Now that sailing has finished for the season and future competition is uncertain the question is “What is next?’
On the 13th March we headed down to Geelong for the Laser Masters National and World titles.
The World Titles were cancelled allowing the foreign competitors to head home early before borders closed but the Nationals went ahead. With each passing day the news of the spread of the virus was more sobering and I was relieved when they called an early halt.
We were unsurprised by the cancellation of the Greenwich Flying Squadron sailing. It is a small club with a very large patronage so the personal space is very limited at the best of times.
Last Saturday we had the final Laser race of the season at Gosford and Middle Harbour Amateurs had already decided to cancel the season as from Sunday.
Sunday was a strange day as we were discouraged from attending Church but did meet for possibly the last group coffee session although very well spread apart.
Prior to going to Geelong I had enjoyed two days on Passion X single handed. The first was a beat to the heads under No3 jib and full main in 18 knots and the second was a sail around our normal Wednesday course area under asymmetric spinnaker alone. I was anticipating what was to come and now we are there.
Today I did the annual engine service and Passion X s ready to go and go she will. we plan to spend the latter part of the week in isolation in Refuge Bay and hope that this will remain acceptable for the future. Clearly with borders shut we cannot go interstate but if smaller districts are closed will we still be able to get to the water?

Playing with the mainsail on a single handed sail

Playing with the mainsail on a single handed sail

Flying the asymmetric alone

Flying the asymmetric alone

Of late Humbug seems to have been our downfall on many a night and tonight went according to that record. Despite a respectable start and arriving in Humbug near the front of the fleet we were becalmed and passed on both sides. Much Ado V, Joli and Meridian seemed to exit Humbug more or less as they arrive while Jackpot and Utopia went through our lee with ease. From behind the rest of the fleet came charging through with breeze and in particular the heavier Fireball and Ausreo kept going with momentum into the fresh breeze around the corner while we sat waiting and waiting for it to arrive. By the time the breeze filled in to our position everyone except Agrovation had sailed past and we were chasing their wake across to Cockatoo Island. Sweet Chariot went wide around the Island and made up ground on Ausreo, Fireball and Lisdillon who was in tight to the island. It was a wall of Black division yachts too wide and high for us to sail through so we followed on the stern of Lisdillon who was following Ausreo and Fireball. It took forever to get clear air and for the work to Goat Island we were alongside either Ausreo at first or Fireball later. Lisdillon was caught on the wrong side of a shift to drop back rather quickly as we had the previous week as what goes around comes around. Indeed our tracks up to Goat Island against the tide show we were on the lifting tack all the way so that at Goat island we were right on the stern of Fireball. On the reach home we got a tiny break when the wind freshened from windward and we were to windward of Fireball and while it was a tiny break it was just enough for us to hold to the finish line. Up front the only yacht we could see was Jackpot who never made up the time spend alongside Passion X in Humbug on the way out and while they did draw away seven minutes it was not enough to beat their handicap against us.  When we crossed the line just ahead of Fireball we were suprised to see Sweet Chariot charging up Humbug and charging up the handicap positions to be fifth on handicap. Fireball was close enough to beat us on handicap so we filled the seventh position.
Up front Much Ado V scored the double first and fastest and it was finishing time order through Joli, Utopia and Meridian as these leading yachts escaped the dying breeze towards the end of the race.

The Black fleet in Humbug courtesy of Ian Sanford and the GFS facebook page

The Black fleet in Humbug courtesy of Ian Sanford and the GFS facebook page

The more than fifty yachts that braved the threatening weather were rewarded with a rainless sail in very pleasant conditions. Perhaps the only downside was the lighter than expected breeze which faded early favouring the faster yachts that were home in the fresher winds.
After a break last week for antifouling we were keen to get back on the water and see if a really clean bottom would make any difference.
Conscious that we have been well up on the start line all season and slow to accelerate off the line we held back so that we could approach the line with speed and were rewarded by being first into Humbug. Jackpot was right on our transom and threatening to go high so we went higher than usual to protect our wind. Unfortunately that took us to windward of a green fleet yacht and up into the wind shadow and now Jackpot drove down hard for better wind and to cover Much Ado V who was driving through well to leeward. That let both Jackpot and Much Ado V through to battle it out for first fastest all through the race. Down the back of Cockatoo Island Meridian did an excellent job poling out thier genoa and went through inside Passion X while Joli came up with breeze threatening to do the same. We did manage to squeeze around the end of Cockatoo Island behind Meridian and settled down for the windward work to Goat Island. The choice of the tacks up the windard work was not one of our better performances particularly compared to Lisdillon who picked a couple of shifts very nicely to get a good gap ahead. Off Long Nose Joli passed ahead on starboard and then tacked hard to port to cover us which they did very nicely. Below Fireball was making good progress while we were blanketed by Joli so we lost both and rounded Goat Island with plenty to chase. On the reach home we took a course close into Snails Bay and while Fireball and Lisdillon got first use of the breeze we managed to sneak out from below particularly as the wind went very square from behind. Back towards Long Nose the breeze was dying and we drifted better than Lisdillon and Fireball as well as making up a little ground on Joli. We were by ourselves going back through Humbug and drifted slowly to the finish line for a fourth on handicap.

The three fastest times leaders shared out the handicap results and the dying breeze protected our handicap position from the yachts behind even if our margin over Sweet Chariot was only 6 seconds.

If we could set the whisker pole a fast as Meridian and pick the shifts as well as Lisdillon we might get onto the podium.

While Passion X was up at Woolwich Dock for the annual antifoul plus wrapping the keel in epoxy glass I was following the weather forecasts wondering if the fleet would get a race.
The forecast strong southerly did come in just as the fleet finished a rather quick zip around the islands and the results were a surprise.
Fastest time went to Lisdillon and Andrew clearly has some explaining to do. I was not surprised at the result because before the results were posted on the internet Mark Palmer had posted a nice photo of Lisdillon and daylight on the club facebook page.
The other surprise was the third fastest for Fireball and Bill also has some explaining to do.
These two suspects scored first and second on handicap and in the case of Fireball this is getting boring. What have you done Bill?
The other non surprise in the results was the third place to Sweet Chariot as another of Mark Palmers facebook photos shows her in front of the fleet chasing Lisdillon and in front of Much Ado V and Utopia.
Somewhere out on the course Jackpot managed to catch Meridian which was a shame as we do like the little brother J boats to stick it to big brother.
I trust all the topsy turvey results were accepted in good humour and we will rejoin the fleet next week.

 

Lisdillon leading the fleet

Lisdillon leading the fleet

Sweet Chariot leading the chasers

Sweet Chariot leading the chasers

The results for Andrew to frame

The results for Andrew to frame

The finished epoxy glass encapsulation of the keel on Passion X

The finished epoxy glass encapsulation of the keel on Passion X

Yes after the very busy week changing the spreaders on Passion X we were rigged and ready for the twilight race. Despite the light conditions pre race we went with the No1 heavy genoa and were so pleased with our decision. The breeze sprung up to a healthy 15 to 20 knots and from a direction that meant we had a long first work up the narrow Humbug.
After lots of ducking sterns and calling for room to tack on lee shores we arrived at Cockatoo Island. To our dismay our port tack at the Island left us ducking lots of sterns as the starboard tackers had a big lift in their favour.
We now had a run and reach to Goat Island and in the fresh conditions we kept up with the fleet. Dump Truck had pointed up under us at the start so we were slow off the line while they disappeared in the distance along with Agrovation. The rest were in close proximity and we were enjoying the contest.
Around Goat Island we had an inside lift on Meridian and Fireball but they both made up for that with their own inside lifts at the approach th Cockatoo Island for the last rounding.
Meridian got through and we were unable to catch her on the run and reach home. It was all we could do to stay in front of Fireball who was carrying wind up from behind.
We were closer to the front of the fleet than usual in the conditions and for once were enjoying the heavy air tacking. But was it the more favourable course or was it the hard work changing the spreaders.
Only time will tell.

GOPR8748

Action shot adjusting the genoa halyard on the way to Cockatoo Island

Some observant sailors have noticed that the mast is out of Passion X at the moment. The reason is not some unexpected calamity but a well planned tuning of the rig. Since launch back three years ago we have struggled to perform to expectations once the breeze gets up over twelve knots. Part of the problem is the narrow beam and light displacement for which there is little remedy but part of the problem is that we have not been able to flatten the main in a breeze. As a result we are reefing the main earlier than most and suffering in the light patches. I had suspected we could improve the mast bend and responsiveness if we had longer spreaders and after Joe Walsh came out for a sail he confirmed that suspicion. Indeed his first comment on stepping on board was “These spreaders are too short.” Allyacht Spars promptly confirmed our diagnosis and manufactured new longer spreaders to fit the existing bases. Once the spreaders were delivered Joe arranged for the mast to come out last Friday and by that evening the spreaders were changed over and the mast is ready to go back in Tuesday in time for the next twiight race. I am sure it will take a while to fine tune the rig with the new spreaders but I am confident it is the right decision. In the meantime we have been fortunate with the weather and I hope that good fortune continues through Wednesday night.

The mast is back in and some photos show that we now have some prebend in the mast

Passion X back on the mooring with new longer spreaders inducing some prebend in the mast

Passion X back on the mooring with new longer spreaders inducing some prebend in the mast

 

On one hand we were lucky with the weather as the showers held off for the twilight race but on the other hand the promised 12 knots of breeze was pretty much an illusion.

Last week we were pleased with the No1 heavy genoa and full main in twelve knots of breeze so with a similar breeze forecast we went with that selection again. We made a good start and were third into Humbug but while Meridian and Joli disappeared into the distance we sat in the wind shadow of Utopia waiting for the tail of the fleet to pass us. The yachts that went to windward of Utopia passed us, (thank you Fireball, Much Ado V and Dump Truck) and the yachts that went to leeward of Passion X also got through (Thank you Ausreo and others) leaving us chasing the fleet once again. Once around Cockatoo Island for the first time we set out after Ausreo, Utopia and Fireball who we could see. Somewhere a long way up the  course was Joli, Meridian, Much Ado V and Dump Truck but they were in a  race of their own and will have to write their own story.

To our surprise we made little progress on catching Fireball but pulled away from Utopia and Ausreo and that was the way it was all around the course. At the last approach to Cockatoo before the work up Humbug we pulled alongside Fireball and could see Dump Truck not far ahead rounding the end of the island.

A minor glitch with a genoa sheet wrapped around the cheek block may have let Fireball back in or perhaps being just a few metres to leeward they had better wind but they did work up to give us dirty air for another week. That small lead going into Humbug translated to several minutes as we were becalmed off Onion Point. The trailing fleet caught us by the same several minutes. Among them was Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot who both beat us on handicap and Ausreo who we just managed to beat over the finish line.

Utopia was not having a good day either as she was also slow through Humbug and finished at the opposite end of the fleet to normal.

Apart from the two passages of Humbug we had a good evening on the water. We were pleased with our windward working in the nine knots conditions and while we did not see the seven knots speeds through the water we saw last week we did hold out Utopia which is a pretty good benchmark.

Our mid fleet fifth on handicap was a good indication of our sailing for the evening and we look forward to a night when our luck through Humbug returns.

Before the start we were seeing up to 20 knots across the deck so we opted for a reefed main and the N1 heavy genoa. That was fine for the fresh start and we arrived at Humbug mid fleet but from there thing deteriorated. The breeze disappeared as it does in Humbug but did not reappear on the other side. We hung on with the reef in the main and trailed the fleet down the back of Cockatoo Island where matters got worse in the windshadow. Expecting breeze for the work to Goat Island we perservered with the reefed main holding our position near the rear of the fleet. The late starting Dump Truck charged up and for a brief period where we lifted on our side of the course we seemed competitive crossing tacks with them and Lisdillon. Off Long Nose we were forced to tack away from a clear line to Goat Island by a green fleet yacht. Then we were held on port tack sailing away from the course for a frustrating few minutes just losing ground to the fleet. By the time we were allowed to tack Lisdillon had slipped through to leeward and Dump Truck was all that extra distance up the course.

The breeze had now faded so we took out the reef but the horse had bolted and most of the fleet was nowhere to be seen. Shaking out the reef kept us competitive with Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot and we made up a little ground on Fireball but it was a quiet run around Cockatoo island and back home. We could already see the fleet leaders, Jackpot, Agrovation, Meridian and Joli emerging from behind the island to start the work home up Humbug and were a little encouraged to see that they had good breeze.
Around the end of the island we went wide and pulled away from Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot. Now we were in clear air and chasing Fireball. Out in the open past Cockatoo Island a good but short lived breeze of around tweve to fourteen knots sprang up and we settled down on a beat where we were doing over 7 knots speed through the water and up to 5.7 knots VMG. These were pleasing numbers due to the water being flat and the breeze steady and with this speed we closed in on Fireball. Unfortunately we were a few boat lengths short of catching them on starboard. In a desperate attempt to pass them we hugged the Onion Point shore but they were not going to give us any leeway and dropped down on our line to blanket us to the finish.

It was high tide and so my estimate of the room under the keel was OK on the night.

In reality the fleet was gone off and around Goat Island before we took out the reef so we had a pretty dismal handicap result managing to beat only Dump Truck who did self inflicted injury with a late start. Jackpot took the daily double and their excuse that it was their breeze seems pretty lame. They have been sailing very well of late and the J122 looks a picture out on the course.

Another pursuit race and another lottery in and out of Humbug mixed up the results tonight except for Joli who proved to be the king of the pursuit series with a win in the last race of the series.
Fireball put in another good performance to score a second after their win last week and as we approached them around Cockatoo Island the last time they did everything they needed to keep us in their dirty air and keep us at bay.
We might have been happy with that but for a late gust through Humbug that brought Meridian reaching down on top of us beclamed and pinching hard for Onion Point. The route along the Onions Point shore was not as successful as it can be and Fireball did better out mid stream than we did in close.
Lisdillon started on the same mark as Passion X and we had a very interesting tustle with them with the lead switching according to who was on the lifting tack.
The later starters had trouble catching the early ones on a three island course compared to the four island course last week so Jackpot went from second to second last which is not a reflection on their on the water performance.
Agrovation had a good day with the third fastest elapsed time behind Joli and Meridian.
Next week we will be back to scratch starts and hopefully less of a lottery.

The forecast was a bit over our full mainsail range and as we had a young sailor on board we opted for caution and put in a reef before the start. At the race progressed the conditions were too light for the No 3 jib and a reefed main but we were keeping up with Caliban who we consider a pretty useful benchmark in windy conditions. Had we know the earlier starters were pulling further ahead we might have taken out the reef earlier. Much Ado V took their reef out at the first rounding of Goat Island and had we done the same it might have been a different story. As it was Dump Truck and Much Ado V came flying down the leg from Goat to Cockatoo and still pulled away on the beat back to Goat Island. We did take out the reef on the last rounding of Goat island and suddenly became more competitive with Agrovation who by this time had caught and passed Caliban. In the meantime Much Ado V completed the course ten minutes faster than Passion X to rub salt into the wound and Jackpot which was twelve minutes faster has some explaining to do compared to last week. Quite frankly “It was our conditions does not cut the mustard.” The final dig through Humbug suited the lighter Passion X more than Caliban so we escaped the wooden spoon this week.

Fireball took the handicap result from Jackpot and Sweet Chariot and these results are a good reflection of their fresh air performance relative to the fleet.

We are hoping to make the rig on Passion X a little more responsive so we can carry the full mainsail through a wider range or wind strengths as last week was too windy for the No1 genoa and full main and this week too light for the No3 jib and reefed main but that improvement could be a little bit away so for now we just have to get the sail selection right.

A lot has happened since our last race of 2019 at GFS. Chistmas has come and gone with the family at Ballina and Elaine and I enjoyed five days going to Refuge Bay for a quiet rest. Since then it has been pretty hectic with my Dad passing away in Perth after a very long and productive 98 years. The whole family was united in giving him a very appropriate send off and then quickly back to family and work.
As hard as a farewell may be it was good to remember the good times building boats with Dad and catch up with cousins and friends from years past as it has been 40 years since we have lived in Perth and for our children it was a rare chance to reconnect with family.

 
In the family moments there was a show of Edmiston competitiveness playing Catan with our grandson and various family members and just as in sailing frequent checking of the rule book.
So after a red eye special back from Perth it was into our first race of the 2020 year. I thought we performed quite well but the conditions were not conducive for a win due to our small handicap and the breeze being above our range at the start of the event.
The yachts that perform better in stronger winds did just that with the mighty Caliban winning by less than a minute from heavy air specialist Fireball and three minutes from the very fast finishing Joli with Sweet Chariot just 21 seconds later.
For us we had only Utopia starting three minutes behind and Jackpot starting five minutes behind to keep us company on the course.

 
We did stay close to Joli for a while but eventually with faster up wind performance they drew away. Utopia caught us mid race and then had trouble passing Joli who seemed to draw ahead in the closing stages of the race.
We did try cutting the corner on a couple of islands which while it looked promising at times did not work out well but we were playing catch up and it was worth trying for a change.

 
In the closing stages Jackpot powered up from behind making up some ground around Goat Island where we were having a last roll of the dice trying to catch Joli and Utopia.
After a long four island race we could see the handicap leaders working up Humbug to the finish but that was small consolation. We cannot give six minutes start to Caliban and eight minutes start to Fireball in those conditions where we are happy to just match them for speed. Next weeks forecast is looking a more favourable for Passion X so we will look forward to that.

A massive congratulations to Christian Beck and the crew of Infotrack for the impressive second fastest in the 2019 Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The performance of Infotrack provided much interest for the Greenwich Flying Squadron membership and I particularly liked Jeff Lewis’ “GFS and the rest” caption on the photo of Infotrack leading the fleet out of the heads by a wide margin.
I would have loved to be out on the water watching the race as we did last year but this time we were on the road returning from a family Christmas gathering in Ballina. in Ballina we were surprised to meet fellow Black fleet skipper Ralph Pickering and family which shows what a small world it is indeed.
Thanks to the advancement in technology and the more generous distribution of the race start we were able to watch the pre start antics of the fleet on the approach to Port Macquarie where we pulled into the service centre with just over a minute to the start.
What a great start by the crew on Infotrack! They nailed that start with position and speed and executed perfectly to capitalise on their advantage to lead out the heads by a large margin. Five 100 ft maxies battling up the harbour is a rare sight and this one was one for the ages. Aboard Commanche there was quiet calm as they appear to have opted for a safe start and to let their superior heavy air reaching speed make it up down the coast but on board WOXI ther was at least some frustration and expletive laden exhortation to the crew. i hope it never gets edited out as it proves that all of us skippers get a bit over excited from time to time.
It was my turn to drive and we had to get back on the road again but it was a good place to leave the coverage with Infotrack extending her lead down the coast.
The calm patch down the coast meant there was plenty of time to catch up on the action once we arrived home and in particular to check in regularly this morning as Infotrack closed on Commanche but it was not to be. Nor could WOXI make up the distance but she did beat her similar narrow hull competitors, Scallywag and Black Jack but by such a slim margin.
Infotrack does appear to have beaten the other maxis on IRC so that is a double good performance.

GFS and the rest

Dump Truck had an extraordinary race last night to claim first and fastest by a margin of four minutes over Utoia and almost five minutes over near sister ship Much Ado V. It was an impressive performance and the only consolation for the rest of the fleet is the punishment the handicap system will dish out to her. Hopefully the fastest time result is a good omen for Christian as he takes Infotrack south for the Hobart and we wish him good fortune in that event.
Fireball was second on handicap which seems pretty fair given the many light nights they have endured waiting for a windy race. Our only consolation was that we did the course a minute faster when on many windy occassions we have been behind on time.
Utopia was third having turned the fastest times table on sister ship Agrovation by three minutes. Admittedly some of that was when Agrovation found her personal wind hole on the way back into Humbug and that is likely to be a once in a lifetime event such was the strangeness of the wind on the evening.
Joli was next having beaten sister ship Meridian around the course by three minutes. it was an interesting competiton in rig settings for the night with allegedly Joli with a N0 3 jib and full main and Meridian with a No 2 jib and a reef. In the unexpected light conditions early in the race the greater sail area of Joli would have been an advantage while in the last beat up Humbug Meridian blasted past Passion X and Agrovation in nice control while Passion X struggled with a full main.
We never saw Sweet Chariot or Fireball on the course due to their relatively better performance in a breeze but we did have an interesting tustle with Lisdillon making up four minutes in the early stages of the race when the wind was lighter but giving back two of those later in the race when the breeze was stronger and on the nose. Most of that was in the work up Humbug where we could not settle into a fast mode.
The tustle with Joli was also engrosing as we started together and sailed almost side by side around Cockatoo Island, around Goat Island and back to Cockatoo. At the second rounding of Cockatoo we were too close the the lee shore of the island and the wider yachts or which Joli and Dump Truck were the most prominent, stormed around for a clear lead after which Joli pulled our a five minute lead. Joli sailed the last lap to Goat Island particularly well with the stronger wind performance compared to Passion X adding to our woes.
We did have a couple of encouraging spells, the first when the fleet went in too close to Balls Head and became becalmed but they received the returning wind first and made up a lot of their losses very quickly. The second was when we went high on the last reach to Cockatoo but then we threw that away by going in too close and literally dawdled around the island.
For the night our tacking angles all look good so we need to find the right mode for those gusty conditions. One of our issues on the night was getting the main out as the gusts hit and we experienced more round ups during the race than possibly we usually experience in a year. Perhaps it is a system issue with the mainsheet. Perhaps the backwind from the jib is just too much and perhaps it is just practice. The comforting thing is that for cruising I would just put in two reefs in the main.
Best wished to all for Christmas and the New Year and after a short time in Pittwater we will be back on the track at the next club race.

I have mixed feelings about our second place on handicap and fourth fastest result tonight. I am very pleased with the result which went pretty well as I expected given that the long handicap yachts like Passion X were to have the first use of the breeze and possibly get home ahead of it petering out. Lisdillon had the longest handicap and sailed in clear air all evening for a win by almost five minutes. On Passion X we were able to claw back just 17 seconds over the almost two hour race. We did pass Sweet Chariot who sailed a very good race up until Humbug and seemed assured of third place only to lose ten minutes in the last tricky transit of Humbug. Much Ado V was fastest around the course but only made up one and a half minutes on Passion X to finish four and a half minutes behind. We would be pleased if we could finish that close on a regular basis but I accept the result is an abberation due to the staggered start times. Meridian was next across the line having made up three minutes and seven seconds on Joli and they made a pretty picture reaching into the finish just metres apart. Indeed from fourth placed Meridian to tenth placed newcomer Agrovation there was just one minute and forty nine seconds so the string of Black fleet yachts looked impressive.

The crew of Agrovation should be pleased with their third fastest place around the course on their first outing.

Apart from the first use of the fading breeze this evening we had the benefit of an incoming tide for the rounding of Goat Island. By Goat Island the fleet had made up quite a bit of ground on Passion X with Joli and Meridian looking to be just a minute behind but once we rounded the eastern end of the island the incoming tide carried us away while the chasing yachts were in light air being carried by the tide towards the island. As we reached away out of sight we could see the two J112 yachts having to tack away from the Goat Island shore against the tide and this is where we established a reasonable break on the fleet. For our part we could not have done any better. We had the right sails up for the breeze and played the jib and main and backstay pretty aggressively for the very changeable conditions.

For our efforts we lose two minutes handicap for next week and start alongside Joli so the task will be so much harder.

A nice photo of Passion X in Humbug courtesy of Mark Palmer and the GFS Facebook page was published overnight.

Passion X in Humbug 11th December 2019 photo Mark Palmer

It was a smokey ten knots of breeze out on the water tonight with plenty of holes around the islands and through Humbug to keep the handicap race open right to the finish. We made a good start on port for the race to Onion Point where we were pipped to windward by Meridian and to leeward by Jackpot. In Humbug the following wind brought Much Ado V up and over followed closely by Dump Truck who politely went to leeward but just as quickly. At this stage the leading five yachts has a small break over Utopia. By the corner of Cockatoo Island Jackpot had established a small lead but Dump Truck. Much Ado V, Meridian and Passion X were following in a very tight group. Suddenly Utopia drew alongside brought up by the wind freshening with a little shift to south and as the bunch was too tight to go through we opted to work to the outside of the group and get first go of the freshening gusts. This was our best rounding of the south side of Cockatoo Island for the season and it gave us a chance to see how we were travelling alongside the front of the fleet. The work to Goat Island was particularly fresh and with just Elaine on the rail and Don on the windward backstay there was not a lot of righting moment. In turn each of Utopia, Much Ado V, Dump Truck and Meridian passed us on the windward work but it took a little longer than usual. Possibly it was a little lighter than usual and possibly we had the backstay adjusted more appropriately to the wind. In the gusts the mainsail was completely bladed out and backwinding while in the lulls we eased the backstay for more power and height. On reflection we might have been even more active with the backstay to maintain height as in the lulls Meridian pointed out from a safe leeward position and established a minute break. Again we did better than usual around Goat Island and had the front of the fleet well in sight on the reach and run and reach back to Cockatoo Island. While we had the front of the fleet in clear sight the back markers, Fireball, Sweet Chariot and Lisdillon were making inroads with freshening breeze from behind. Now the not so fortunate five percent of the race started to kick in. We had a very quiet rounding of the west end of Cockatoo Island and were disappointed to see how far in front Jackpot and Utopia were once we regained sight of the front of the fleet. Now the breeze was very up and down and left and right. First it would give with a lift and then take away with a knock. Meridian was not far in front having her share of the ups and downs but through Humbug we were left becalmed on Onion Point for a couple of minutes and only the blue fleet yacht Koko had it worse. The wind did return enough for us to limp over the line happy with 95 percent of the race but a bit disappointed with the last 5 percent. As we lowered the sails we had wind coming straight through Humbug from the south bringing  Sweet Chariot home seven minutes behind but fourth on handicap. Up at the front of the fleet Jackpot was eight minutes in front and third on handicap, Utopia was seven minutes in front and first on handicap by 3 seconds from Passion X. While we are grateful to the handicapper for our second place it was still disappointing to see the elapsed time difference. Lisdillon however had it worse than Passion X as with the dying breeze and out going tide she was left to flounder in Humbug. Next week it will all be different as we start our novelty Summer Series with a handicap start where the back markers will get to start earlier than usual and have best use of the breeze for the race.