Tracks for the evening. The strong tide going back into Humbug make the tacking angles lood much better that they were particularly as we had some big bear aways to clear sterns.

Tracks for the evening. The strong tide going back into Humbug make the tacking angles look much better that they were particularly as we had some big bear aways to clear sterns.

The wind strength at Sydney airport, Fort Denison and Sydney harbour was fifteen to twenty knots which was pretty well what was forecast. We certainly had some lighter patches particularly around Woolwich but generally it was a good forecast for sail selection. We set our No 1 heavy genoa which is 40 sq metres but is a little shorter on the foot and not so full as the No 1 light and it proved perfect for the evening. To cope with the heavier winds we flattened the foot of the main and wound on the backstay tighter than usual which bladed out the head nicely. If anything we possibly kept the backstay wound on too tight during the lulls and could have benefited from continued trimming through the gusts and lulls. We did time the start well with only Much Ado V below and we did reach Humbug on their tail. We both went low down the Onion Point shore but the wind was possibly far enough north that the middle of the stream was favoured as this would explain why almost the whole fleet went through to windward of both Much Ado V and Passion X. We both came up to get into the wind stream but stayed low enough to avoid the wind shadow of Greenwich Point and recover a few places. Utopia, Dump Truck, Jackpot a Fireball were among the yachts that benefited from the mid stream wind through Humbug and were still on front down the back of Cockatoo Island with Lisdillon alongside but to leeward. At the gybe around Cockatoo we failed to release the leeward backstay and had the head of the main push through the gap leaving the back stay on the wrong side. This was not a problem until our first tack away from the Hunters Hill shore when the head would not go back under the backstay and was left hooked to windward in a huge mast head sack. As ugly as this was we managed to pass Fireball. Short tacking the gap between Clark Point and Cockatoo Island left no time to sort our the backstay and we were right on the Clarke Point corner when we had to tack onto port with the ugly mainsail head holding us back. We were in no mans land, too far from Lisdillon to call for room to tack but not far enough away to be able to pass to windward nor able to pull away behind. We were then foreced to tack back to starboard almost onto the rocks and wait for Lisdillon to pass before slowly tacking back to port. Once in clear air we lowered the main until the mainsail head cleared the backstay and re hoisted it. All the while we sailed on the headsail and were fortunate that we were on the favoured tack for the exercise. The whole adventure including avoiding Lisdillon and lowering and raising the the main a couple of metres cost us at least a minute but perhaps not two and at worst on the night cost us only one handicap place and no fastest times places. The rest of the race was a battle to catch Lisdillon which we did a couple of times only for her to get away again. It was not until the last tack to the finish that we were able to get a safe leeward position lining up for the finish line and squeak home fifth fastest behind Utopia, Much Ado V, Dump Truck and Jackpot. Mind you there was a good gap back to Passion X, a half boat back to Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot and Fireball were not far behind. I guessed Lisdillon, Sweet Chariot and Fireball would do well on handicap and was a little surprised to find that Utopia had taken the daily double. I was happy to come away with the fifth on handicap and particularly pleased with how we handled the conditions.

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