What more could you wish for? We had a pleasant warm Wednesday followed by a nice bit of breeze for the twilight race and then a calm evening for the BBQ back at Greenwich Flying Squadron. To add icing to the cake we had an exciting close fastest time win over our regular rivals, Aggrovation, Worlds Apart and Izzi.

At the start there was the usual disagreement as to how close we were to the start line but that was soon forgotten as we lead the fleet past Onions Point into Humbug. The following breeze in Humbug usually has the leading yacht blanketed by the fleet but to our surprise the fleet pushed up into the lee of the Greenwich shore leaving us clear air for a run down the Woolwich side. As we approached Cockatoo the breeze kept freeing so we could keep the genoa out almost to the corner so we had a handy 50 metres lead. We held our lead on the work back along the north side of Cockatoo and just cleared the piles on the ferry wharf by something less than a metre and in the process extended the lead to 100 metres. From this point the fleet started to peg us back.
In the lee of Balls Head the wind was particularly quiet and shifty. We could see the green division Tana in the doldrums ahead so we went wide but still came to a brief stop while the fleet behind closed the gap. Once through the wind shadow we skirted Goat Island giving the leeward side a wide berth. Now the whole fleet was closing with fresh wind from behind and they were fanned out across the course threatening from above and below. We did manage to sneak through with a small lead intact but now we had the reach home and the passage back through Humbug to contend with. From out of the pack Aggrovation came menacing us from above and Worlds Apart was menacing from below with Izzi surging on the gusts.
How close should we go to the shore between the Greenwich Point and the entry to Humbug? If we went too low Aggrovation would climb above us and if we went too high Worlds Apart would scoot around in the fresher air to Leeward. We managed to find a line that kept them both behind and were now hard on the wind heading to the Woolwich shore. We had just enough lead and were just high enough to be able to tack to port and then tack back under Aggrovation as they headed back to Onions Point. We could not clear the point and I had to tack away letting Aggrovation have clear air to attempt what I was not game to do. As it turned out they slowed trying to shoot the moored yacht off Onions Point and our two tacks were fast enough for us to hold on for an overlapped finish with our bow in front. Just behind Worlds Apart and Izzi finished fast while Gwhizz was just a minute behind and did well for a second on handicap.
The rare win on fastest times gives us a slight lead on the season fastest times series while French Connection seems to have the handicap result well in sight with just half of our points.
The observant ground support staff noted that Passion is sitting higher out of the water these days. We did take 200 kg of lead out after last season and some 100 kg of surplus equipment including a spare anchor and chain from the aft locker. Also the sails are all stacked on the bow instead of the main cabin so that gives her a distinct bow down attitude. On the night we were one light weight crew down so we were floating higher than ever. Well spotted Helen and Sue.

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