What a perfect night for a twilight race! The rain cleared up early in the day and while a few clouds hung around we had a pleasantly warm rain free evening for the race and the BBQ on the deck back at Greenwich Flying Squadron.
During the week I had a very minor modification made to our old faithful carbon genoa off Passion. We had been flying it from a short hank on the tack to get the clew up higher so that the sheets were further back on the tracks. This allowed the foot to skirt the side stays without too much interference. I had the short hank replaced with a wedge of sailcloth tapering from 250 mm at the tack to nothing at the clew. If nothing it makes the sail look like it was designed for the yacht, it does look good and the new tell tale window in the luff was also handy. This was the perfect sail for the breeze.
We made a good start to windward of Meridian and matched them to Onion Point. We poled out the genoa to port and made good progress along the Cockatoo Island shore before gybing to starboard to head up river. The fleet seemed to be going in a different direction from the course forty eight we were sailing and no other yachts had gybed so I asked Stephen what course he was sailing and thought I heard forty eight. I went below and radioed the starters and again I thought they said forty eight. As no one followed us I checked again and was told four zero A. Looking back over the Gopro video I can hear one of the crew saying that they thought they heard forty A. Post race John said that they always designated one crew to double check the course as they crossed the start line and Stephen volunteered that we should have used the binoculars. All very true in retrospect. That was a big oops moment for by now we we had to drop the pole an head back to the tail of the fleet.
The whole episode was captured on the Gopro camera on the transom and from the time stamp it was well over five minutes before we were back to where we deviated from the proper course. By a bit of luck Ausreo, Soundtrack, Sweet Chariot, Fireball and to a lesser extent Joli were becalmed in the lee of Cockatoo Island and we were able to sail low and wide to make up a bit of ground. The chase started in the lee of Ausreo who were fast but a few degrees off our pointing angle which eventually let us get clear air. Soundtrack was not going to let us get through easily and after a few calls on the edges of the sailing course for room to tack she picked a very nice lift along the Balmain shore to prove the point. Only a bit of interference to Soundtrack from another fleet yacht gave us the opportunity to sneak ahead. I don’t know when we passed Sweet Chariot and Fireball. Perhaps it was one of the several large shifts on the way to Long Nose. Joe Walsh was out on the course with a potential new Beneteau 40.7 we are encouraging to join Greenwich and while he kept well clear of the fleet I did try to see how they were travelling or if they matched Fireball for speed. A few shifts in our favour and we were up near Joli for the Goat Island rounding. On the run back to Cockatoo Island we did slightly better than Joli and did a bit of match racing around the end to keep them behind. It was probably not smart sailing as we were both slow in too close to the wind shadow but at this stage we were going to try to keep any place at any price. For the beat back to Humbug we had eyes only for Joli but they were a bit quicker through the tacks up Humbug and managed to slip though our cover right on Onion Point.

Back in the fleet we lost track of the competition up front between Meridian, Much Ado V, Dump Truck and Jackpot. The Ker 11.3 twins had a birthday party with ten potential sailors spread over the two boats and congratulation to the winning team of five youngsters on Much Ado V.
The handicap results were a surprise as we managed fourth place despite our over five minute excursion. Once there is this much gap comparisons are difficult so the five and a half minutes we finished behind Much Ado V is not the same as the five and a half minutes we dropped with our course mistake. I am however happy that we matched it with Meridian on the way out and matched it with Joli on the way back.
Lisdillon had another win on handicap and beat us by three and a bit minutes. Perhaps tonight was to be out night and we lost it in translation.

Meridian to leeward at the start

Meridian to leeward at the start

Good progress down the Cockatoo shore oblivious of our course  mistake

Good progress down the Cockatoo shore oblivious of our course mistake

Starting the chase in the lee  of Ausreo

Starting the chase in the lee of Ausreo

Following Joli around Goat Island

Following Joli around Goat Island

Joli catching up to leeward through Humbug

Joli catching up to leeward through Humbug

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