The Greenwich Flying Squadron fleet was greeted by warm gusty conditions for the Wednesday twilight race which made for interesting if stressful sailing.
The black fleet bunched up at the exit to Humbug with Fireball taking the risky inside track but escaping unharmed from this tactic. Passion X was widest hoping to see the inside fleet becalmed but it was not to be and so we had a tightly bunched group tacking at very close quarters in very gusty conditions.
Eventually Dump Truck and Much Ado V worked out ahead using every gram of their 2.5 tonne keels to punch into the strengthening conditions. Utopia also drew away while Fireball, Joli, Meridian, Ausreo and Passion X had an absorbing trip to Goat Island. By the reach and run down to Snapper Island only Fireball had slipped behind this tight group and we were feeling pretty pleased with our position. We were still pleased on the work back to Goat except for the impressive windward performance of Ausreo who left Joli and Meridian behind with Passion X slipping back due to some heavy traffic off of Spectacle Island. We were still happy until the last 100 metres into Goat where the timing of the lifts did not go to plan allowing Joli and Meridian to slip away. Our run around Goat was disastrous as the light patches followed us around the island allowing Fireball to gain minutes and come up within cooee.
When we did get going Meridian and Joli were reaching away at high speed already well past the concrete dolphins in Snails Bay.
At this point wind decided it needed to give the crew of Passion X some encouragement so it hotted up for the reach past Long Nose drawing us away from Fireball and up much closer to Meridian and Joli than we deserved.

The wise move would have been to tack and follow the J112 twins but we headed hard into the Valencia Street Ferry wharf and had to tack away from a very big, very late lift while Meridian and Joli out mid stream were able to use the lift to advantage and recover some of their lead over Passion X.

The very last set of lifts were also unkind as we were headed well below the finish line and were forced into two more tacks before we crossed the line. Compounding the problems was the nature of the gusts which were short and sharp rounding us up repeatedly on the way to the line.

Despite these setbacks the early part of the race when we matched it with Ausreo, Meridian and Joli was enough to give us fourth on handicap behind Infotrack, Ausreo and Fireball. Fireball did well from cutting the corner off of Greenwich point and from the second rounding of Goat and hung on for the well deserved third place.

Infotrack completed the course in record time but the time of 6 minutes 57 seconds is slightly suspicious and may catch the eye of the race committee for review. Nevertheless the relative positions of the rest of the fleet will stay the same and Passion X should move up the leader board until the discards kick in when Ausreo will be able to drop their DNS and take over the crown. Meanwhile we escape with a good place and our handicap unsullied ready for another race

Fireball doing particularly well after taking the inside track around Greenwich Point
Passion X chasing Meridian
Bob doing a great job holding out the genoa

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