Some pretty awful wind shifts contributed to the last place on handicap tonight.

Some pretty awful wind shifts contributed to the last place on handicap tonight.

I need the guys from Men in Black with their shining light to erase the memory of today’s race. We did all the rig adjustments and that seemed to work out fine. The over full head of the mainsail was corrected with letting off the D2′s and easing the top battens a few millimeters and we set the 40m2 second genoa which was the correct size for the night but from then things went pear shaped. (Not that pears are inappropriately shaped. It is just one of those old fashioned sayings.) On the Greenwich Flying Squadron Facebook page there is a six minute video of the yachts and from 48 seconds in to 59 seconds there is a view of the rig on Passion before the start. With the mast with more prebend and with the vang off the head of the main is freeing up well in the gusts.
What a mess we made of the start! Instead of being up the line on port we ended up at the pin forced down there by Dump Truck as we both had to take starboard transoms. Once Dump Truck hardened up sharply we had no where to go except to the far pin and in dirty air. Only Much Ado V was behind but then they managed to get onto starboard coming of the Onions Point shore causing us more grief.
Jackpot, Utopia and Joli all seemed to get away well up the line and used their clear air and ahead position to advantage. Dump Truck hugged the Onions Point shore for better breeze but the lift eventually came to the windward yachts who hardened up around Greenwich Point and took off towards Goat Island. From behind we managed to lift above Fireball and gradually pull away but we made little impression on Irukandji and Lisdillon who were immediately in front. At this stage Dump Truck and Much Ado V were not far ahead and we were reasonably happy with the performance except for the terrible start. No gains were made on the run and reach back to Cockatoo Island as in that strength of breeze Irukandji and Lisdillon are quite competetive on the run but the most frustration phase was yet to come.
Along the Hunters Hill shore we moved well but once out into the Long Nose to Goat Island area we faced header after header and at the most inappropriate time. We tacked to round Goat Island only to be driven half way down the Island by one huge shift and in a sequence that was repeated a few times Irukandji and Lisdillon and the fleet in front drew further away. Had we been sailing or Lasers we most probably would have tacked back each time onto the lift but so frequent were the shifts we opted to hang on for a lift which did not come until we were on the next tack and it was a knock.
The last throw of the dice was the trip back from Goat Island to the finish. To our frustration we were caught in a very light air phase and made no ground.
Into Humbug we came down with a gust from behind up to Lisdillon’s transom but no further but it was all too little too late as Irukandji and everyone in front was already over the line and dousing sails.
Utopia with a guest driver was 10 minutes in front at the finish and Irukandji who was 4 minutes in front should take the handicap prize once the results are checked. They sailed well and deserve a bottle of wind. We deserved our last place on handicap and empty hands.
That said we had an enjoyable evening battling the adversity of the wind shifts and worked well as a team.

A screenshot from the Video on the Greenwich Flying Squadron Facebook page showing the appropriate twist in the leech of the mainsail

A screenshot from the Video on the Greenwich Flying Squadron Facebook page showing the appropriate twist in the leech of the mainsail

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