The forecast for Wednesday evening was a bit challenging with up to 28 knots predicted for Sydney but west of Goat Island we had a much gentler sail in not more than 15 knots and often much less. The rain too stayed light during the time we prepared the yacht to sail and only returned at the start of racing. Then as the fleet started the rain abated leaving us with a very pleasant sail in a much reduced fleet. In deference to the forecast we set the No 3 jib and during a few of the stronger gusts we were grateful for the reduced sail area but as the race progressed and the breeze lightened we missed the power of the bigger genoa. At the start Joli and Passion X approached the line on starboard and tacked to clear Onion Point. A big header had us both heading for the shoreline and Joli ahead was forced to tack first calling starboard on Much Ado V. That left us with clear air and a sudden lift to clear the point and gain a small early lead. For a while we hung in to leeward of Joli but they eventually sailed over the top and lead the way up the river to Goat Island. Much Ado V had a reefed main and in that configuration we were holding them in the light patches. Past Long Nose in stronger winds they accelerated and also picked up a very handy shift off of the western end of Balls Head which gave them a big break from us and gains on Joli. The photo from the chart plotter shows our tack into Balls Head to be out of phase with the wind shifts and that is where Much Ado V got their first big break on us. Lisdillon was lurking close behind by the time we all rounded Goat Island and we had to concentrate on keeping them at bay. The run back to Cockatoo was pretty quiet and we were not pulling in the leading yacht who both had full sail area working now. Around Cockatoo Island Lisdillon kept challenging but we managed to stay clear ahead and free up for the reach back to Humbug with a small lead. A spell of fresher air on the reach back helped us establish a small safety margin over Lisdillon for the tight squeeze back through Humbug and a 15 second gap across the line. We were exactly 2 minutes behind Joli and a further 2 minutes behind Much Ado V. Meanwhile back in the fleet Soundtrack, Fireball and Sweet Chariot were having their own close race with only a minute and eleven seconds between the three. Handicap honours went to Passion X by a mere 7 seconds over Joli, with Lisdillon only 19 seconds further back and another 23 seconds to Much Ado V.

Some good some not so good tacking angles on the way to Goat Island

Some good some not so good tacking angles on the way to Goat Island

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