Volvo Ocean racing legend and one of the best navigators in the world, to vacuum pack their downwind sails for this leg. It's looking mostly uphill to the finish. 

Go Blink!

20 February 2014

Leg 3 Insights

For a download of the third leg see

Wine Tour - Napier

On the special red bus to check out the fine wines of the region. Looking forward to the scenic drive. 

RNI Leg 3

A few photos of Leg 3 from the Shaw Crew on their adventure to Napier.

18 February 2014

Leg 3 - Blinkin Good

The boys finished first in sunny light aired Napier. Well done Tony and Rob! A range of conditions from a light air start, to a park up, to 35 knots on the nose and finishing in light airs. A great race. Boys about to enjoy a breakfast at the Napier Sailing Club. Breakfast looks amazing as usual by the dedicated crew of NSC. 

Thanks again to the SSANZ crew for letting me tag along to see the boys in.