No wind for us on Sunday

This is the asymmetric spinnaker that we put to good use today.

We have been missing in action from the West Harbour Winter Series for the last two races with commitments in Western Australia and Queensland and as the last race we fronted up for was abandoned it has been a long break. After the abandoned race we practised setting the asymmetric spinnaker and ironed out a few issues which was very timely as the asymmetric was the perfect weapon for today.
We carried the spinnaker from Spectacle Island down the Hunters Hill shore and up into Woolwich for a gybe to go to the Goat Island mark. On this leg the breeze faded and shifted so many times that the asymmetric was the only spinnaker that could handle the angles. With a few shifts in our favour we were able to catch the Sydney 38, Utopia and the Pogo 36, Odyssey. Utopia managed to round in front of us and did better on the work back to Long Nose but we went wider and managed to keep abreast all the way into the Cockatoo mark rounding. As we both  lined up to round the mark the mooring tackle under the buoy was caught by the keel or rudder of one of the other division boats and took off towards the next mark. Utopia and Passion X both rounded the bow of the offending yacht as the crew struggled to free the ground tackle but while Utopia was trying to hoist their spinnaker Passion X drifted past under genoa and main. We caught the last of a dying gust and carried it well down towards the Woolwich mark and were delighted to have pulled clear by many boat lengths. From there we extended our lead over Odyssey and Utopia while the front leaders were extending their lead on Passion X. Boxer in particular was having a good day and Balmain Tiger left us behind while we were preoccupied with Utopia and Odyssey. The second leg down the Hunters Hill shore was a bit square and quick enough but from behind the Sydney 36 Cr, Another  Planet came charging across the gap between Odyssey and Passion X. At the Woolwich mark rounding we tangled the genoa sheets with the doused spinnaker allowing Another Planet to climb to windward. Very luckily we were both headed putting Passion X back in front just enough to hold on for a few second across the line and a fourth on handicap.

Across the line we were seven minutes behind Boxer who followed Balmain Tiger, Matagi and Wilding 2. Then there was a few seconds to the fast finishing Another Planet with a nine minute gap to Odyssey. The fleet was indeed spread out with the front runners sharing the podium places on handicap.

We made a few changes to the asymmetric spinnaker settings after our practice sail six weeks ago. We added a strop inside the sock so that the mouth of the sock could be hoisted higher allowing the sail fly freely and we added a swivel so that the gybes did not twist the spinnaker inside the sock. The spinnaker was used on our old Passion but has sat in the new Passion X since launch because previous efforts to fly her were unsuccessful. Now that we have the bugs ironed out it might get to fly more often. The last gybe of the day was perfect as we pulled it through to windward still drawing before the boom was gybed so lost no time at all. Lets hope we can repeat this performance often.

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