After three weeks finishing just a little out of a good place we bounced back today with a fine seventh fastest and a second on handicap.

The fresh North West breeze ranged in strength from 10 to 20 knots but was generally above 15 knots. This is a good breeze for our No2 genoa and we performed much better than the last time we set the rig on the opening day of the season. I have dropped off a quarter a tonne of water which might account for a little improvement but the main seemed to flatten out better today allowing us to feather up into the gusts.

There were a few things going our way today. At no stage did we round up nor were we driven off our favoured tack by starboard tackers. The tack of the mainsail has been made adjustable with a big 4:1 block which means we can leave the mainsail halyard alone all race. These are not great changes but Passion drew away from the two Northshore 38 s which were our old mark boats before we adopted the big blue Viva as our benchmark. In the heavy airs we expected Viva to romp away but we stayed within 2 minutes of her and beat her by 20 seconds on handicap. Working in our favour was a few timely wind shifts and the tracks from today seem to overstate Passion’s real capability to windward. She is better than she used to be but really not that good.

Passion's good tracks to windward today

Passion’s good tracks to windward today

The star of today was the 12 metre long Crackerjack who did the double first and fastest. She does like strong winds but appears to have improved a lot and is performing consistently well this year. In the strong breeze we did turn the tables on fellow GFS sailors on Gwhizz who struggled in the fresher winds. By rights it is our turn to crow this week but we know only too well that we might be the feather duster next week.

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