Twenty one yachts lined up for the start of the Winter Wednesday race on a too short, too biased start line. In the prestart manouvres a new yacht to our division, L’eau Co, bore away from the line forcing us to gybe away. We got back to the line on time only to find the same yacht stalled on the pin end. Unable to make the mark they bore away again forcing us to again gybe around to cross the line on port. So biased was the line we still started in front of several yachts and we were quickly under way.
On the long windward work to the south head we were kept busy tacking below starboard tackers and on occasions taking a stern. We quickly caught Rainbow, Enigma, Star Ferry and a couple of Etchells and for our troubles had these extra yachts to avoid. Rainbow did climb above us on the starboard tack making up for the gains we made on them on port. I was unwilling to take on the big blue Viva so we tacked below her when troubled. All this tacking was taking a toll on our progress so on the approach to the top mark we were pinned on to starboard going past the lay line with Gwhizz on our quarter so that when we could tack we were well above the lay line.


Passion’s tracks from today’s race.

I expected we would do well on the run back to Rose Bay with our big black genoa poled out on the oversized pole but it was not to be. We were on port gybe running by the lee and when we gybed to starboard the wind shifted and we were by the lee again. In these unfortunate shifts Enigma, doing nothing, sailed past and Gwhizz approached our stern. Only the wind shadow of Vaucluse and our more cautious course out wide saved us. Somehow Rainbow, L’Eau Co and Silky pulled away in Rose Bay while we drifted around Enigma and a couple of Etchells. When we rounded Rose Bay with the inside running and went high to protect our wind there was a large gap in front of us splitting the fleet.
There was no Britannia this week driving us up into moored yachts but just clear air and a reach to the mark. Once around Point Piper we were in phase with the breeze for both legs of the beat which on the tracks look to be our best for the day.

For the reach and run home to the finish we ran down the div 2 Fatso and managed to keep in front of the fast finishing Starr Ferry, Gwhizz and Enigma as well as the two Etchells that had kept us company for the whole race.

The thirteenth place was disappointing considering how well we had held the fleet on the windward work. There were no big upsets on the course and we finished just over a minute out of seventh place. In these big fleets a few seconds here and there are important. Rainbow’s margin if front was over four minutes which is at the top end of the range we should expect.

We did have a good day on the water and were blessed with fresher winds than I expected. I know we should not ask for more than good company, fair winds and sunny skies but a little bit further up the result sheet would be nice.

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