Wednesday at RANSA provided the close racing we like but so sorely missed last year when we were misplaced into DIV 1s. As expected we are quite competitive downwind but less so upwind. The sometimes gains downwind are insufficient to make up for the frequent losses upwind but we are competitive enough to stay with the leaders if we play the wind shifts well or get lucky. Last week we played the wind shifts almost to perfection but still managed only 4th on handicap as others further back in the fleet also played them well. This week we played the shifts quite well and made up some lost ground when we took the right hand side of the course on the beat back to the finish line. And while we finished close behind the J112e twins we still managed only 4th on handicap.
We know we played the shifts well from Shark Island as we were crossing tacks with Blue Chip from Div 1s who was on the earlier lap for that division.
The start was fair as we were concerned that someone might try a starboard hand start so we ended up to leeward of Allegro, Foreign Affairs and one of the J112e yachts. The arrival of a second J112e in the fleet had us mightily confused all day and we await an obvious name on the new arrival so we can distinguish her from Joli.
Hitchhike was to leeward in clear air while we had dirty air from Allegro whenever the wind went aft. I tried to run down in the puffs but the fleet above kept getting them first and pushing ahead so that we were also in dirty air when the breeze went forward. Eventually I worked all the way down to the line of Hitchhike who was also running away with the gusts and building up a good lead.
The beat back to Steele Point was tight but not so tight as to need a tack. At first we were slow and did not get competitive until we had the back stay on very tight and flattened the top of the main. With that done we were almost matching Amante, Joli and the casual entry Arunga, the second J112e. The all passed us around Steele Point but on the work to Point Piper we were able to take the windward side and retake Amante. Every time we went off the breeze the fast reaching Fidelis would loom up behind and she hung on well to windward to finish not far behind.

The last work to the finish was when we took the windward side of the course both for clear air and to keep in phase with the shifts. Here we caught Arunga and made up ground on Joli but not enough. Arunga timed the tack back to the finish well forcing us to tack to leeward a little tight of the mark so they slipped away in front.

Looking back in the fleet we could see Larrikin doing well for the second week and it was no surprise that Hitchhike, Larrikin and Allegro finished ahead on handicap.

I was surprised to see we were penalised 0.01 for next week but looking through the handicaps it looks fine with the pecking order now

Foreign Affairs, Hitchhike, Joli, Arunga, Allegro, Crosshaven, Passion, Amante and Fidelis. We take some satisfaction on being handicapped harder than Amante but we will see what happens when they have a clean bottom.


Nice angles on the way to the finish

Nice angles on the way to the finish

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