What a difference a week makes as the contrast with last weeks wet cold race could not be more stark. Tonight we had around ten knots and warm sunny conditions making for a most enjoyable evening. Our prospect had already improved when the divers removed the large plastic bag from the feathering propellor on Passion X. I am certain we picked this up half way through last Wednesday’s race as we were performing well and mid race dropped off the pace.
We set the same sails as last week in part because the genoa was still dripping wet and in need of a good airing and the breeze was almost in the right range for our No 1 heavy genoa.
The start was a bit tricky as we had limited room between the moored yachts in Gore Creek and the fleet running back towards the port tackers making for the line. Dump Truck left no room between the moored yachts and Sweet Chariot was left circling in a very confined space off of the wharf and doing a fine job too. Some of the fleet opted for a starboard beat down the line and depending on the wind shifts they were looking good or bad. We opted to start on port mid line and would have taken sterns but for the fleet bearing away giving the appearance we were going to cross easily. As it was Jackpot graciously took our stern as the breeze left us almost stationary in their path. That allowed us to pull away from the header and still clear the rest of the starboard tackers.
Infotrack and Dump Truck were playing out in front in Humbug pushing up into the moored yachts and then Infotrack turned 90 degrees and headed back to clear air away from the Greenwich Point wind shadow. While this was going on Jackpot forced us up towards Dump Truck and while we pulled away as soon as we could clear their stern we were passed from below by Meridian and left in Jackpot’s dirty air. The only bright spot was that Utopia and Agrovation seemed to follow into the wind shadow of the point and take just as long to emerge. The gain that Jackpot made in this phase was shocking. In a matter of minutes she was three minutes ahead and seeming to be having a great race.
We were sailing well enough but in the fresher breeze approaching Goat Island Ausreo was trucking up to our position and almost passed as at the red navigation mark. We did manage to bear away around the island with our nose in front only to be run over on the exit as we were blanketed by their rather large sails. We drifted through the gap in tandem but once the breeze came on the nose we had clear air again and took off after the fleet.
As the breeze faded a little we drew away from Ausreo and had a rather lonely race chasing Meridian on the long work from Spectacle Island back to Goat. Our boat speed and height was fine and we frequently saw over 5 knots VMG but did not always have the best wind direction. Meridian on the other hand picked some nice angles going into Goat the second time and drew further ahead.
On the reach back to Humbug we could see two Sydney 38’s moving slowly through the gap and Meridian with better breeze making some progress from behind.
We followed Meridian’s path with the extra bonus of breeze a bit further aft so we could carry the genoa poled out quite a long way down the broad reach to the Valentia street Wharf. Mid way it became too shy so we lowered the pole and stayed wide. Luckily for us we lifted along the Onion Point shore and had to tack only at the point to clear some early fleet yachts that looked to be about to run aground. The time lost in this was immaterial as it did not affect the fastest times or handicap places.

With a clean prop and some clear air sailing we managed third place on handicap behind Dump Truck and Infotrack. We were a minute behind Infotrack, a minute and a half in front of Jackpot and two minutes in front of Fireball. The two Sydney 38’s had a close race with Utopia prevailing on time but Agrovation on handicap.

In the series we picked up six points on Utopia who are still 5 points ahead but we have broken out of the tight pack for second place if only for a short reign.

Winning Crew from the Summer Series making a good start for Autumn
Dump Truck and Infotrack in the doldrums and Jackpot pushing Passion X into the same calm
Pulling behind Utopia and missing the big lift ahead
Meridian off Onion Point ahead of Passion X
Out by ourselves a couple of minutes behind Meridian and concentrating on VMG

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