On the way to the course we were overtaken by Oracle skippered by Olympic champion Tom Slingsby and we did get to say hello to Tom as he and his team scooted by.


For the first race of the RANSA Winter Wednesday series I was hoping for winds between 15 to 20 knots so we could see how we performed with the No 2 genoa and a full mainsail. Well we got the winds I wanted but not the result.
The fleet all started very close to on time and a wall of 17 yachts spread out over the course reaching to South Head. While we broad reached with the genoa poled out on the leeward side we were holding the fleet well. When it was square and we had the genoa poled out to windward we also held the fleet well but near the leeward mark we were caught needing to go high with the pole out and were over run by Rainbow and Silky and Star Ferry on the mark.
At this stage I was not worried because we had the No 2 genoa on and were commencing the long beat back home. Rainbow with a reef in was pulling away in the gusts while Britannia with a big crew complement was struggling in the heavier conditions. Slowly we overhauled Star Ferry and Silky and at the Rose Bay mark had them well covered. Approaching Rose Bay I stayed wide of the mark to allow Britannia to round without interference but she was determined to cause as much trouble as possible and held on forcing us to tack onto Starboard and stall. Had I known they were going to sail so aggressively I would have taken their stern and possibly still made the mark but the damage was done. To add insult to injury they forced us up into the prohibited area of the moored yachts and only a lot of yelling made them give room. Now perhaps they thought we did not have an overlap and could have pulled behind their stern but from my position that seemed impossible. In the close results on the day these couple of diversions cost us about three places and made the difference between contented and grumpy.
The last beat around the Island was not a good one. Perhaps we missed the lift being a bit below the fleet but in the space of one leg we were overtaken by Silky and almost caught by Star Ferry and this was worth another three places. At my best guess we should have managed a fifth place by improving 1 minute and four seconds but had to settle for eleventh.

Comparing the results with the past year we did a very similar time to our average time compared to Allegro, Larrikin, Rainbow and Krakatoa and we did better than average against Ellipse and Britannia. The new entrants to the division from GFS, Gwhizz and Izzi were four to six minutes behind so we have not a lot to complain about. The fact is it was a close race and we could have been sharper.
There is a suggestion that we should have reefed like Rainbow and I admit it was a close call. We have beaten them before when they carried too much sail so perhaps this was their turn. I did have full water tanks and while I hate wasting water it will have to go before next weeks race. We are down three crew for next week but I predict a very light air race so we should be fine.


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