It was indeed a pleasant evening for a BBQ on the deck back at Greenwich Flying Squadron but first you had to endure some pain on the water. The forecast had been for wind fading from 14 knots so it was marginal No 1 genoa conditions and those who set the largest headsails in their wardrobe would have done well.
Our start was good enough and we followed Jackpot into Humbug and drew alongside. Unfortunately for both of us the wind disappeared from the middle of Humbug and favored those yachts that went low along the Onion Point shore and wider out from the Greenwich point.
Joli went low and wide and was soon a speck in the distance. Jackpot picked up a bit of wind and took off while we sat and waited. While we waited everyone except Ausreo sailed around us.
Once we were out in the breeze we started to catch everyone except Joli and Jackpot. By Goat Island we had caught Fireball and Soundtrack and were closing on Lisdillon but the flow of the breeze was not in our favor as we took the sterns of Soundtrack and Fireball when the tacked to starboard to round the island and then took a header all the way to drop another 50 metres.
Now we had the long run back to Cockatoo where we passed Fireball and Soundtrack and caught up to the transom of Lisdillon. Again we missed the first tack back to Cockatoo Island and this time it was the turn of Lisdillon to get a 50 metre break. Soundtrack and Fireball were close behind having been the recipients of some freshening breeze from behind.
At the corner of Cockatoo as we turned for the tight reach home Lisdillon stalled and we again were on their stern but could not break through their defensive moves.
We bided our time for the drift home though Humbug and went inside Lisdillon only to be forced out be a barging blue fleet yacht. The heavier blue fleet yachts were coming through with momentum and we had to wait until they ran out of that momentum before we could recover some ground. In the windless hole around the blue fleet we watched as Soundtrack and Fireball came back with a nice freshening lift. Soundtrack carried the lift all the way to the finish line beating Lisdillon by a few seconds. When the puff finally reached us we accelerated ahead of the blue fleet yachts and Fireball to finish well behind Lisdillon. What could have been a third fastest ended up a fifth and a lonely last on handicap 2 minutes behind the second last placed Ausreo.

A photo from the Greenwich Flying Squadron facebook page perfectly captures the moment through Humbug with Passion X surrounded by Worlds Apart to leeward, Aggrovation in front, Fireball to windward and Soundtrack chasing Lisdillon to the finish. Also shown is how close Sweet Chariot caught up. The only missing Black fleet yachts are Joli and Jackpot way out in front and Ausreo not far behind.

We paid the price for not getting out of Humbug cleanly and for missing two tacking opportunities and while the Onion Point shore was the right way to sail back into Humbug we were perhaps one boat width too low and that was the boat width that Soundtrack and Fireball sailed into.  We were never going to make up the time that Joli and Jackpot had on us but we might have secured that third place if we had sailed better.

It was a night for the front runners Joli and Jackpot who seemed to get further and further ahead while we battled it out in a dying breeze.  I am sure they enjoyed their battle but we were too far away right from the exit from Humbug to see the battle. Soundtrack made a spectacular passage through Humbug to join them on the podium for and all J boat success. Only Fireball sneaked in by 13 seconds to stop it being a J Boat 1, 2, 3, 4.

The drift through Humbug to the finish

The drift through Humbug to the finish





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