Edwin Delaat is a young yachtie with a dream and an action plan to make his dream come true. From a very early age Edwin has been infatuated with sailing. He lives and breaths sailing, below is a snap shot into this outstanding young man’s adventures.
White Island 2010 with Team Hyundai Promise
The 2010 running of the White Island yacht race would be a great opportunity for those heading for the Round North Island (RNI) double handed race in February to get their qualifying miles completed. Hewy, the weather God would send light testing conditions with a series of wind changes for those of us at the tail end while Team Vodafone Sailing would complete the 300plus miles in a record time of 27 hours 11 minutes. The race will also be remembered with 9 of the 21 starters posting a DNF. Results here. Perhaps the soft conditions put too much time pressure on some.
Our race started the year before when Brett and Geoff took Promise to 21.9 knots between Channel and Cuvier Islands under number 2 kite. This year we would be 4 until about a week before the start when Brett got a call from one of the Starlight crew looking for a berth. Work commitments had forced the mighty Davidson to stay on her berth. Edwin Delaat wanted another White Island race under his belt and having just completed the Coastal Classic with him on his Crac-A-Jac, I had every confidence that he would be a great addition to an already great crew.
Brett – skipper, Granta the boatbuilder (owner of Paprika) and I had sailed together for a few years on the Stewart’s, Brett’s mate Bruce sailed with us the year before during the sprint series so he was used to they way we liked to sail. Edwin was also a member of our current sprint team so he knew the boat well. We were set for a great trip.
Also racing with us this year would be our friends on SOL the sail on line sailing game almost 500 Beneteau’s with the added twist of Open Country a regular on SOL racing his own yacht 2 handed in preparation for next years RNI.
Getting the boat ready from stripped out Monday night racer to installing the category equipment was again a team effort. Bolting the fence on, loading the life raft and stocking up the food would all take place the afternoon of the race and by 6pm we are collecting Grunta from the stern of a Thursday rum racer and heading down the harbour. The breeze had been a nice 15-20 SW all day and this pressure would get us out of town to Channel Island and slingshot the speed machines out of the gulf and into the Bay of Plenty where White Island is some 150 miles away from Auckland.
The start is always important to get clean and Brett did a great job, while the boat builder does a bit of business while trimming the kite, luckily Edwin is grinding to keep us sailing fast.
Left to Right, Grunta, Brett & Edwin. I took the photo.
Nice squeeze of pressure sends us at 10 knots out of the harbour with most of the fleet. Gale Force, Geralda and Team Vodafone Sailing have elected the Rangi channel. The fleet are still together as we make our way past Waiheke Island. A gybe onto port would take us all the way to Channel Island some 25 miles away. The breeze is building nicely and Team Hyundai Pomise under mast head kite, is gliding down the waves at 12- 14 knots, a quick slice of bacon and egg pie and we spilt into our watches for a couple of hours sleep. We have elected for a 4 on 4 off system with a floater to take up the slack and help out with sail changes leaving the off watch crew able get a good rest between their tour of duty. This system also allows the floater to focus on the race and take rest when needed. On longer races the floater is rotated so that every couple of days you can miss a shift, giving you a great chance to grab that extra sleep or step in if someone is a bit crook.
Approaching Channel Island and it’s time to gybe and head towards Cuvier Island. The sea is a bit roly poly and blowing 30knots so the call is to drop the kite first hoist the Jib head towards the new corner and see if a kite is the next call. With the wind on the beam we settle in for a fast 2 sail reach and Bruce is able to claim 18.4 as he goes wave hunting off the Barrier. Must have been my weight in the bow that kept us on that wave just that little bit longer I remember it getting very quiet as we surfed our way to the first slip slop slap. Sure enough the tail lights of those ahead are all of a sudden getting very close very fast. We drift around for about an hour before Brett is able to sneak out a breeze and the bunch of lights that were around us are now behind. Good trimming and a lot of luck we’re off to Cuvier Island at 5 knots. In the last 2 hours we have gone from 18 knots to 0:0 and now 5knots. Around the Island nice and deep to stay in the pressure and sailing low to keep as much speed as we can.
Team Hyundai Promise is a windward leeward optimised yacht, cracked sheets reaching is not her strong point and we don’t have the array of swords some of the others do. No worries, we are here to do the best we can with the rags we have. Any time we can get a kite up we will. The leg from Cuvier to White Island is about 100 miles, at an average of 6 knots its going to take a while. If we have a park up it’s going to take even longer. Sure as eggs, after a few hours the breeze is dropping again this time it’s moving forward too. Time for the number 1. The day has dawned a beautiful sunny one and a great day to be out on the water.
Ahead to windward about 5 miles are 2 sails and 2 more sails in the far off distance. Behind we can see 4 sails slowly dropping back. Within a few hours we only have ourselves to race against. the fleet are spreading out and dropping out. It’s about this time we see 888 heading north and home under big genni and square top main. Our second slip slop slap is only a couple of hours away and time for some rum racing tricks to keep the bus moving. From the deep we can see a sail it’s our friends on Open Country, they have had kite issues and have gone out to sea for extra breeze and have caught up. slowly but surely they climb up to our line and by the time it’s our watch again they have done a buffalo girl on us. White Island is now in the far off distance about 30 miles way. Two kites are spotted in the east blasting their way to the rock while our SE breeze s still hiding by Hicks Bay. Instead we have dead maggott for the next 6 hours to enjoy. Time to tack to the island and hopefully get that kite out again. Just as we get to the island Hewy decides to take our breeze somewhere else and has left us with a mere zephyr.
Never mind, the day is once again a stunner and we are having a great trip. Just as dawn breaks we can see 3 more sails heading south towards White Island, they still have several hours of soft windward work to do before turning north again.
Brett & Grunta
Team Hyundai Promise heading north.
This cream run would not last, we are about to sail into another big lefty and we will need to tack to get around Cuvier Island, the return mark of the course. The breeze is now building as well, we can see a sail way inshore. Open Country, who got around the rock an hour or so ahead are now 10 miles up the track and going well after their little detour on the first night to cut a spinnaker free. As we approach the island the breeze has again softened and gone left again. Dead maggott to Channel Island and the tide has turned. We elect to work the southern shore of Great Barrier to stay out of the strong tide flow down the Coromandal side. This moves pays as we take almost 9 miles out of Open Country.
Which way now?left to Waiheke Island or strait to Kawau?
The tide is strong and turning left towards Channel Island could see us miss the corner and that would be very sad. We elect to head into the middle of the gulf to work the shifts and keep our options open. Open Country has tacked towards Waiheke Island and will be pushing tide. Hopefully we can take some more time out of them. Dolphins everywhere jumping and talking to Grunta and Edwin on the bow. Fantastic animals. A couple of little tacks and Edwin finds a lift that we ride all the way to the Noises Islands. The breeze is now about 4/5 knots and we are making great progress towards the finish.
Edwin Delaat -its a stunning day for yacht racing, despite what the weather man has told us.
Time for the kite again. Up goes our wind seeking Kite and over on the Waiheke shore we spot a sail. Must be Open Country, who else would be sailing in these conditions unless you were racing? A few moments later, Open Country are on the radio declaring that they are in the channel and are informing race control they are nearing the finish line. They are on one side of Rangi, we are on the other, they have less distance to sail, we have more breeze. The race is on again, can we get enough breeze to keep us going and buffalo girl them? Just to remind us who’s in-charge, Hewy takes all our wind again. But wait, what’s that dark line advancing on us from the North Shore? Breeze? Could be, then down with the kite up with the Jib, we are on the wind again and can only just make the Rangi light house, crack sheets and where is Open Country, no sign, have they managed to stay ahead? Then, in the far off distance I see a sail against Browns Island, Keep sailing fast Brett I think we nailed them. A call to race control and we are heading for the finish at 6 knots. However Hewy is knot finished with us yet, just as we cross the tide to lay Orakei we get another little lefty, 3 more tacks to cross the line and the time keeper waves out. We call to thank him and to confirm we have finished when Open Country call to say they are about half an hour away. The offer of a settling rum is received, later stories of the trip are exchanged with the typical yachtie humour, we all look forward to the next time we meet.
All the best with your RNI next February.
Hope your kite is fixable
Team Hyundai Promise 73 hours 29 minutes.
Open Country 74 hours 21 minutes.
2 handed to Russell – 2010 Coastal Classic – Crak-A-Jac
Photo by Me, Edwin Delaat & Crac-A-Jac
My first 2 handed Coastal Classic on the 2nd smallest yacht – Farr 727 Crac-A-Jac
The coastal Classic Yacht race from Devonport to Russell wharf would be my 24th Coastal but my 1st 2 handed. 2 handed meaning there would be only 2 of us sailing the yacht for the 119mile race from Devonport wharf to Russell wharf. An annual event now in its 29th year and the largest coastal yacht race in the southern hemisphere with almost 200 entrants. The race is open to yachts that can achieve a safety rating of cat 3. That means we carry flares, life raft or dinghy, cooking facilities and more. yachts that take Friday night to complete the race opporate watch systems to keep racing through the wee hours before sunrise. The old scout moto of “Be Prepared” is put to the test in more ways than one.
Our preparation included competing in the SSANZ 2 handed series of 3 races and Edwin Delaat’s yacht Crac-A-Jac was ready and Edwin was keen. Edwin Delaat is unbelievable, a yachtie ahead of his time.
Our 2 handed result and our team work mix is fantastic. Right from day 1 we gelled like we had been sailing together for years. As the race day approach we were both watching the big high in the mid Tasman send us the conditions a little race boat could compete in, the planets were lining up the moon would be full, we would likely have an incoming tide to the finish. A lot of green ticks were falling into place.
The weather was described by Bob McDavit as classic and the breeze direction would be perfect for an easy run up the coast.
Dawn, a great breakfast of bacon and eggs, pack the last of the fresh food and we’re off to Crac-A-Jac by 06:45am to beat the commuter traffic. Load the gear, flake the main onto the boom and head around to wish TeamVodafone good luck for the record attempt, Limit and the class40 were still loading stores, while Revs are still in bed when we leave the viaduct. Once out of the viaduct the main is hoisted and we make our way slowly down past the wharf, check in, and continue on round north head to check the building breeze. Heading back to the start area we are buzzed by some of the bigger yachts also getting ready for what would be a champagne ride up the coast to Russell.
Our Start is at 1020am and we elect to start a few lengths behind at the leeward end of the line to be able to gybe early and get into the first of the breeze out of North Head. Sticking to our game plan we are in very good shape at the turn with most of our division either to leeward or behind. Glamour crew work and smart sailing is keeping us intouch with the big yachts. The only other yacht with the same handicap is already 500 meters behind at North Head and by halfway to Tiri they are dropping out of sight. Geralda a sports yacht of about the same size is enjoying her perfect conditions and as you would expect of a down wind trailor yacht she is quickly sliding north.
Photos by Eddie, @ Nordic Marketing
Approaching Tiri passage the breeze is bending south and a couple of gybs to stay in the best pressure sees us call in at Flat Rock just two and half after the start. We still have many of the big yachts around us, The great thing about starting after the A division is you get to see what is happening to the breeze further up the track. In 10 knots of breeze we are not going to go fast enough to justify adding the extra miles going outside the Hen would add so we tried to sail the shortest route and perhaps put some easting in after passing Sail Rock, our second sched reporting land mark. The yachts ahead are getting rid of the kites as the breeze is bending west. Dropping the kite and going to headsail would be slow for us so we elect to sail high on course and then go back to kite to zig and zag our way up the rumbline, doing this we are able to hang on to the bigger yachts and by the time we make Sail Rock we still have most of the big cruisers behind us.
Photo By Edwin Delaat
Once past the Hen we hoisted the kite and sailed as high as we could without giving away any speed. This meant we were sailing very low towards the Poor Knights. However the sun was setting and the breeze was backing into the south for the knight. A few hours down the track the breeze is only 8 knots and tracking south allowing us to bend up towards The Brett in good shape with good speed and plenty of searoom from those high hills of Cape Brett. Our watch system is working well with Edwin able to get his head down a couple of times and around midnight it’s my turn for a power nap or 2.
The breeze is now only 8 knots in the puffs however the little waves are pushing Crac-A-Jac forward at a good pace
As we approach the Brett we can see more white lights appearing over the horizon. We are catching the bunch ahead and staying off shore a little is now paying big dividends. We call Coast Guard at 04:15am to say we are rounding Cape Brett. The breeze is dying very fast, but we can give the Brett a very wide berth trying to stay in the best pressure, carrying the kite as far as we can before going to number 1 and tacking our way into the Bay. It’s time for my second sleep and Edwin is crawling Crac-A-Jac in the 3knots of southerly slowly picking off the cruisers who are not happy slopping around in the gentle early morning mist. Crac-A-Jac is giving the soft conditions her best shot and we elect to work the left to position ourselves for the changing tide which is now only 1 hour from the turn. This means we are able to pass more sleepy yachties who are too slow to react after a big night on the water. We are still racing hard, trimming hard and working the tide as best we can.
Inching our way around Tapeka Point, a place where many coastals are won and lost. Passing the rocks we check our progress against the land to ensure we are still gaining on the finish. Just up ahead are 2 big fat cruising caravans blocking our way, then to add insult to injury 2 big launches who don’t give a shit thunder past kicking up a steep wake and Crac-A-Jac comes to a halt for the first time in 23 hours. Only briefly though, a new breeze is building from the north west and our kite is hoisted and set to capture the gentle zephyrs passing the cruisers to windward we buffalo girl the other 6 or so caravans. 5 sail changes in sight of the finish and we are welcomed with a cheer from the bay and a confirmation from the finish boat. a great sail. a fantastic finish – trimming and working until the end. Thanks Edwin, I didn’t want it to end.
Photo by Margaret (Edwin’s Mum) Crac-A-Jac crosses the finish
A quick tidy up and Sea Harmony offer us a raft up, Jono from Safety at Sea, tell us Edwin’s family are on the wharf and keen to congradulate us on a fine performance. After a settling beverage and a quick tidy up we head for the beach. catch up with what’s happening on shore then get ready for the afternoons celebrations.
Rodney Keenan from Evolution Sails is boat captain for Limit, the line honours monohull winner of the 2010 Coastal Classic. After hearing our story, he called me to see if Edwin would like to join him for a Friday Rum Race on Limit.
I get to do the runners while Edwin gets to steer. Almost instantly Edwin is guiding this racing machine to 10knots and quickly showing a clean stern to the fleet. The crew is a collection of locals and permanent crew.
Below, FOC enjoys a settling beverage while multi tasking with the main sheet. All that great Bucks training put to the test.
Thanks Rodney, a nice surprise to end the week
Yours truly and Edwin with our collection of trophies.
Crac-A-Jac 1st overall Farr 727 Division SSANZ
Teenager’s two handed crack at coastal race
By Mike Rose
This year’s Coast Classic fleet will include a keen 14-year-old, sailing two-handed in his own 35-year-old 7m yacht.
Edwin Delaat is not your average young sailor. Not only has he a rather impressive CV, he has also declared his intention to sail in a Volvo Ocean Race. However, unlike other young sailors with similar ambitions, this young man is forging a rather unconventional path.
While most budding young sailors focus on the traditional youth classes until they are adults, Edwin has supplemented his career in dinghies by sailing in adult keelboat classes. Even more impressively, he has done so aboard a boat he saved for and owns himself.
This winter, the young Delaat spent the cold, wet and windy months tackling the grueling B&G Simrad two-handed series in his little Farr 727, Crac-A-Jac.
And the young competitor wasn’t there to just make up the numbers, either. In each of the progressively longer races, he collected a podium finish in his division.
Harold Bennett offers Edwin words of encouragement
SSANZ 1st race just after rounding North Head we were able to squeeze every puff of wind to help us win our division – 1 down 2 to go
Royal Akarana Yacht Club Academy Sailor of the Year 2010
Academy Sailor of the Year RAYC 2010
You’ve just taken part in the Auckland to Denarau ocean race – what was that like?
The Auckland to Denarau ocean race 2010 was challenging. We had a mixed bag of weather, from lots of wind, to no wind to light winds but we got there and had lots of fun. The guys on board Starlight Express are an awesome bunch with a lot of experience between them and I learned a lot. We all got on extremely well and they made it a most enjoyable race for each one of us, with many thanks to all.
The forecast was for some fairly big swells; did they affect you?
Some of the crew got a little seasick on the first day, including me, but after that it was like a roller coaster until it eased off. The swells did not really bother us much and surfing the swells was awesome.
What was your favourite part of the Auckland to Denarau ocean race?
My favourite part was my birthday on the 25th of May. The guys really put it on for me. There was a monster choc mud cake and some fireworks to celebrate my dream birthday about half way between NZ and Fiji.
Is it hard to get people to take you seriously sometimes, because of your age? Do you have difficulty getting people to let you take part in events?
You always get people saying this and that. I ignore those comments and often feel sad for those who try to bag me. It is not always easy to be taken seriously but most yachties are enthusiastic about the sport and prepared to listen and give sound advice. I have heard all the ‘yeah yeah yeah’ but (it has) dropped (off a bit) by now. I selectively collect the positive advice – and there is plenty to draw from. My former mentor/coach Michelle Gilfoyle has taught me how to cope with a variety of situations. Mike Wilson, skipper of Starlight Express has given me many opportunities on the basis of my ability and determination and I’ve been able to learn lots.
Which race/event is next on the agenda?
I am now preparing my boat Crac-a-Jac to do the SANZZ B&G SIMRAD Triple Series again like last year. This is a two handed triple series (one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere) of 50, 60 and 100nm.
The Auckland to Denarau Ocean Race 2010 got away in the most fabulous weather conditions. The crews of all the participating boats had smiles all over.
Edwin Delaat crew member on Starlight Express was being interviewed by TV crew. Thirteen year old Edwin understood conditions were to worsen and having to prepare for the big expected low of 981 near North Cape with swells of 8 meter or more. Starlight Express, a Davidson 55 and no stranger to off shore events, most notably winning IRC and division A in the 2002 Sydney to Hobart. Edwin Delaat is surrounded by highly competent fellow crew and feels quite safe.
seen here finishing a two handed race
Farr 727 National Championships – 06 and 07 February 2010.
Royal Akarana Yacht Club sailors Edwin Delaat 13yrs and Olivia Mills 14yrs are taking on the Farr 727 fleet on ‘Crac A Jac’ the much beloved keeler skippered and owned by Edwin Delaat.
Edwin Delaat sailed Crac A Jac in last years Farr 727 National Championships and managed to finish fourth place.
He also competed in last years B&G SIMRAD Two Handed Triple Series. The thirteen year old finished second on handicap in the September SIMRAD 100
His story is only just beginning
Starlight Express – ANZ Auckland to Denarau Ocean Race 2010
Outrageous Fortune – RNZYS Winter Series 2010
Elliphunk – Friday night Rum Racing 2010
Celandine – NZ Marine Cup 2010
Petrel – Classic Yacht Regatta 2010
Starlight Express - Balokovic Cup 2010
Starlight Express – Gold Cup Series 2009
Elliphunk - Squadron Winter Series 2009
Ragtime/Infidel – Classic Yacht Regatta 2009
Ragtime/Infidel – 2009 Millennium Cup Pacific Series
Ragtime/Infidel – RNZYS – Squadron weekend 2009
Ragtime/Infidel - Auckland Anniverary Regatta 2009
Starlight Express – Nexus Gold Cup Inshore Series 2008/2009
Ragtime/Infidel - Fusion Round White Island Ocean Race 2008
Starlight Express – HSBC Premier Coastal Classic 2008
Twelve-year-old Edwin de Laat has certainly earned his sea legs.
But he doesn’t have the paperwork to prove it – yet.
The Waiatarua schoolboy made history last month as one of the youngest people to pass his Coastguard’s boatmaster exam with an impressive score of 87.5 percent.
But Coastguard boating education spokesman Neil Murray says Edwin is too young and can’t get the certificate until he turns 15.
Edwin isn’t too worried.
He’s got a new toy to keep him happy.
“My father made a bet with me,” he says.
“He said if you pass it, I’ll buy you a keeler.”
Edwin first came to the Western Leader’s attention in 2006 when, along with his sister Kathlyn, he passed the Coastguard’s restricted VHF radio operators course.
His dad Adrian is somewhat taken aback by his son’s interest in boats.
He and his wife initially thought it was just a childhood phase when Edwin first started talking about yachting as a child.
“But he hasn’t dropped a beat since he first started talking about boats,” Adrian says.
“I’ve always had a bit of an interest in boats – but not like him – he’s a fanatic,” he says.
Edwin is a member of the Royal Akarana Yacht Club where he races in the Optimist, 420 and Cadet classes.
He came first in the Optimist class during the club’s winter series and has some big goals ahead – including the Auckland Anniversary Regatta on January 26.
His long-term ambition is to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, formally known as the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.
He has already stolen the hearts of the close-knit Auckland yachting community.
And later this week Edwin Delaat will write his name in the sport’s history books by becoming the youngest owner and skipper in the iconic yacht race, the HSBC Coastal Classic.
Delaat is just 13 but the Henderson schoolboy can legitimately claim to be a genuine sea dog and owner of an already impressive sailing resume.
He has a skipper’s licence and his own marine radio call sign, plus a Boatmaster certificate and advanced sea survival qualification. He’s attained all these in just three years.
But his most impressive achievement has been a near lifelong labour of love.
When Edwin was just four, he told his father, Adrian, he wanted to own a boat. He realised his dream nearly a decade later when he became the owner of a run-down Farr 727.
He saved cash he earned doing odd jobs, buying and selling anything and everything from old boat parts to scrap metal, and bought a 7.27m yacht called Crac-a-Jac, which was in bad repair when he took possession.
The hull resembled a “mussel farm”. But after an extensive refit, it’s now pristine, and earlier this year finished fourth (on handicap) in the Farr 727 nationals.
Edwin was, of course, skipper, ordering around three crew members, twice and three times his age. His reputation is now growing, as is his story.