We finished the week and the West Harbour Winter Series on a good note with a fastest times in the Sunday race, a second on handicap behind a well sailed Mount Gay 30 and a second on ORCi behind a well sailed Fareast 28. Both these smaller yachts carried spinnakers on the short square runs while we were content to defend our fastest times place with the full mainsail and the 110% genoa hauled out to windward.
The extra crew helped today as we were able to tweak the controls to better suit the varying wind conditions. Among the controls we tweaked a bit more was the backstay which we wound on a bit harder than usual to flatten the full main to good effect.
Kevin said our result was because we did not set the spinnakers and I agree as the running legs were too short for our level of experience and flicking the 110% genoa back and forth was very effective in using the wind shifts downwind.
The result on ORCi is one I have calculated myself as the scorers have entered a zero instead of a decimal point with the result that we are the highest handicapped boat ever in the history of sailing. We are not that good and the corrected result will show our second place with quite a bit of time to spare on the rest of the fleet. This is our first good result on ORCi and a timely bit of encouragement.

Our result on Friday was a second fastest and second on handicap but we were outclassed to windward by Another Planet. With one reef in their main they were over canvassed for the over 20 knot conditions but we were more over canvassed with two reefs. While we blitzed the rest of the field our performance relative to Another Planet left me a little disappointed.

In the Winter Wednesday race at RANSA we also had strong breezes and while we stayed closer to the fleet than usual it was only close enough for a fourth place. We had one reef in the main and the 110% genoa for the downwind leg and again did well against the fleet rounding ahead of the J133 and the Sydney 38 as well as Sorcerer and Marloo. Blue Chip, the Sydney 38 had too much sail up and finished the race under jib alone but the time their main came down we felt we would have had their measure on handicap. The heavier yachts, Marloo and Sorcerer powered past us on the wind and for a second week a late knock gave us a slow finish relative to the yacht ahead who had already rounded the last mark.

All the big boys pulled out this week except for the consistent Duende but we stayed quite close in the downwind leg and they did not gain enough ground on the windward work to beat us on handicap. The surprise of the day was to have The Red Hand cross behind us five minutes after the start but then they gybed over to port tack and raced away only to retire on the trip around Shark Island.  We very much appreciated them indicating they would go behind as they were the starboard tack boat and we were still nursing a slightly bent boom through the gybes. We did granny the last gybe rounding of the day as the wind was over 25 knots at the time.

We need to improve our windward performance in strong breezes if we are to have any chance of consistently performing well on ORCi. To that end I invested in the speed guide and polar plots from the ORCi VPP software and have some very interesting guides for sail setting.

The Speed guide for Passion X confirms that we need to reduce sail area aggressively for windward working in 16 knots and over. The new No 4 jib should get a very good work out once it is finished and on board. I feel going for the No 4 before we put the second reef in the main will give us better overall upwind and downwind performance so that is something for us to look forward to.

The other finding from the various rigs I examined with the ORCi VPP was that a 62 msq jib set flying will be a great asset for next year’s Sail Port Stephens with some good speed improvements in 8 knots and under and a very wide effective wind range from 45 degrees around to 120 degrees. In all breezes it fills the gap between the jib being most effective to the point where the spinnakers are most effective.

It was a good note to finish on and this week we will change over the boom for a bigger stronger section and not be so worried about the gybes.

For the record our mistaken handicap and corrected finishing time of around 15 weeks

For the record our mistaken handicap and corrected finishing time of around 15 weeks

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