Tonight was the resail of the Australia Day Regatta at Greenwich Flying Squadron and after last weeks postponement due to strong winds we had a fickle breeze with something for everyone. We started well winning the start and were first into Humbug where we were promptly becalmed and in a very short time went from first to last. The breeze was coming straight down Humbug so we were blanketed by the fleet and with the disturbed air on the Onions Point side swirling we were trapped into repeated gybes. Midstream there was not much more breeze but it was from a more consistent direction. A photo from the Greenwich Flying Squadron Facebook page shows the position well. Only after the fleet sailed by did we get clear air and a chance to start the chase. We worked to windward enough to clear the mighty Ausreo but went low below Fireball. We took the stern of a starboard tacking Etchell but Fireball had to take more drastic evasive action and so we had clear air above. Jackpot had taken the same Onions Point shore where we were overrun by the fleet and did not do well on that side. At Cockatoo Island Joli and Irukandji were in the mix with Utopia, Avalon, Dump Truck and Much Ado V and there was a large break back to Passion X. Around Cockatoo Island there was a lot of traffic from the earlier starting fleets and we took the low side for safety. Jackpot rounded a little later and with less traffic and took the high side setting up a very close tussle for the rest of the race.
We picked the breeze shift well off of the Greenwich baths and also were lucky to tack on a brief header near Balls Head to keep us in touch with Jackpot and make us some ground on Irukandji and Joli. Around Goat Island the four of us bunched up but we were last to exit and still trailing. The leg back around Long Nose was very fickle and perhaps the one we played the best going first to leeward and then staying on the starboard gybe past the point. I expected the gybe back to port to be very square and wanted the jib swapped over but the wind headed quit sharply and we were now beam reaching back to Cockatoo. The two Sydney 38′s and the two Ker 11.3′s were long gone but we had a race keeping in front of Jackpot, Irukandji and Joli. Jackpot was still alongside down the Cockatoo shore and only our inside position and starboard gybe gave us rights and room to just get our nose in front on the rounding. With fresh air first around Cockatoo we drew away from Jackpot only to die off of Clarke Point and have them come alongside again. In the close tacking up Humbug we went as close as possible before calling room to tack on Jackpot and later on the white fleet Jaytripper. The extra few yards added up but the time we exited Humbug and reached away for a narrow fifth fastest.
Dump Truck skippered by Darren Beck and family took the first and fastest result while Irukandji finished second on handicap and Much Ado V third.
For tonight’s race I put a sliding ring on the mainsheet bridle. The idea is that in strong gusts the ring will move to leeward and drop the boom. It worked very will in the heavy gusts and while we tracked a little lower I felt we were faster. On the reaches it was very effective and in my mind something to retain. It is still work in progress as in light air we need to be able to centre the boom with less mainsheet tension so there will be more experiments.

Winning the start

Winning the start

Just minutes later passed by almost the whole fleet

Just minutes later passed by almost the whole fleet

A very quiet square run into the sunset

A very quiet square run into the sunset

A very nice two tacks off of Balls Head was a bit of a saver for us.

A very nice two tacks off of Balls Head was a bit of a saver for us.

The work home through Humbug was also a highlight.

The work home through Humbug was also a highlight.

In Humbug all the fleet reaching passed Passion X and Jackpot becalmed on the Onions Point side.

In Humbug all the fleet reaching passed Passion X and Jackpot becalmed on the Onions Point side.

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