It has been a few busy days since the last race at Greenwich. On Thursday I was preoccupied connecting the NBN HCF connection and on Friday preparing Passion X for a quick exit to Pittwater on Saturday. The weather was perfect for a very tight beat up and a broad reach home. The beat was perhaps just 2 degrees tighter than I would have liked and the speed difference was noticeable but I was too lazy to bear away and have to tack back out to sea.
At Refuge Bay the boom tent awnings provided excellent protection from the sun and Passion X was more comfortable than Passion by a long way. On the run home we did miss the Bimini but made up for it with long pants, long sleeved shirt, wide brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen.
I was disappointed with last weeks race at Greenwich. It was almost a retrial of a race earlier in the season where I said I would like a resail with the No 4 jib instead of the No 3. Well it was better on the work to Goat Island and on the run back to Cockatoo and we were still in contact at the West end of Cockatoo island until we became becalmed in too close to the lee of the island. The small jib and reefed main need plenty of wind to keep the boat moving and we had none of that.
The second windward work was also very gusty but with a lot of holes and in the holes we suffered probably more than most and the gains in the gusts were not material. The final disappointment was to see Soundtrack pull out the reef in the main and with a much larger genoa just power away from us on the work home from Cockatoo Island.
Well done to the crew on Flashback who set a very conservative rig for the first windward work and held on for a good win. We expect Much Ado 5 to do well and they did come second with a heavy air loving Lisdillon beating us by 4 minutes over the line and 7 minutes on handicap.

Antifouling touch up on Passion X

Antifouling touch up on Passion X

While the top guns from Dump Truck and Much Ado V were away playing with Infotrac the rest of the GFS Black fleet enjoyed the YOTS night at the club. A group of enthusiastic youths from Youth Off The Street descended on the club and we were fortunate to have three strong young men join Passion X for their first sailing experience.
We were delighted to give them a close race with Jackpot and Flashback and even more delighted to score a fastest times win.
Courtesy of our photographic ambassadors we have some more photos from the evening.
The race was conducted in the aftermath of a rain and lightning front that had me a bit concerned. The BOM rain radar suggested it would all clear up in time and so it did with the wind returning right on cue.
With the change in wind direction the only was to cross the line was on starboard tack but for some reason a couple of port tackers forgot what was their left hand and what was the right hand and even refused a call. To make matters worse they tacked onto starboard on front and forced us up above our line. No wonder we were not first into Humbug and had to chase Jackpot down the course in just a couple of knots of breeze.
It was pleasant with the three young guns on the bow lifting the stern of Passion X right out of the water and reducing the wetted surface. We had just snuck past Jackpot and were still in front of the menacing Flashback when fresh wind sprung up turning the run into a tight work to Goat Island. Being in front helped as we had first use of the breeze and held the lead around Goat and back past Snails Bay. In Snails Bay the YOTS trio provided live ballast so we could take advantage of the last gusts to come up the river.
Jackpot and Flashback were giving each other a bit of treatment behind and that left us to concentrate on using what fluky wind there was.
Through Humbug our first two tacks were right out of phase and the chartplotter tracks show how easy it was for Flashback to catch and lead us out of Humbug. Our salvation was a starboard tacking red fleet yacht that put Flashback about leaving us free to sail closer to the lay line to the finish. We took advantage of that piece of luck from to windward and Jackpot took advantage from leeward to establish the finishing order.
Nothing it seems can stop Sweet Chariot winning on handicap with a naughty 35 footer in second place while we managed the third spot for the night.

Today we had lift at Woolwich Dock to touch up the antifouling on Passion X and it was a stunning Sydney day for the task.

Passion X enjoying first us e of the new breeze

Passion X enjoying first us e of the new breeze

Passion X leading into Humbug with the YOTS trio on the bow

Passion X leading into Humbug with the YOTS trio on the bow

Passion X takes the gun

Passion X takes the gun

 

Light duties are driving me nuts since I would rather be out on the water testing sail settings on Passion X than sitting at home writing blogs. I am also mortified that my gentle observation on my face book page that we need to do better to sail to our difficult ORCi and ICR ratings was cheekily construed by a “friend” as wielding the cat o nine tails whip. The crew has already rejected T shirts bearing the observation “The beatings shall continue until morale improves” so perhaps I am just digging a deeper hole by raising the topic. Despite my disbelief at the level of our ratings in both forms of the game (ORCi and IRC) I do believe we are not sailing the yacht to its potential. The crew have observed some very good performance and we would like to emulate them more often. Some recent very good photos of Passion X on a twilight evening at Greenwich Flying Squadron gives a basis for comparison with the really top gun boats in the 40 ft size range. Tongue in cheek, but perhaps more seriously than that, I have found a few photos for comparison. Apart from the rather obvious large numbers of crew leaning hard from the rail of Invictus there are some sail setting observations worth considering. These Fast 40+ yachts have wider spreaders and despite that their sails when beating in heavy air are well wide of the spreaders and their booms are dropped to leeward. This is something we need to experiment with and find how to have such a free leech with out it flogging in the wind or hooking with a tight leech line.

Passion X current windward sail settings. This was in a light patch of an other wise average 13 knot evening.

Passion X current windward sail settings. This was in a light patch of an other wise average 13 knot evening.

Invictus at a similar angle to Passion X in the first photo with some minor changes to crew positions

Invictus at a similar angle to Passion X in the first photo with some minor changes to crew positions

Girls on Film on starboard crossing Invictus on a hard windward beat.  Note the jib twist and boom down.

Girls on Film on starboard crossing Invictus on a hard windward beat. Note the jib twist and boom down.

I am on light duties for a couple of weeks so the light weather on Wednesday night was just what the doctor ordered. For most of the night I occupied the back corner with Elaine and we shared the back stay duty. From the stern I could get a very good view of the mainsail and played the back stay on and off according to the strength of the breeze. After eight months of sailing Passion X I was still surprised at how responsive the mainsail is to back stay tension and Ron was able to leave the mainsheet in the one position for much of the windward works. In the light conditions we drifted out of Humbug with the fleet closely packed. Dump Truck had her nose in front at the exit and was first to the breeze. Soundtrack had edged ahead to leeward and also took off early so there was a good crowd going down the side of Cockatoo Island. From recall we had Flashback to Leeward on starboard and Soundtrack in front when a competitor pushed through inside alongside the continuous obstruction and then wanted room to not hit Soundtrack. We could have argued all night but rule 14 says avoid a collision and I was in no mood for a protest hearing so I told the crew to let it go. My reading of all the discussion on continuous obstructions is that the yacht passing inside must have a clear path and that includes all other yachts ahead which are obstructions. If the passing yacht is naturally faster and has a following wind that blankets the clear ahead yacht then there is no way they should go inside. If they want to be there they have to win the race to the corner of Cockatoo Island. Irukandji was having a good night and threatening to go inside around the end of the island so we pinched up into the dirty air of Soundtrack and which was not the fastest place to be. Soundtrack and Jackpot ahead drew away while we had an absorbing tussle with Irukandji and Flashback all the way to the finish line. Flashback made a huge gain alongside the Greenwich shore while we lost out on the Balmain shore but with all the wins and losses we came together at the navigation mark off Goat Island with Flashback streaming in on starboard. It did not help our case that Irukandji had just tacked onto port above and overlapped so that we had no where to go to other than take Flashback’s stern below the navigation mark. Perhaps it was the outgoing tide or the lift off the sails of Flashback but just as we tried to tack we lifted to the mark and scraped around it with inches to spare. Once we regained our composure it was time to chase Flashback down and try to stay in front of Irukandji. From my perch at the back of Passion X I aimed the Gopro camera at Irukandji and ordered her to stay behind. I aimed it at Flashback and noted her sweet sail settings and tried to emulate them on Passion X to a degree of success. We made a little break on Irukandji which lasted to home and soon ran down Soundtrack. The fleet ahead of Jackpot, Dump Truck and Much Ado V were becalmed in Humbug and we hoped for another miracle by hugging the Onion Point shore. Flashback ahead had to tack away from the shore while we lifted further along and were able to tack back ahead. (Thank you wind gods) From behind Irukandji also caught Flashback to add to the insult. Our fourth across the line was a little undeserved but as always we take what crumbs we can. Talking about crumbs the series wrapped up tonight and we were 4th fastest over the spring. There was a tight race between Jackpot, Flashback and Passion X and to be fair Dump Truck might have won had the paper work been in order but as I said we take what crumbs we can.

Stay there Irukandji

Stay there Irukandji

Nice trim on Flashback sails ahead

Nice trim on Flashback sails ahead

Fastest times result for the spring series

Fastest times result for the spring series

For those with deep pockets who want to race at the front of the Greenwich Flying Squadron Black fleet on the Wednesday night social race they can do little better than look at the Ker 40+ Invictus that is now up for sale at GB Pounds 575.000.00. Google translates that to AUD 1,006,700 but you might be able to haggle the seller down to under a million as you will need another $25 grand to get it to Aus.
My guess is that it will rate 1.3 and do well in the super 12 regatta at Port Stephens if they go there again.
Our Passion X rates around the 1.1 for which I am very crooked on the handicappers but be that as it is, it cost around AUD200,000.00 For five times the cost we could go 18% faster. My quick calculation is that this is A$44.000 per percent of boat speed.
Since Invictus was launched she has has a foam filled bow added and a keel modification and the designer has more go fast ideas in mind.
We all want to go faster and on Sunday at Middle Harbour Yacht Club I had a look at Show Time a 2011 Ker 40 that rates 1.2. Since launch, from the ORC rating certificates, it appears she has shed half a tonne of weight and grown a deeper keel. Also the mainsail has gone up 5 m2 and all this has increased the rating from 1.13 to 1.2. Regardless of results they seem happy sailing in the Super twelve fleet.
There is a demo MC 38 for sale at A$375,000 and that rates around 1.2. The draft at 2.8 metres would also be an issue but in terms of bang for buck it would seem cheaper speed than Invictus. On a dollar per percent increase in speed (compared to Passion X) it is a more realistic $19444.00.
Now there are practical limits to keel depth if you want to finish the GFS Twilight race without running aground. We draw 2.45 metres and have already touched the soft muddy bottom up the Lane Cove River and we are nervous sailing the Drummoyne shore.
We are not at a draft disadvantage compared to Dump Truck, the Ker 11.3 that draws 2.4 metres but they have less in the carbon hull and rig and more in the keel for a massive increase in righting moment compared to our epoxy ply hull and alloy rig. This shows up in the ORC speed guides where the Ker 11.3 is quite a bit quicker to windward than Passion X and we are supposed to catch them off the wind with with frequent sail changes. (Yeah! Right!)
On the plus side we have 600 litres of water storage if we want to fill it up. hot and cold running water with inside and transom showers and a big powerful fridge to get the beer cold during the twilight race.
With that in mind it must be time to take Passion X up to Pittwater relaxing along the way as the autopilot looks after the steering.

This post is both pre and post op. The post op is from a fibre reinforced David who is feeling pretty well.

Last night we improved on our previous race and finished fifth fastest. The fresher than expected breeze faded at the end of the race stringing the fleet out a little more and favouring the front runners for handicap places.
Dump truck gave the fleet another lesson but this time it was mainly in how to sail fast so it was Dump Truck then daylight followed by a fast improving Jackpot.  Flashback with a new genoa just held out Much Ado V and we followed across the line.
With the light winds forecast the course setters sent us out around Cockatoo Island then to Goat Island and home. The breeze freshened at the start and stayed around 12 to 15 knots for almost the whole hour of the race. In anticipation of sub 10 knots we set the 140% genoa and a full main which served us well on the reach out of Humbug and run around Cockatoo Island. Once on the work to Goat Island Dump Truck and Flashback, who were ahead,  drew away and Jackpot overtook us along Cockatoo Island. Much Ado V caught us by Long Nose and Ausreo was right on our stern. A combination of our dirty air and lightening winds allowed us to hold out Ausreo until we could reach away at an angle more favoured to Passion X.
We were clearly overpowered to windward. At 10 knots we are at our limit for maximum boat speed. At 14 knots we should have a reef in the main and the No 3 jib to windward and full sail area downwind.  The struggle is to find the right sail combination for upwind and downwind or like Flashback last week change down and then change up the headsail. I was reading the post on Sailing Anarchy

http://sailinganarchy.com/2017/11/21/maybe-not-completely/

But this speed is crazy. In the last race, we were the king of the light and medium air but we were not fast in heavy weather so we worked really hard to find solutions this winter and this investment has paid off.”

So I think we need to work really hard and we will find a solution. I would like last week’s race over again with the No 4 jib and the main reefed and I would like last night’s race again with the No 3 jib and the full main. But considering what we had up I think we sailed pretty well by adjusting the rig for the up and down conditions and we will improve with more time on the water.

The other  post on Sailing Anarchy also caught my eye

http://sailinganarchy.com/2017/11/21/dummy-of-the-day/

So our little pre race bottom touch in the soft mud could have been worse.

Overnight some good photos came in courtesy of Peter Miller.

Dump Truck is already in Humbug but here is Flashback, Jackpot and Much Ado V making up the fleet ahead of Passion

Dump Truck is already in Humbug but here is Flashback, Jackpot and Much Ado V making up the fleet ahead of Passion

Passion X just  ahead of Soundtrack beating to Goat Island

Passion X just ahead of Soundtrack beating to Goat Island

Passion X close up

Passion X close up

Passion X from the stern

Passion X from the stern

The Big Ausreo arrives on the scene

The Big Ausreo arrives on the scene

Followed by Lisdillon

Followed by Lisdillon

Fireball and Sweet Chariot fight it  out

Fireball and Sweet Chariot fight it out

I have a many small tasks to complete on Passion X before she will be fully finished and today I tackled a few that needed some epoxy undercoat. I had already made up intricate backing pieces for the bolts holding the bowsprit. These had been shaped and painted and now needed to be epoxied inside the anchor locker and finished off with a final coat of epoxy. An extra coat of epoxy was added inside the bolt holes to lock out the water. As I worked away in the confined space of the anchor locker I noticed the area where the latch was fitted was unpainted so it received a coat of clear epoxy and a couple of coats of white epoxy wet on wet to seal the edge of the plywood. This is a really strong area of the boat as I put a 12 mm ply doubler on the hull side to carry the load of the bowsprit and two 12 mm ply doublers on the deck side to compensate for the hole in the deck for the lid of the locker. It is no coincidence that it looks like a J122 anchor locker including a matching latch.
The surplus epoxy primer/undercoat was used for a few tiny touch up jobs and to coat a section of backing ply inside the vanity in the head. It has been unpainted since March but the head is so dry that the piece of ply was as new. Now it has a couple of wet on wet coats of white epoxy to protect it.
When we first launched we were getting a little salt water into the head. After a bit of investigation the source was found to be the outlet for the sink. Passion X is a light boat and heels to 30 degrees in a breeze. At that angle and with wave action some sea water was pulsing up the drain. When racing I now turn the outlet valve off and that has solved the problem. An alternative would be to put a right angle outlet on the sink and lead the hose towards the centre of the yacht but the extra distance is quite small and I suspect water would still pulse up the pipe in a big seaway.
The tiller was manufactured the day the yacht was lifted out of the back yard and with not a lot of spare time before launch it received just two coats of clear epoxy. I sanded it back and gave it another coat today but the rain came before the coat was fully cured so it might be a rinse and repeat task for later in the year. We have modified the angle of the tiller from the plan by gluing a hardwood wedge to the underside where it fits into the stainless steel head. This lifts the tiller and gives more clearance for the knees of the crew.
Following up from yesterdays disappointing race I re positioned the first reef line so that it is fixed to the boom behind the slug on the boom bag. We will now be able to flatten the foot more when we have the reef in the main. Both the first and second reefs come to the boom next to boom bag slugs and I will have both moved soon to give a bit more room to adjust the foot depth when we are reefed.
I am annoyed with myself for not fixing this issue sooner. Almost as annoyed as setting the No 3 jib last night instead of the No 4.

Very briefly we were shown on the Greenwich Flying Squadron results as leading the fastest times point score for the Spring series but after the pride there is always the fall and tonight there were seven in front and three behind.
On reflection the wind was similar to race three when we were third fastest so what was different?
At the front end of the fleet tonight the crews of the Ker 11.3 twins,Much Ado V and Dump truck, put in a very impressive performance. To windward they were particularly strong. Both yacht carried what I would call a No 4 jib and a reefed main and on the course they had the mains out wide in the gusts. Flashback had a very large crew on board and at the presentation skipper Brian paid tribute to the crew doing two headsail changes out on the course. The live ballast on the rail from the fifteen crew would also have helped in the heavy conditions.
Jackpot had their temporary secret weapon on board manning the mainsail ably assisted by a young strong winch man winding it back on. They had similar issues to Passion X and like Passion X they moved their jib cars back and played the main very aggressively. Unlike Passion X they had enough power to handle the conditions.
On the work to Goat Island, Soundtrack picked up a left shift above Passion X and lifted well above us and were never seen again until the race ended.
We had a good tussle with Lisdillon who likes a bit of breeze and was handling the breeze better with a full mainsail than Passion X was with a reef in the main.
Ausreo is a big powerful beast and once she wound up she slowly caught Passion X. She went inside us at Onion Point on the way home and then called for room to tack. There was not room to go through the obstruction so she should not have been there but once she was inside us the only polite thing to do was to give them room to tack. Another place lost on the way to the line was a bit of a dampener on an already disappointing evening.
We did hold out Fireball, Irukandji and Sweet Chariot but only by a short distance and only after strong performances by these three on the beat to Goat Island.
We did much better in race three with the No 4 jib and the reefed main. In that race we took the reef out and lost a place to Lisdillon but possibly saved a place on Flashback. Tonight Flashback was so far in front of Passion X we could not do worse than to revert to the No 4 jib for the beat and take the reef in the main out for the run back to Cockatoo Island.
With the reef in the main we could not pull the foot out as flat as I would like because the reef line was in front of a slug on the boom bag. It seems a small issue but the fullness in the main cancelled some of the benefit of the reef.
We rounded up a lot tonight which is the first time we have experienced this as a persistent and troublesome issue. I was encouraged be Steven Bradley’s observations on the performance of Jackpot in the same conditions and that was the main needed to be dumped aggressively and wound back in just as strongly. As well as move the jib cars back they did tension the jib halyard and that was one area we could have given some attention to.
Above all I think we had too much sail area for the first three quarters of the race and had we had the No 4 jib up we might have taken out the reef for the last run through Humbug.

Jackpot on the way back to the finish with no reef in the main.

Jackpot on the way back to the finish with no reef in the main.

Flashback on the way to the finish with a reef but  a big genoa after a headsail change

Flashback on the way to the finish with a reef but a big genoa after a headsail change

For our part the order of the title for this post was reversed as the wind taketh away on the way out of Humbug but giveth back in plenty on the work to Goat Island. To be fair, it was probably not fair as the win back was massive compared to the loss but then it felt good to be lucky.
Some of us had a long day as we took our sail maker out for a review of the rig just after noon and enjoyed a couple of hours of test sailing in 12 knots. The conditions were ideal for a test sail and I will share all the advice we received. Number 1 was to keep the vang on to windward as we do not have a mainsheet traveller. He observed our mid leech was laying off before the head so that was easily fixed. Number 2 will be harder to implement as he suggested a couple of gorillas on the mainsheet. One for letting off and one for pulling back on. Now non of our crew are young enough to be described as gorillas but we will try our best. Number 3 was a small increase in mast rake to increase the windward helm. I am not sure about this last one as we are pretty well behaved and I don’t want to round up more in the gusts so we will see how the vang sheeting goes for a few weeks.
In the race proper we started on time if a bit low on the line. We made good progress to Onion Point but again got buried in Humbug with the fleet behind. As the course was to leave Cockatoo to starboard we went low only to be headed on what is normally a broad reach into the corner of the island. All the fleet except Flashback and Lisdillon charged off from further to windward leaving us close to the back of the fleet.
Around Cockatoo Lisdillon came with following wind threatening to go inside at the point and we could not have that. (You do understand Andrew) As soon as we could I headed away from the wind shadow of Cockatoo into clear air.
Now this is where the wind giveth back as we had pressure and angle to burn hitting our target speeds of 7.1 knots SOG on more than one occasion.
The tide was flowing out at this time and being mid stream did help with the boat speed but it felt good to be catching the fleet quite quickly.
By Goat Island only Jackpot and Dump Truck were ahead and we were pleased to be sandwiched between the Ker 11.3 twins.
Flashback loomed up around Goat and went East from the gap while we went deep and benefited from breeze through the gap.
As good as the breeze from behind was we could not make an impression on Jackpot and their secret supplementary crew. Over our shoulder Much Ado V was menacing and drew alongside at the turn into Humbug. Here our master strategist, Kevin, insisted on a run deep to the shore and a risky beat alongside the moored yachts. By sheer luck we managed the corner at Onion Point having skirted the becalmed fleets in mid stream still battling the outgoing tide.
At this point a nose in front of Much Ado V stretched out to a minute 23 seconds which hardly seems fair but we will take it all the same. Flashback was just another 20 seconds behind. Out in front was Dump Truck a full four and a half minutes ahead and Jackpot over one and a half minutes in front of us so the closest battle of the evening was for third to fifth fastest. Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot were just a minute behind this group and rightfully claimed third and first place on handicap.
Now Christian Beck on Dump Truck was back on board after last Wednesday winning the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and could clearly do no wrong this week. The green hulled mean machine picked all the shifts out of Humbug and was so far up the beat to Goat that our big wind shift made little impact. Indeed we were still lifting towards Long Nose on starboard when they hooked into the next lift on port heading into Snails Bay looking like a winner. Perhaps they have the gorillas on the mainsheet that we need.

Nice photo of Passion X taken from a passing ferry

Nice photo of Passion X taken from a passing ferry

Passion X just ahead or Much Ado V off Onion Point on the way home

Passion X just ahead or Much Ado V off Onion Point on the way home

I had a lot of trouble finding a clear air lane last night and it shows in the results.
Dump Truck had a crew of professionals on board at that stopped us getting a clear start. We were low on the line and a header made it tight to clear Onion Point so with a mixture of dirty air and pinching we were mid fleet into Humbug. We drifted past Flashback but they and Fireball hugged the shore out of the tide and took the long way but fast way out of Humbug. Sweet Chariot was giving us heaps of dirty air and I made the mistake of trying to lift into the breeze off Greenwich Point which never came. Fireball cleared out to leeward and Flashback climbed out from under us giving us another dose of dirty air.
We has already caught the early fleets and that made finding a clear lane doubly difficult especially when they ignored us when we were on starboard tack and then called starboard on us when we were on port and possible clearing. So we spent the work dipping port tackers and dipping starboard tackers or tacking under starboard tackers. Some of the dips were three yacht deep so long detours.
Now I had the GoPro running for the whole race and can see the ironic grin on my face as we tack away from starboard tackers we had dipped while they were on port.
In this toing and froing we lost track of Much Ado V, Dump Truck and Flashback. Around Goat we had a slow run as the broad reach in pressure turned into a tight beat in fading breeze and post race Flashback’s skipper tells me they had a good run around the island.
We did better on the run home catching Sweet Chariot in Snails Bay and setting our sights on Fireball. Now Fireball did everything they could to stop us passing to leeward and it was touch and go as we went to leeward on the way to the finish line. We seemed to put our nose in front only to have Fireball charge back with wind to windward. At the last minute we nosed ahead by a second to rescue some credibility on the night.

Below are some photos captured from the GoPro video feed

Flashback pinching up to give Passion X dirty air on the way to Goat Island

Flashback pinching up to give Passion X dirty air on the way to Goat Island

Fireball doing everything possible to stop Passion X passing to leeward

Fireball doing everything possible to stop Passion X passing to leeward

The finish line at last

The finish line coming up

Is that the finish line

Is that the finish line

I felt sorry for the Ker 11.3 twins, Dump Truck and Much Ado V last night. Well sorrow is too strong a word and perhaps some empathy is more appropriate for as much as I appreciated lifting up from behind Dump Truck, I did not appreciate all the fleet behind lifting above us.
In the sub 4 knot conditions we made a good start at the leeward end of the line and were first into Humbug on top of the earlier fleets that were still parked.
Dump Truck and Much Ado V caught us on the drift through Humbug and the three of us made it out into the clear still conditions off Greenwich Point.
It was here that the breeze lifted some 60 degrees allowing us to lift well above Dump Truck and Much Ado V.
We were half way to Goat Island and becalmed when the breeze lifted further and freshened from behind to a few knots bringing almost all the Black fleet up to our position. We were being passed by past Commodore Geoff Lucas in his Cavalier 28 Capriole when Dump Truck tacked onto a southerly shift and drew away. Jackpot and Flashback had joined the fray and it made for close racing around Goat Island. Much Ado V recovered from the adverse wind shifts on the way to the island to draw alongside and so the fleet parked on the South side of Goat Island waiting for developments. In the dark and quiet conditions pleasantries were exchanged between boats and issues of lack of steerage discussed.
Flashback managed the rounding best and established a lead of a few boat lengths with Dump Truck and Passion X in close pursuit. The two leaders seemed to reach away with fresh breeze on the quarter but we all stacked up in Humbug drifting across the line stem to stern.
Just as we crossed the line all Hell broke loose with an unexpected Southerly squall bringing the fleet home.
The biggest challenge of the evening was taking the sails down in the 20 knots conditions with the late finishers all coming in from behind. We had to go a long way up the Lane Cove River to find a safe place to drop the sails.
The bonus for the night was beating Much Ado V across the line. I don’t know by how much and am waiting for the official results to be posted but we might be in the hunt for the series fastest times result and it would be nice to know.

Here is the update on the post following the error I found in the rating certificate. The yacht is only 12.07 metres long, not 12.7 and I hoped it would make a difference. Hope was a futile emotion as the revised updated rating came through this morning with a revised rating of 1.111. That is a mere one percent reduction and is at odds with my estimate. I don’t have a VPP program but based on engine power required to propel the hull I have calculated a decrease in length of the amount of the revised certificate should have resulted in a three percent reduction in speed and hence rating. This applies right through the speed range which I have modeled with 5, 10, 20 and 30 Hp power available at the engine. I would think that if an increase in waterline length of 630 mm is only going to add 1% to the rating why not go for the longer length. Perhaps that is why all the new fast yachts have plumb stems As I said in the initial post there is no respite in the rating wars as far as Passion X is concerned. Our IRC rating came through and we were rated at 1.122 now revised 1.111 to the same as a First 45. Black Sheep, a First 45,  rates 1.108 so we would have to give this 45 footer some time. This is no surprise as the ORCi ratings are similar. We appear to be rated just a little faster than the Sydney 38′s and an A40 which we have a lot of trouble matching. A J133 would have to give us a few seconds but they usually clear out by many minutes.  The revised IRC certificate suggests we should have a crew of 10 and all of them on the windward rail. That is about 320 kg more crew than we typically have on board. That is about 16% more righting moment and would be significant but we are not going to find that many crew. The rating does suggest we have yet to find the right groove for Passion X in terms of pointing angle and boat speed.

Revised IRC rating for Passion X

Revised IRC rating for Passion X

Passion X new IRC certificate

Passion X incorrect IRC certificate

We were holding down second fastest place in last night’s windy twilight race when we decided to take out the reef in the mainsail. After losing a little ground in the reefing process it seemed like a good idea during the run down the side of Cockatoo Island but once we rounded the island and headed back to Humbug into the 22 knot winds we were not so sure.

At the start the wind came in stronger and longer than forecast so we opted for the No 4 jib and a full main. Within minutes we were reefing the main as the freshening breeze hit the fleet. We were not the only ones caught with too much sail area but we had the luxury of having the small jib up and a few more options.
The more heavily canvassed yachts made good progress on the reach off the start line and we were blanketed by a good portion of the fleet running through Humbug but we went low and carried the gusts further.  Much Ado V was leading the fleet with Flashback to leeward and Jackpot behind. We did well on the beat to windward to Goat Island despite Much Ado V increasing her lead and Lisdillon nipping at our heels.
Around Goat we made the decision to take out the reef and in the process let Much Ado V slip further away and Lisdillon pass us to leeward. The extra sail area helped up reestablish a few boat lengths lead over Lisdilloon but on the run the light weight Flashback surfed up alongside.
Heading back to Humbug Lisdillon was footing just as fast and was a few metres to windward behind on our quarter making a tack difficult. Flashback was low and chanced their arm to scrape through on port in front and then it was tack for tack all the way home.
Due to the large mainsail I was forced to feather the boat up into the breeze and that was not as quick as bearing away for speed. Also with the short tacking we did not settle down and get the best out of the boat.
Lisdillon managed to work to the front of our little group of three while we managed to tack below Flashback on the last throw to the line and pinch up to just beat them across the line.
We will never know if taking the reef out cost a place to Lisdillon or saved a place from Flashback but I will think twice before taking the reef out next time.

Well done to Much Ado V for the win on fastest time. For our part we were happy with the third.

 

I found this gem of a video of the day the Laser Masters fleet was blockaded from the boat ramps so as to give time for the Lasers to be taken out of the water.
The sailors who ignored the blockade are all pretty visible on the video.
The Aussie Radial fleet got a special commendation from the organizers for being well behaved and the naughty ones have been caught on video for the record.

We are back. It has been a long almost four weeks and while the travel and competition in the Laser Masters World Championships in Split were enjoyable it is good to be back home.
The trip did not start off well when I slipped on the launching ramp at Middle Harbour Amateur Sailing Club and cracked some ribs and it was well into the holiday before I could sleep on my left side. As the conditions in Split were very light the cracked ribs were not a problem and I did much better in the stronger conditions anyway.
I was contented with my second place in the first and windiest race and with my 7th overall. The charter boats were in impressive condition and I was pleased to return mine in pristine condition.The big disappointment of the tour was that our fellow travelers were not well and Kevin was unable to sail. He put on a very brave face but it must have been a big disappointment to him too.My first activity on arriving home was to visit the doctors as I succumbed to the bugs on the last few days of the trip and was pleased that I made it home before it hit hard.

Now putting all that aside tonight despite bugs and jet lag we pulled off a win on time and handicap. The breeze had been forecast to build but with a lot of cloud cover during the day the breeze was later and lighter and died earlier. We took a vote and elected to go with the big genoa. A deciding factor was the strong crew we had on board and the knowledge we could reef the main if need be.

We won the start from Jackpot in the hands of new owners but with the gun dealer team on board. An interesting new competitor was Much Ado V which is another Ker 11.3 seemingly in the Beck fleet. It will be fantastic for GFS if Dump Truck and Much Ado V can match race around the course every week.
Having our nose in front at Onion Point gave us a clear air advantage which we used to maximum advantage and we were able to keep in front for the whole race. A few forced tacks away from leeward shores when the breeze was lifting gave us some concern but we had enough of a gap to hand on for our first fastest times in the Black fleet.
We do not sail ORC but to be fair on ORC Jackpot
would have won.
Much Ado V has an even more challenging ORC rating than Passion X so we were very pleased to beat her over the line.
The balance of the fleet were at the mercy of the dying breeze which dragged out the time differences and allowed our first handicap win of the season.

Wed twilight 11 Oct 2017