On Wednesday we enjoyed a fresh and gusty breeze with regular readings on the mast head of over 20 knots. In the conditions we set the No 3 genoa which is a 105% sail and the full main. Our competitors set a wide range of sail combinations. Allegro had the same arrangement as we did, Rainbow had a larger genoa and a reefed main while L’eau Co had a small no 4 and a full main. Only ten starters braved the weather so you could say the rest set no sail and pre start even under bare poles we had quite a lean in the gusts.
We were blown out to South Head at a fast clip with most yachts up to hull speed so the fleet was closely bunched at the turn mark. We were last around the mark but that is to be expected as the larger yachts had higher hull speeds and all the small ones stayed home for the day. Upwind we were managing but not very comfortably. The contrast in the Northshore 38′s was interesting as Izzi was handling a larger genoa well while Rainbow was being blown over even with the reefed main.
At the Rose Bay turn mark we tacked away while those yachts that carried on into the bay were rewarded with a very nice lift on the way out. We were not very happy to miss the shift and there was no way to carry on waiting for the wind to shift back so we took a losing tack back into the bay. We were still last on the run and reach around Shark Island and lamenting our position. There seemed no hope of redemption on the work back to the finish off Rushcutters Bay but the breeze lightened a little and we could crank the mainsheet in for more height and still maintain good speed. We timed the last tack back to the finish to perfection and were able to lift up from below L’eau Co and just beat them over the line. Looking around it seemed we had made up time on the fleet so when the results came out I was pleased but not surprised that we scored 6th place on handicap. On the progressive point score we maintained our first place with a lead of nine points and did no damage to our handicap.
The question is how could we have done better? We were not overpowered by much and we could have tacked the No 3 down to the deck. This would have improved the end plate effect and opened the slot between the genoa and main. As an alternative we could have reefed the main at the top mark and possibly taken the reef out for the trip around the island. I like to keep the full mainsail up for the times the genoa is in the wind shadow of the main so next time I will try the genoa hard down on the deck.

 

 

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