Had the forecast 25 knots turned up as planned we could have been famous and come home with a roaring southerly but it was not to be. Our cautious selection of a heavy air No 3 jib looked ok as we picked the start well and the breeze held well over 5 knots. We won the race into Humbug and kept the lead to the corner of Cockatoo Island. At that point the breeze and our luck ran out. In turn Avalon, Utopia and Jackpot ran past and lead around the corner of the island to start the work to Goat Island. We made a tactical mistake at this stage of staying too close to the leeward side of Cockatoo Island and waiting for the breeze while Joli and Fireball went lower and faster. Full marks to Fireball for going the lowest along the Hunters Hill shore and then along the Greenwich shore completely skirting the windward yachts. Our small heavy weather jib was not helping but we would have gone a lot better if we had lead Fireball along the norther shore lines where the outgoing tide was the strongest. By the time we arrived at Goat Island the breeze had died even further and as we rounded the eastern end we could see Avalon coming out of the western end on the way back to the club. The rest of the race was a lonely event as our small sail area and dying breeze did not give us much hope of making up any ground. Lisdillon was coming up from behind and our last challenge for the evening was to stay in front until the finishing line. This we did by a small margin and that left Sweet Chariot out on the course with not much help from the wind to come home.
Thanks to the good start and a bit of breeze for the first quarter of the race we managed to hold on for 6th fastest and 6th on handicap with 35 minutes to spare to cut off time. The Blue fleet who started 5 minutes later and did a similar length course were still out on the water well after our finish and three yachts from different fleets failed to complete at the 8:15 cut off time. It was sad seeing them just metres from the line at the cut off time.
Now the forecast wind decided to arrive about 10 minutes after the 8:15 deadline and was already building as I motored to the mooring.
Fireball with good tactics won the handicap by a couple of minutes from Avalon with Utopia a further four minutes on handicap back. We were 9 minutes away from first on handicap and unlikely to have beaten Fireball with any head sail we chose. We might however have got onto the podium as we were less that four minutes behind Utopia.
It was an interesting experiment but our jib is just too small for these light winds.

Comments are closed.