37 Seconds between 5th place and 8th place shows how good the handicaps are working. On Passion X we managed 7th place but will include our drop of 6th place in the progress scores. Joli with a 4th place will catch up two of the four points difference. Utopia still out in front will use her 8th place drop in the progress scores and we will pull back just 2 points on her 10 point lead.

With four races to go and the flukey end of the season ahead it is still open for many to overtake Utopia for the season crown.

In the light sub 10 knot conditions we made a good start on the western side of the fleet and kept tacking to keep to this side of the fleet. It worked well for us and we made it into Humbug behind just Infotrack and Dump Truck.

Conditions were very shifty on the way to Goat Island and courtesy of some shifts that went our way we were up with Much Ado V and Utopia as we went around Goat Island for the first time. Much Ado V managed to tack away from the Goat Island shore in clear air and pull out quickly while we were pinned down by Utopia waiting until we had to call water on the Goat island Shore. We called loudly so all the yachts to windward of Utopia knew our intention and tacked when our call was acknowledged. Now on starboard Utopia tried to go behind but could not bear away enough so had to go hard about with the inevitable consequence that her stern gave us a good fright on board Passion X. With no harm to crew we sheeted on and recommenced the race but lost enough time on Much Ado V to account for the margin she beat us on handicap.

Ausreo took advantage of the mayhem to catch up to Utopia and Passion X and threaten for a good handicap place which they won by 1 second over Agrovation. Cannot get closer than that.

Our challenge was to limit the time Utopia pulled out and not let Ausreo past. This we achieved by courtesy of a good lift along the Balls Head shore where we lifted towards the Goat Island turning mark while Ausreo below was headed and this was enough to keep our nose in front of them for the run home. Around Goat we could see Fireball coming well back in conditions that did not favour her nor Lisdillon.

Ausreo was not about to give up and blanketed Passion X with good effect until the breeze swung enough for it to come over our port quarter and allow us to reach away with clear air for a safe margin that blew out to 3 minutes by the light air drifting finish.

As we ran into Humbug with the pole out to port we could see the middle of the fleet off Onion Point all heading in different directions on different gybes. Alas there was no last minute gust up the middle for Passion X and our drift from Onion Point to the finish line was in confused air swinging from port quarter to starboard quarter but mostly refusing to come at all. All we wanted was one gust to go from 7th place on handicap to 5th but it was not to be.

Alas for the brave Lisdillon and Fireball who finished 15 and 22 minutes behind Passion X respectively and took over the role of back of the fleet that Ausreo filled last week. Indeed it was a credit to Ausreo to do so well in the light conditions tonight and it is amazing how just a few knots of breeze makes such a difference to this big yacht.

A busy startline
In the action out on the course

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