The handicapper did his best to send us to the back of the handicap results with a .9333 multiple but we did particularly well in the conditions to score seventh fastest and seventh on handicap. The seventh place now becomes our second drop as we still have a sixth place drop in reserve.
The wind on the Harbour was almost due North but with plenty of big shifts. It stayed around the 10 to 13 knots with gusts to 17 knots which suited Passion fully powered up with the carbon headsail and a loose backstay.
We opted for a pin start which was the windward side of the course. At start time the breeze freshened so we had clear air and first use of the breeze on a tight reach to the Heads. At least we had clear air after the first light patch which allowed us to sail over the top of the big heavy Viva. After that it was a matter of keeping powered up as the breeze changed from reaching to beating conditions.
By the time we turned at the Heads we had a handy lead over the usual company we keep. Rainbow and Larrikin were threatening and with Larrikin we had a great tussle all the way to the line.
We square ran into Rose Bay with the pole fully extended and then reached to Point Piper.
The beat from Point Piper could have been better executed as we tacked below one of the big first fleet yachts and suffered both a header and disturbed wind. The header probably explains how the leading yachts were able to dominate the handicap results as they has a straight beat to the mark and also a nice patch of breeze for the reach back to the finish line.
The header was a lift for Larrikin and this is where she made up most ground on us. We did however manage to round in front and protect the inside position on the next mark. That kept Larrikin in our dirty air for the tight reach to the last mark. The final broad run to the finish line was Larrikin’s chance to blanket us but the breeze went square enough in time for us to cross with our bow in front.
I don’t know how we got away from our usual company. Perhaps the lead we built up on the first reach was enough to put us in more favourable wind but it is not as if the breeze died. It kept up for the rest of the afternoon and even seemed fresher for the late finishers.
It has been a happy season for us and we wish two of the crew safe travel on their overseas trips next week. The rest of us will front up and see if we can prove worthy of our handicap.

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