The handicaps for the RANSA Winter Wednesday race next week are out and the three Greenwich Flying Squadron yachts have all had their wings clipped by about 0.01.

If we had raced on Wednesday on these new handicaps the positions would not have changed. Joli would still have come first of the regulars, Agrovation second and Passion X third. Our places were however influenced by the incoming tide and fading breeze which left some yachts far out on the course when in more usual conditions the time differences would have been much less. The forecast for next week does not look promising with around 4 to 5 knots of wind and a small outgoing tide making for quite different conditions. I cannot recall having so many days of light winds and the sea state is down to a forecast 0.4 metres by the week end. The upside has been idyllic conditions for doing a bit of boat maintenance. Rather disappointingly I have had to do a second overhaul on the Spinlock deck organizers due to the sheaves seizing on the shafts. The first overhaul shortly after launch was to replace the all plastic sheaves with alloy ones with plastic bearings. Inexplicably the plastic bearings of the now two year old sheaves have seized on the 12 mm stainless steel shafts. The remedy was to remove the organizers to the workshop and drive the pulleys off the shaft with a perfectly sized aluminium tube. Even after cleaning the shaft and bore, the sheaves would not slide back over the shafts so the plastic bush has been reamed out to the original 12 mm diameter. The 38 mm diameter sheave organizers with six sets of sheaves is ideal for the deck layout on Passion X and I had hoped that the expensive alloy sheaves that replaced the failed plastic ones would have been a permanent solution. If the plastic bushes in the alloy sheaves seize again I will have bronze bushes made but let’s hope that is not needed. The other tedious task was to touch up the paint on the wooden plugs in the toe rail. The toe rails are hard meranti timber with many coats of epoxy and polyurethane paint which are standing up to the conditions on the yacht very well. In the rush to get Passion X on the water the wooden plugs covering the fastener holes received only a single coat of epoxy paint which has not lasted well. The remedy for this was to clear out the single layer of paint off the tiny plugs and saturate the timber with clear epoxy and finish with a coat of white epoxy. While the task was time consuming in the very pleasant conditions it was an enjoyable task.

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