Firstly I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims of the massive blast in Lebanon today. This nation has suffered enough and hopefully this tragic accident will unite them on a path to recovery. I used to work at a factory that made explosive grade Ammonium nitrate and did the field testing on the product to verify that it exploded properly. That produce was destined to the mining industry and we handled the product with utmost care under strict regulations.
Putting aside the sad news the day in Sydney started with clear skies and fresh westerly breezes as is typical for August. Before the start I said to the crew our result would be determined by the selection of the correct genoa and so it was.
I opted for the No 1 heavy which is a light skin carbon sports cut a little flatter than the No 1 light. The selection was perfect for the breeze with our better windward performance particularly pleasing.
The first leg was a broad reach on port tack and we started on time in the middle of the fleet. Unfortunately we could not reach out from under the windward yachts nor run away far enough for clear air. Sandwiched between i Super and Allegro we were letting Fidelis, Amanti, Agrovation and Crosshaven reach away ahead. At one stage Allegro did a little round up which was our cue to break cover and then pull ahead of i Super. Hitchhiker was just in front too and we had to judge the mark rounding carefully to give the yachts in front room to round.
The biggest surprise of the day was our windward working speed. Admittedly we were a few degrees of hard to windward and ten degrees is worth a knot of boat speed but seeing over eight knots occasionally was a delight. It must have been a good angle for us as we held Allegro and I Super and Whistling Kite for that leg and for the bear away into Rose Bay. We tried hard to run over Hitchhike with her reefed main but no no avail and again we had to negotiate a lot of traffic at the Rose Bay mark. Amanti got a bit of a break here but we held on to Hitchhike. Around the top of Shark Island we went wide and avoided the wind shadow that trapped Crosshaven and Hitchhike but could not break through their lee. Ahead we could see Agrovation unwinding herself to pass the mark and that cost her quite some time but she did not wait for us. All that was left was the work hard on the nose to the finish and her we managed to lift inside Hitchhike but had Hanni lift inside us so we gained one and lost one.
Across the finish line we were delighted to have finished ahead of Whistling Kite, Leeward, Allegro and Joli given the fresh conditions.
Our fourth place on handicap was enough to climb up the leader board to second but only one place ahead of Amanti who gained two points on us for the day.

Tracks for today's race showing the angle to Steele Point compared to the hard beat home

Tracks for today’s race showing the angle to Steele Point compared to the hard beat home

 

To my surprise we did get in a lap of the Balmain Friday Afternoon series but not everyone was able to finish in the time limit of 16:30 hours. From our start at 14:10 hours to at least 15:30 we drifted around Snapper and Spectacle Islands and along the Hunters Hill shore in less than three knots of breeze. We drifted better than a lot and with the exception of Avalon we were happy to be picking off the fleet one by one. Off of Cockatoo Island ferry wharf Odyssey retired so that she could head off to Yamba and we wish her well in her cruise off the coast.
About the same time we caught Irukandji and for the rest of the afternoon had a see saw contest with them. When the wind did kick in it was a work to windward where Irukandji was much slicker due in no small part to an injury to a crew just before he stepped aboard for the afternoon. As the day progressed he stiffened up so we were back to the David and Elaine duo doing everything. Avalon tacked on the shifts nicely and soon drew a long way ahead while we left the last tack into Goat Island too short and had to pinch to avoid a big red mark down the side. Avoid it we did but in the process Irukandji drew further ahead.
The leg back to Long Nose was also a good one for Irukandji where they went for the freshening breeze and got it together with a faster angle. We had no choice but to chase the same breeze and leave Krakatini behind in light air close in the Snails Bay.
The last throw of the dice was to go wide of Long Nose and come back at the finish line on a tighter reach. Out wide there was better wind and we soon passed another two and drew alongside Irukandji. Now we were right up the backside of Hasta La Vista and rather than be taken high we chose the leeward side which was not a good choice as the freshening breeze arrived at Irukandji and Hasta La Vista before it arrived at Passion X. So Irukandji got us by two seconds which is a good result for a long day on the water. Four points for the day was our best result since we won the first race and a pleasing result given the condition of the crew.

After a few rough wet days with an east coast low hammering the coast we woke this morning to brilliant sunshine and forecasts for around 10 knots. We were not disappointed with the consistent 10 to 15 knots which propelled us around the full course in just over seventy minutes.
The first leg was a broad reach where we went low to avoid the jostling of the fleet. Perhaps we pushing against more tide out in the middle but the free air and faster approach to the mark had us near the front of the fleet alongside the eventual first and second fastest times yachts, Hanni and Agrovation. Fidelis was doing her reaching best and had streaked out on the first leg and it was easy to predict her win on handicap from that position. Hitchhike and Whistling Kite were also out front on the reach. Whistling Kite hung on for third on handicap but Hitchhike did not fare as well on the hard tacks home.
The work back to Steele Point and into Rose Bay was always going to be a challenge. Hanni did well by going all the way to the rocks before tacking for Steele Point and had clear air. We were back in traffic and dirty air and had to tack away from the second division starboard tackers who had just rounded their turning mark. We tacked inshore for clear air and did well until the wind shadow off of Steele Point where the yachts out wider moved forward and then tacked back off the Shark Island obstacle. Amanti tacked below us on the way into Rose Bay and gave us a healthy dose of disturbed air to break away and eventually beat us by a couple of minutes. Along the reach to Point Piper we held our position and again on the run to round the Island we held our position against the chasing pack but gave away some time to the yachts with genoas poled out. On the work back around Shark Island we were fortunate to clear the heavy air specialist Leeward who loves a stiff beat to windward but clear her we did and held her out to the finish. Ahead was Hitchhike and Meridian but as hard as we chased on the tight reach home we could not catch them.
At the finish it was a close contest with eight yachts in front with margins from 2 minutes 48 seconds down to 20 seconds. On handicap it was even closer with Larrikin, Britannia and Leeward leapfrogging us into fifth, sixth and seventh place.
We were pretty satisfied with our performance in the conditions particularly finishing in front of Allegro for the second week in a row and finishing just 2 minutes 23 seconds behind Agrovation in solid windward beating conditions.

It was certainly a wet day for the last race of the Covid 19 curtailed West Harbour Winter Series. Many decided that with no chance of winning they would stay home but for those who ventured out it was not an upleasant race. After the first lap of the course the breeze died so we practices setting and gybing the asymmetric spinnaker. The first windward work was a good test of boat speed and but for tacking too soon in a knock we were sailing above our handicap. The first downwind leg we two sailed the course while Matagi, Ophir and Avalon were slick with their spinnaker work and drew well away. The second windward work was a bit unkind as we were knocked along the Hunters Hill shore well below the line of the yachts ahead. Still we managed to hang onto Odyssey and Omnishambles until the reach home. Despite setting our asymmetric spinnaker, Odyssey with a masthead code zero drew away. I would like one of those in my Christmas stocking please Santa.
From there it was a lonely sail to windward back to the finish line and a pleasant surprise to find that we had beaten Omnishambles on handicap.
Today added a bit more confidence in our windward working speed post the rig changes and the spinnaker practice was useful. We did pull the sock down before raising the genoa for the windward work and found we could do that very quickly with very little time spend bare headed. It was certainly good practice ahead of going offshore in two weeks time.

Five knots of breeze arrived just five minutes late and with some very well judged starting by the committee we were away into the sea breeze just five minutes behind the scheduled start time. We were aiming for the pin with Krakatoa reaching over the top and with either Foreign Affairs or Hitchhike below. Joli tried to climb over the top but even in the dirty air of the two pin enders in front we managed to climb out from a safe leeward position. When Joli tacked for clear air we promptly followed but found the boat end starters all lifting above us. Taking a few sterns was very costly as with each stern we dropped below Joli’s line even though we had tacked above. As a result we found ourselves deep into the fleet but with clear air and freedom to tack. We used both to good effect settling into a fast mode and tacking on the shifts. We also covered the fleet when we made a gain and at the top mark found ourselves up with Foreign Affairs and Hitchhike.

Freedom to tack and covering the fleet paid off

Freedom to tack and covering the fleet paid off

Around the top mark we poled out the genoa and drifted back to Steele Point. With the wind behind the apparent wind was down to a couple of knots but the close competition kept us on our toes. I Super also had a good windward work and was on out tail. Into Rose Bay we were looking for a finish boat but none came. Foreign Affairs ran away and Hitchhike pulled out a safe distance leaving us to be hassled by I Super all the way home. I Super did pull ahead down the side of Shark Island but on the broader reach home we found a wisp of wind and drew ahead again and hung on for a third fastest place. Hitchhike managed to pull ahead just enough to beat us on handicap by 10 seconds but they in turn were beaten by Coco and Britannia so we were pushed back to fourth on handicap just ahead of I Super. With the close racing we were able to talk to our ex crew now racing on I Super so that added a bit of good competitive tension to the day. Today was the best result since we trimmed down the fat head main to a conventional pin head with a bit of roach. In the light airs we have to drop the main halyard to get the roach under the backstay. A mast head flicker would be nice but just for sub 5 knot breezes it seems a luxury. I have been using the quiet sunny days of this week to so some maintenance and upgrades on Passion X. Some are just the routine tasks like tightening the water impeller v belt and changing the seal on the head toilet pump in preparation for a week away at Port Stephens but another is a more permanent change. When Passion X was designed it complied with the offshore racing standards of the day but that standard is no longer accepted for yachts built after 2010. I am working through the current codes which were updated in 2019 and have reviewed all the structural scantlings for the hull. All of the sheeting exceeds the 2019 code requirement and almost all of the stringers do too. Of all the stringers only eight need a small section of timber glued to the existing stringers to comply. The largest addition is two stringers which need to be increased from 22 by 44 to 28 by 50 mm. One stringer needs as little as a 22 mm wide strip 6 mm thick added to comply. In two days I am half way through completing all the stringers and I plan to have them all finished and epoxy painted in the next week.

An example of the stringers in the quarter berth with one completed and the other with the first addition glued and clamped.

An example of the stringers in the quarter berth with one completed with strips on the side and top and the other with the side strip glued and clamped.

 

Since our last RANSA Winter Wednesday race a lot has transpired. On the Friday when Elaine and I normally do the Balmain Afternoon series we were driving to Ballina to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We greatly enjoyed the weekend celebration with our Ballina family orchestrating events and Zooming in with the interstate ones.
More of the Pacific Highway has been upgraded and much more is almost complete. The 80km construction zones on the newly completed lanes contributed to a low fuel consumption below 7.5 litres per 100km and I believe we could have arrived home back in Sydney on a single tank of petrol.
Our next scheduled RANSA race was a drift out. Very wisely the committee called it early so we could enjoy a quiet motor home chatting with crew. For the rest of the week there was no breeze so that the Friday Balmain race was a drift out with no one completing the course. it seemed that the only motion available was courtesy of the tide which resulted in us all moving at more or less the same drift speed. We surrendered around 4pm when to even the most optimist among the fleet there was no longer hope of the promised breeze springing up.
The next week started pretty well as the last had finished with very little breeze for the West Harbour Winter Series. A promising light breeze at the start soon faded to leave the water mirror smooth with just the occasional errant wisp of wind teasing the fleet to gybe from one side to the other. Another wise committee decision was to shorten the race to a single circuit of the Spectacle and Snapper Islands and while it seemed too short a distance to rank as a race it was long enough and any longer would have been impossible.
With three races either abandoned or curtailed what would happen to the next but to be abandoned for too much wind. It was the right 10am call at RANSA as at the scheduled 2pm start time it was blowing 26 to 35 knots.
Now I had crew very keen to sail and we have in the past just gone for a harbour blast but the forecast rain was a bit of a dampener so we called the day off.
In our old Passion we did do a 35 knot sail out through the heads with triple reefed main and storm jib and found it a bit tame. In the new Passion X our first trip back from Port Stephens was in 35 knots with a No 3 jib and triple reef. We did find the jib too big for the journey and should have put up the storm jib. Now we also have a No4 jib which is probably the right rig for 35 knots. I mention this because I feel we are not practicing heavy air seamanship quite enough and several windy afternoons on the harbour would be good experience for the fleets before they head offshore.
Now am looking forward to Friday when we are promised good breeze ahead of a Saturday return to drifting conditions.
With the wet weather forecast for Monday through to Wednesday this week I had to find something to do so I upgraded a couple of computers. It does seem pretty insane to have three laptops and three desktops computers in the one house for just the two of us but having replaced two recently I took to upgrading the ones that were replaced. It is amazing what a new SSD drive can do to a ten year old i3 laptop which has gone from an absolute useless dog to quite a usable device. The other upgrade was to a three year old Ryzen 7 1700x where for some reason I had overlooked the M.2 NVMe 3.0 x4 slot and installed a Sata SSD. After much searching for the M.2 slot specifications I found it on the original motherboard box and dashed off the the computer shop for a 500GB Samsung SSD. Migrating the system to the M.2 slot from the Sata SSD took just 4 minutes compared to hours overnight from a mechanical drive to a Sata SSD and the performance comparison are spectacular.
My newer motherboard with a Ryzen 5 3600 chip has the latest M.2 NVMe 4.0 x4 slot which is modestly faster again in sequential read and write but almost twice as fast in random writes as the previous PCI Express 3.0 specification.
For now I have exhausted the possible upgrades to the computers and the green bin is filled a week ahead of schedule so I am hoping for some finer weather to get back to Passion X for a bit of maintenance.

Crew warming up before the start

Crew warming up before the start

I was keenly looking forward to the forecast nor west breeze where we could reach up down the long leg to the heads but there was no breeze. Waiting for the delayed start we enjoyed brilliant sunshine and were soon taking off jackets to enjoy the warmth and to soak in a dose of vitamin D. That same warmth sucked in a light sea breeze which allow a start on a long beat to the heads.

At the boat end it was quite crowded with Allegro, Hanni, Krakatoa and I think Foreign Affair. We followed close behind this group and were able to shave the start boat for good start. To leeward the yachts approaching on a tight beat were in quiet air and never challenged at the start line. A good start was just the beginning of a close tussle with Hanni since Krakatoa went off like the volcano she is named after, Allegro charged confidently ahead trying to keep up with Foreign Affairs.

At times we were faster on the beat than Hanni and at times the table was turned. Agrovation picked up a nice lift on the left of the fleet and with superior speed romped up the fleet. Joli steamed through close into the shore and out of the tide and we thought we had lost them but for the last throw of the dice going into the top mark where we saved a tack and rounded with Hanni , joli, Amanti. Crosshaven and Whistling Kite.

On the long square back to Steele Point we poled out our largest genoa with our longest pole and parked most of the crew on the bow to get the fat stern out of the water. The whole group made up ground on Allegro on this leg but not enough. The last leg was a reach into Rose Bay for a much shortened course. For this last leg Joli went wide and reached up inside Passion X for a narrow beat on time. Thanks to a reasonable handicap we finished fifth and were pretty pleased considering most of the race was a windward work. Krakatoa was a clear winner on handicap by over two and a half minutes while we were just a minute and four seconds out of second place.

Getting the asymmetric flying on the first reach

Getting the asymmetric flying on the first reach

The second race of the curtailed West Harbour Winter series was a quiet event with the fleet broken up by the variable breeze leaving some competitors to abandon the race for a DNF result.
For our part we managed to stay mid fleet on both time and handicap but it could have been different but for a few lucky breaks.
Encouraged by the light air we set our asymmetric spinnaker on the leg from Spectacle Island to Clarke Point and drifted down the leg with our fellow competitors. A lucky few including Avalon, Matagi and the two Tigers made a break up the first leg and by the rounding of Spectacle Island they were already specs in the distance.

We enjoyed good company on the leg with Omnishambles, Odyssey, Sweet Chariot and Another Planet all having good moments followed by bad ones. We did not have the amazing reaching speed of Odyssey but did manage to run more directly to the mark and not lose too much ground. After the work to Goat Island we managed to pull ahead of Sweet Chariot and stay alongside Odyssey. The battle with Odyssey was to continue for the next lap and only a lucky break off Long Nose let us nose into fresh wind while they and a bunch of other division yachts dropped out of contention for the day.

At the finish we were mid fleet on time and mid fleet on handicap, a result which I am very pleased with considering we are possibly the oldest and lightest crew in the fleet.

 

 

 

It is hard to imagine a better winter afternoon sailing than that which we experienced today. Perhaps the picky would have asked for a bit more wind as the few very light patches were frustrating but in general the wind hung in around five to seven knots. The southerly breeze gave a mainly single beat legs with some tighter than others. The leg along the Drummoyne shore where the sailing water is restricted by an excess of mooring was as near a dead run as one could wish so no short tacking for us today. On the tight beat to Goat Island we cleared Balls Head without tacking while Irikandji had to do a short tack away from the rocks in the process losing quite a few metres. Around Goat Island we caught a group including Odyssey and the X- Yachts 4.3 Min River by going a little wider from the Snails Bay shore. Unfortunately for us the much heavier Min River carried momentum past the wind shadow off Long Nose while we came to a stop. It was not all bad as Odyssey also languished in the wind shadow losing the beat part of five minutes in the process. We were looking over our shoulders at the fast charging Avalon and were happy to pick up the breeze before she reached us.
The last leg down the Drummoyne shore is the one where we pick up the early starters and Elaine counted seven overtakes for the day. The final tight reach to round Cockatoo Island found us menacing Piston Dawn who fought hard to protect her clear air. We went wider and almost slipped through but for a big lift from behind that came too late for us.
Our one disappointment for the day, if we are allowed one in such perfect sailing conditions, was to see Avalon lift close in to the ferry wharf on the tip of Cockatoo Island and carry an enormous lift past us, Tana, Hasta La Vista and Pistol Dawn. We went from having a handy lead over Avalon to finishing a minute twenty seconds behind in the space of fifty metres.
There were more surprises for the day as Bear Necessity completed the journey a minute faster than Passion X and in the space of a week went from rear of the fleet to a podium finish. The same can be said for Aetos who went from dead last a week ago to first today and certainly need to have a sample taken. In the opposite way Irikandji went from front of the fleet last week to the rearguard this week and Odyssey kept them company. Both results were unusual but that was the nature of the day.

One success for the day was to get my Samsung Tab working to mirror the chart plotter screen so that I could have an instrument display on both bulkheads. The charge in the Tab should last a race of about three hours and it seems a pretty inexpensive way to have the display visible from both sides of the cockpit.

Samsung Tab mirroring one of our chart plotters.

Samsung Tab mirroring one of our chart plotters.

The weather forecast promised 20 knots blowing up from the south so we opted for the No3 jib. Some of our fleet was similarly convinced by the forecast and last weeks winner Fidelis opted for a small jib and reefed main. Hitchhike also had a reef in the main so we felt in good company. The wind was pretty well down the course but favouring the port gybe. We opted for the safe start on starboard gybe and timed the start well to clear the pin and have clear air from slightly over the port side. For the first half of the run we continued a bit over square with clear air and managed to lead the fleet. The gybe to port to make the mark left us in the dirty air of the fleet and Foreign Affairs ran past but for the second week we were second to the first mark.
The first part of the work back to Steele Point was in fresh air and we did quite well although Allegro and Amante were quicker and picked the shifts better. A knock meant we had to tack away from Steele Point just at the time when a small lift would have saved us a lot of time. That and the last tack of the day possibly accounted for a minute at the finish. For this first forced tack we lost a couple of places. The least successful part of our day was the work from rose Bay to Point Piper where we did not power up in the lighter conditions. This was also a poor leg last week and we need to anticipate the lighter winds and trim accordingly sooner.
On the final work to the finish we did trim with more power and were pleased with the VMG readings on the instruments and the pace against the competition.
Ahead we could see Joli and Agrovation having a private GFS battle at the expense of their standing in the fleet and while they were playing with each other we made up some ground. Along this whole leg we successfully held out Hitchhike with their reefed main. As they rounded the last naval buoy they received a large lift just as we tacked for the line and got the huge knock. we needed to tack back to cross the line and just managed a few seconds lead over Hitchhike at the finish.
Over the line we were pleased to see Reve who held us out last week and Fidelis both a few minutes behind and we guessed a mid fleet finish for Passion X on handicap and so it was.

Leeward was the handicap winner which was no surprise as today was their conditions.

With just two days to go to the shortest day of the year it really is mid winter but you would not know from the sunshine we had today. As well as sunshine we had enough light breeze to do the full Friday Afternoon race at Balmain.
After our private good wind last week resulted in a first place the handicap system gave us a whack around the ears and had us starting last of the regular series competitors.
Our start time coincided with a change in the wind with the masthead indicator going the opposite way to the wind at boom height which left us floundering for a couple of minutes. Once the breeze settled it was a light air reach around Snapper and Spectacle Islands and a good long beat to Goat Island against a strong incoming tide. With light flukey winds against the strong tide the tacking angles look somewhat awful but occasionally the wind shifts were large enough to improve the tracks on the chart.
Two visitors. Avalon and Matagi kept us company on the work to Goat and we managed to hold out Matagi for most of the first lap by which time we had started to pick up the tail end of the fleet.
At the end we had passed eight of the 22 starters which was pleasing considering the big increase in handicap and the couple of minutes lost at the start due to the change in the wind. We were third fastest of the regulars behind Irukandji and Van Demon but no match for the visitors Avalon, Matagi and the new X4.3 Min River.

Our small crew was no match for the conditions today as we finished towards the bottom of the handicap results. This was particularly disappointing as we had a good first reach to the turn mark and rounded behind the mighty reaching machine, Fidelis. We held our position until approaching Steel Point when Amanti powered over the top and we fell into her wind shadow. From there it was all down hill.
With a crew of three we opted for the No 3 jib and that was fine for the strong wind reaching leg but once in the wind shadow of Steel Point we were quickly under powered allowing Amanti an easy pass. Once into her dirty air we dropped away and found ourselves on the outside of a left shift which carried a host of the following fleet above us. To make matters worse we were sailing way too low and it took a while to work out a better VMG mode. Once back in the traffic we had a few too many right of way yachts to avoid all of which costs precious seconds which builds to minutes at the finish.
by the end of the work into Rose Bay the breeze had moderated so we had no superior reaching speed to make up time on the way home.
It was forecast to lighten but we could not have carried any of the genoas on the day with the crew so as frustrating as it is that is where we were going to finish.

We did beat five yachts home and Hanni, Meridian and Leeward each had a worse day handicap wise.

After a line of rain went through last night the day cleared to bright sunshine for our first West Harbour Winter Series race following the lifting of some of the Covid 19 restrictions. With a small crew we opted to set only the fractional Code Zero for the down wind legs so set it up before the race.
In ten to fifteen knots we started at the pin end pinching to clear the pin but clear it we did. Right from the start it seemed that Matagi the MD35 would walk away from the fleet which she did beating us by 12 minutes around the course. Ophir the Flying Tiger was second fastest around the course but we did manage to beat her on handicap. The very beam Pogo 36,  Odyssey, was too powerful in the breeze and with a good compliment of crew on board she had even more power for the conditions. Next was the Sydney 36 cr, Another Planet. These yachts set spinnakers on the run from Drummoyne to Goat Island while we sailed with the less effective and smaller Code Zero  so I was quite pleased with the result. While happy with a fourth place on handicap it would have been better have more than the six yachts competing in our division.

The photo shows the significantly greater sail are of the front runners today compared to our 58m2 Code Zero.

Three of the four yachts in front today photo courtesy Mark Palmer

Three of the four yachts in front today photo courtesy Mark Palmer

After failing to finish by 90 seconds last week we were heartened to have our handicap reduced by six minutes and a forecast for more breeze. As the day progressed we experienced a steady light drizzle and much less breeze than anticipated. So light was the breeze that it took four minutes to run down the line and luckily for us we arrived at the club end on time and with a ever so slight increase in wind strength. Irukandji started a minute earlier but lost a fair bit of that tacking to cross the line while we just lifted onto our course. Odyssey was to start a minute later but appeared to be becalmed at the line so fickle was the wind. Approaching Drummoyne we were ahead of Irukandji but to leeward. in the light air our tack was so slow that they lifted on starboard and we could not cross not pull away so we had to tack back into the moored boats and wait for them to pass. After that there was some give and take on the work which was appreciated as the course is so narrow with all the mooring that tacking up the leg is quite taxing on Elaine and I. It was very apparant that the yachts that were able to get in phase with the wind shifts pulled away quickly while we went back and forth on the wrong tacks.
Our lucky break came when we took the stern of Irukandji and pinched hard to clear the rocks off of Spectacle Island which we did courtesy of the high tide.
The next leg was a reach to Goat Island which at times turned into a square run during which Elaine did a great job holding our the foot of the genoa to catch the wind to windward. Along this leg we made good progress against the smaller early starters but the really lucky break came as we rounded the Goat Island navigation mark three yacht deep but with speed to carry us forward into the new wind. Now Krakatini engaged us in a tacking battle while Matagi slipped away .
Along Snails Bay we pulled away from Krakatini while we could see Matagi slipping further ahead until we rounded Long Nose. Here it was Matagi’s turn to suffer light winds while we had a bit more pressure further out and made up considerable ground but not enough for a win.
Fickle it was and it was a relief when the course was shortened after the first lap.

For the restart of the RANSA Winter Wednesday series we were down a crewmember on our already skeleton post Covid 19 lockdown complement but the breeze was forecast to be light so away we went.
The start was heavily biased to the pin which was barely passable in starboard tack but we managed to start behind Hitchhike at the pin. Hitchhike tacked early to port while we were pinned down on starboard by Amanti. In a safe leeward position we were able to hold Amanti and eventually pinch up to windward but with not enough room to tack. In the lee of Bradley Heads Amanti tacked allowing us to follow. A left shift had us looking famous for a short time but as the wind went back east we dropped down behind the line of the early tackers. Allegro was first to tack to starboard onto the new lift and this move gave her a clear lead. Unwilling to do frequent tacks with a small crew we crossed the harbour missing another shift east to lose Amanti and Krakatoa.
we ran back to Steele Point with Krakatoa and went with her into Rose Bay but at the rounding of the Rose Bay mark we were forced to give room to another division yacht allowing Krakatoa to pass to windward with the freshening breeze. Eventually I went chasing the wind and found a streak that came below Shark Island that helped us pass Kratatoa and make up ground on Amanti. Unfortunately we rounded slowly allowing Krakatoa to climb above us and Amanti to step our strongly in front. Perhaps the dirty air from the TP52 was too much for too long but the last leg was not a good one and we let the seconds tick away for a seventh on handicap.
congratulations to Krakatoa for a good race and to Allegro for picking the breeze well on the first windward work. These two deserved their first and second on handicap.
We were happy with our boat speed in the seven to seventeen knots variable breeze and we played the foot and backstay pretty consistently to keep the power on. The single adjustable backstay made for a more relaxed sail particulaly at the top mark gybe and in the conditions we felt we were not losing a lot with the cut down main and old jib.
Allegro’s sails looked a picture in all black and if I was to be envious I would be envious of those.