It was a long race tonight and the longer the race the more time allowance we receive which resulted in a surprise sixth place on handicap.
At times the sailing was satisfying with good boat speed in the ten knot conditions and then there were times when a favourable lift brought a smile to our faces only to be wiped away by the next self inflicted wound. In true Python fashion it was only a flesh wound but at the time the distance lost was disappointing.

From the start we reached Humbug in good company only to have the fleet sail through to leeward just a boat width or two below. That would be ok if they did not then point up from under and take off in clear air while we languished in disturbed air waiting for the breeze that never came. The only consolation was that Dump Truck was stuck behind us in the same disturbed air and was making just as little progress. So disadvantaged were they by this unpredictable lack of air that it half way to Goat Island before they finally passed us and went off chasing their peers.

We were generally sailing well in the fresh conditions with the No1 heavy genoa and satisfied with boat speed and position until the last dig into Goat Island for the second rounding. As we tacked away from Goat we were knocked badly and should have tacked back in a few boat lengths. Alas we held on sailing at right angles to the rounding mark only to be also knocked on the way back and lost time pinching to clear the red navigation mark.
That indiscretion let Joli slip away at least a minute and put Ausreo right on our tail.

From there Ausreo did their best to blanket us but we held them off all the way back to Cockatoo Island where the wheels fell off. For some inexplicable reason we languished alongside Cockatoo while Ausreo, Fireball, Sweet Chariot and Lisdillon made up ground.
Around the end of Cockatoo we picked up some pressure and charged off towards Humbug and the stern of Joli who was becalmed off of Onion Point. At this stage we were happy that we had recovered almost all of our previous mistake when we too ran into nothing and the big Ausreo sailed through our lee possibly using momentum. While we wallowed in the eddy off of Onion Point Fireball, Sweet Chariot and Lisdillon enjoyed some of the pressure we had earlier and closed the gap.

At the finish Ausreo was the winner by three and a half minutes from Sweet Chariot and Fireball. The came the two Sydney 38’s Agrovation and Utopia followed by Passion X. We would have moved up only one place with a minute less elapsed time so our sixth place was meant to be. Next was Jackpot, Lisdillon and Joli. Bringing up the tail end was the fast end of the fleet Much Ado V, Dump Truck and Infotrack. Still the two Ker 11.3s had a very close tussle with the two Sydney 38’s all finishing within 30 seconds. now that would have been nice to see.

Finally the course was too long for the forecast conditions and it did not get any better as there was plenty of light patches as there always is. Sure we finished before 8 pm but the club was locked and alarmed before half of the Black fleet were back to discharge crew. It takes the edge of an otherwise enjoyable evening to have to unlock and disarm the club alarm to be able to discharge the loyal crew.

The fleet gets into the breeze while we are backwided in the disturbed air
Dump Truck finds her mojo and goes through to leeward
Joli passes is front. We should have followed.
Ausreo glides by to leeward. Joli becalmed at Onion Point
Joli at the finish with Ausreo well in front of Passion X from the inside pass

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