The light forecast for the evening was realized and the breeze frequently dropped to just a few knots adding to the frustration of tricky course. The line could not be crossed on Starboard but that did not stop a couple of yachts starting on starboard at the pin mark and forcing the fleet to tack away from the course to Onions Point. Jackpot, Meridian and Joli seemed to get away on Port well as did Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot. The rest of us were put about by Irukandji so that there was a line of frustrated Sydney 38,s and Ker 11.3′s sailing away from Onion Point waiting for a chance to tack back onto port. We tacked when Irakandji did and were promptly knocked back into the point. We took sterns and went as close to the moorings at Onions Point as possible and tacked back with rights to recover a little ground. That gave us a position between two fleets with four J Boats and one RP36 up front and everyone else behind. In Humbug the breeze left us to wallow along while ahead we could see the fleet lifting and leaning into fresh air. Behind Much Ado V and Dump Truck were coming steadily with fresh wind from behind and they passed us. Much Ado V to windward and Dump Truck to leeward but pass us they did.
Our weakness in the variable conditions is changing gears fast enough. The very heavy boom and centreline sheeting keeps the leech of the mainsail very closed where a very twisted leech has some area of the main working in the shifty conditions. On the work to Goat Island we were passed by first Avalon and then Utopia. There was not a lot of difference in the straight line speed but their non overlapping jibs tack much faster than our similar area 140% jib.

That was the end of the parade of yachts passing us and we in turn passed Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot who had made a good start through Humbug. Coming back into Humbug we were heartened to see Much Ado V not too far ahead but once they sailed out of the doldrums it was out turn to sail in and the leading yachts all finished 5 minutes in front all the way back to Utopia who was one minute 20 seconds in front. There was a minute and 46 seconds break back to Sweet Chariot who took handicap honours by two minutes and five seconds courtesy of their very good start.

We were pretty disappointed in our two spells in Humbug and need to find a way to change the mainsail into and out of drifting mode very quickly.

Meridian had another very fine line honours and we were surprised that their very stiff  handicap brought them one place back behind Passion X in the handicap list and we remained tied on handicap for the Spring Series.

Jackpot made a return to the fleet with a second fastest after a short stint in front and a second place on handicap.

While we were disappointed with our eighth place spare a thought for the crew on Avalon who went from roosters last week to feather dusters at 14th this week but they must be pleased with their first and third places in the series off a fairly stiff handicap. Avalon did take out the scratch series by a point from Meridian so there is some pretty close racing at the front of the fleet. We managed to tie with Joli on 4th fastest but they did sail one less race and so had a did not start to discard while we were able to discard our eighth from tonight. Third place on scratch went to Much Ado V so there  is a healthy mix of yachts at the top end of the fleet.

The current handicaps tell a better story of the potential performance of the fleet with the ranking after this week being Avalon, Meridian, Much Ado V, Utopia, Jackpot, Dump Truck, Joli and Passion X.

Becalmed on the way out of Humbug

Becalmed on the way out of Humbug

Much Ado V glides past to windward

Much Ado V glides past to windward

Avalon crosses on the way to Goat Island

Avalon crosses on the way to Goat Island

Becalmed on the way back through Humbug

Becalmed on the way back through Humbug

 

 

 

 

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