Driving to the club early for the twilight race the temperature was a very pleasant 27 degrees C but as I prepared to launch the dinghy for the trip to the moored Passion X the rain came and I sheltered in the club for a good hour.
The rain radar showed that there was a second band of rain following but as luck would have it the second band did not arrive until we were safely on the way home post the BBQ on the deck.
After being under powered last week we set the 40m2 genoa and a full main but in a concession to the threatening breeze has the sails set very flat. During the afternoon one of the crew hoisted me aloft to slacken the D2′s. These had been on very tight and with the D2′s eased the mast adopted a more even bend and the mainsail did seem a bit flatter. Regardless of cause the effect seemed to be a more responsive boat and we handled the gusty conditions as well as any time since we launched.
The race however did not go all our way. We had a mighty tussle with Much Ado V going out of Humbug and were perhaps third out only to have almost all the fleet sail through on the inside in what is usually a nasty wind shadow around Greenwich Point. Now at the back of the fleet we were squeezed between Much Ado V to windward and Utopia to leeward with a large group including Joli and Flashback ahead. Not liking the dirty air from Much Ado V we worked to windward of the tight reaching fleet only to have Much Ado V repeatedly round up in front. That was enough to kick in the caution mode and we went well high of the fleet and eventually into the disturbed air around Balls Point. I did keep as low as I thought was safe from the rounding up yachts below but Lisdillon from behind went low all the way to the Goat clearance mark and made up some good ground. The front of the fleet was very tightly bunched at Goat Island and closed up tightly in the wind shadow of the island. As the leading yachts nudged forward into the oncoming breeze the fleet started to spread out. Just in front were two J112e, two Sydney 38 and one Ker 11.3 and we were giving close chase hoping for a lucky break through Humbug.
No lucky break came and we were forced to tack onto starboard by a Blue fleet yacht well before out clear line to the finish. The extra two tacks were costly and we made up little ground except at the very finish when we had a little more breeze and crept up to the transom of Avalon, but no further.
As we finished quite close to the leaders we expected to do well on handicap. We were declared the winners but when I saw the result sheet I could see that we were finished 2 minutes early in a transcription error. After correction by Harvey at 9:30 pm we lost by 7 seconds to Meridian. We had both received the bottle of wine we deserved for first and second places but in the wrong order but only those who read the blog will know that Stephen was the real winner on the night.

Considering the breeze and the quality of the fleet I was very pleased with our performance. It was the closest we have finished to the similar rating Sydney 38, Avalon and just one minute behind the similar rating Ker 11.3, Much Ado V. I continue to be impressed by the performance of the lower rated J112e, both Joli and Meridian, but the design is a current IRC champion.

For the record the wind did gust to over 20 knots and our boat speed reached into the mid 10 knot range.

Passion X squeezed out by Much Ado to windward and eventual scratch winner Utopia to leeward

Passion X squeezed out by Much Ado to windward and eventual scratch winner Utopia to leeward

Passion X overtaken by the following fleet around Greenwich Point

Passion X overtaken by the following fleet around Greenwich Point

At the finish catching up to Avalon with Joli and Much Ado V just across the line.  Utopia and Meridian had already cleared the frame.

At the finish catching up to Avalon with Joli and Much Ado V just across the line. Utopia and Meridian had already cleared the frame.

Comments are closed.