It was a cold gusty westerly today with a forecast for Sydney of 28 knots and 16 degrees so we set our No 3 jib and put in one reef in the main. With the one reef in the head of the sail passes below the running backstays and makes tacking and gybing comfortable on board. We made a good start at the boat end with clear air only because we could not get down to the pin. As it happened we cleared the boat with just few centimetres to spare and tried to stay above the fleet. We looked good until the breeze headed and the pin end starters  came across on a lift and easily crossed ahead.

We stayed out of trouble tacking to port well below the yacht caught below the prohibited area marks so as to give everyone the maximum manouvering room in the windy conditions and were rewarded with a lift along the shore. The reach from Spectacle to Schnapper Island was spend setting up the code 0 for the long broad reach back to long nose. It was the right sail for the leg but we had the furled sail crossing the leech of the jib which prevented it from unfurling. It is surprising how little resistance is needed to stop the furler turning and we learnt this with quite a bit of time lost. Once set we  were holding out the Sydney 38, Avalon but lost out on the gybe to go to Goat Island when did not have the code zero ready to gybe. As it was very windy at this stage and gusting to 28 knots we elected to continue with jib and reefed main alone while Avalon and the Adams Xs in the fleet went with full mainsails.

It was a long hard work back from Goat Island to Spectacle Island and having been discouraged by our problems with the furler we elected not to fly the Code 0 again. In retrospect we should have persevered as it seem the furler line had been caught around a fairlead and we do need the practice.  Had we been able to resolve these issues we could have carried the Code 0 on six of the legs of the course.

Avalon ended up eight minutes in front which is about the usual time that Blue Chip, another Sydney 38 would finish in front in last years RANSA Winter Wednesday series in similar conditions. Full marks to them for carrying the full main around the course.

Irukandji did well as she likes the hard beating in a breeze and she carried her assymetric spinnaker so  well that we did not see her after the first leg. We did hold out two of the Adams X who carried full mains and the Sydney 36, Another Planet.

For the first lap when it was stronger we held out the Fareast28, Wilding2, and had a box seat to her thrills of carrying the Assymetric  down the reach from Spectacle to Schnapper Island without gaining on us but once she hit the broad reach she took off on a plane and in one gust pulled away four minutes on us.

Full marks to those who carried assymetric spinnaker and or carried full mainsails around a challenging course. For our part we need to practice the code 0 setting more and see if we can avoid tangles in the lines.

I should mention that the first yacht to finish was Skeeter, the Bethwaite 8, which was out of sight of most of the fleet all day. In these conditions where they can get up and plane while the displacement hulls are bogged down they have a distinct advantage. We did hit 10.2 knots in one gust but they were 17 minutes in front and did not do their handicap any favours.

Overnight I watched the replay of the Volvo Ocean race last in port race and saw Team Brunel having the same furler problems which prevented them deploying the larger masthead reaching sail. They had similar issues with friction between the existing sail and the new one so now I don’t feel so bad.

Passion X with the reefed fat head main and small jib heeling in the strong westerly.

Passion X with the reefed fat head main and small jib heeling in the strong westerly.


Comments are closed.