I have mixed feelings about our second place on handicap and fourth fastest result tonight. I am very pleased with the result which went pretty well as I expected given that the long handicap yachts like Passion X were to have the first use of the breeze and possibly get home ahead of it petering out. Lisdillon had the longest handicap and sailed in clear air all evening for a win by almost five minutes. On Passion X we were able to claw back just 17 seconds over the almost two hour race. We did pass Sweet Chariot who sailed a very good race up until Humbug and seemed assured of third place only to lose ten minutes in the last tricky transit of Humbug. Much Ado V was fastest around the course but only made up one and a half minutes on Passion X to finish four and a half minutes behind. We would be pleased if we could finish that close on a regular basis but I accept the result is an abberation due to the staggered start times. Meridian was next across the line having made up three minutes and seven seconds on Joli and they made a pretty picture reaching into the finish just metres apart. Indeed from fourth placed Meridian to tenth placed newcomer Agrovation there was just one minute and forty nine seconds so the string of Black fleet yachts looked impressive.

The crew of Agrovation should be pleased with their third fastest place around the course on their first outing.

Apart from the first use of the fading breeze this evening we had the benefit of an incoming tide for the rounding of Goat Island. By Goat Island the fleet had made up quite a bit of ground on Passion X with Joli and Meridian looking to be just a minute behind but once we rounded the eastern end of the island the incoming tide carried us away while the chasing yachts were in light air being carried by the tide towards the island. As we reached away out of sight we could see the two J112 yachts having to tack away from the Goat Island shore against the tide and this is where we established a reasonable break on the fleet. For our part we could not have done any better. We had the right sails up for the breeze and played the jib and main and backstay pretty aggressively for the very changeable conditions.

For our efforts we lose two minutes handicap for next week and start alongside Joli so the task will be so much harder.

A nice photo of Passion X in Humbug courtesy of Mark Palmer and the GFS Facebook page was published overnight.

Passion X in Humbug 11th December 2019 photo Mark Palmer

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