We were holding down second fastest place in last night’s windy twilight race when we decided to take out the reef in the mainsail. After losing a little ground in the reefing process it seemed like a good idea during the run down the side of Cockatoo Island but once we rounded the island and headed back to Humbug into the 22 knot winds we were not so sure.

At the start the wind came in stronger and longer than forecast so we opted for the No 4 jib and a full main. Within minutes we were reefing the main as the freshening breeze hit the fleet. We were not the only ones caught with too much sail area but we had the luxury of having the small jib up and a few more options.
The more heavily canvassed yachts made good progress on the reach off the start line and we were blanketed by a good portion of the fleet running through Humbug but we went low and carried the gusts further.  Much Ado V was leading the fleet with Flashback to leeward and Jackpot behind. We did well on the beat to windward to Goat Island despite Much Ado V increasing her lead and Lisdillon nipping at our heels.
Around Goat we made the decision to take out the reef and in the process let Much Ado V slip further away and Lisdillon pass us to leeward. The extra sail area helped up reestablish a few boat lengths lead over Lisdilloon but on the run the light weight Flashback surfed up alongside.
Heading back to Humbug Lisdillon was footing just as fast and was a few metres to windward behind on our quarter making a tack difficult. Flashback was low and chanced their arm to scrape through on port in front and then it was tack for tack all the way home.
Due to the large mainsail I was forced to feather the boat up into the breeze and that was not as quick as bearing away for speed. Also with the short tacking we did not settle down and get the best out of the boat.
Lisdillon managed to work to the front of our little group of three while we managed to tack below Flashback on the last throw to the line and pinch up to just beat them across the line.
We will never know if taking the reef out cost a place to Lisdillon or saved a place from Flashback but I will think twice before taking the reef out next time.

Well done to Much Ado V for the win on fastest time. For our part we were happy with the third.


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