The forecast steady 12 knots was in reality a five to twenty five knot evening which provided plenty of excitement to the much reduced Black fleet. For some reason six of the regulars decided to stay home in the dry and warm inside conditions leaving the seven starters to the cool and wet weather on the course. If they were looking for a first place on handicap it is just as well they stayed home as Lisdillon blitzed the handicap result for a second week and if this were the olympics WADA would be called in for samples. Not only did Lisdillon get a good start they managed to drift through Humbug near the front of the fleet and sail a very good race for the rest of the evening.

Further back in Humbug Passion X was run over by Fireball and Sweet Chariot and never gained speed until this two had passed allowing the clear air to catch up to Passion X. We then went low to sail away from the wind shadow and eventually headed up ahead of Fireball and Sweet Chariot but miles behind Ausreo, Lisdillon, Utopia and Jackpot.

For the rest of the race our interest was in catching Ausreo and staying ahead of Fireball and Sweet Chariot and while we seemed to be moving well through the water we seemed to be on the wrong side of a shift or two or three so nothing changed for much of the race.

The combination of rain squalls and shifty wind kept the the pressure on the crew as the up and down conditions required plenty of gear changes. Trimming was not helped by wet tell tales sticking to the sails in the early stages and as light faded towards the end trimming was even more difficult.

We had one incident when a shackle on a mainsheet turning block came undone and had to be replaced but the crew did an excellent job of keeping the boat going while I went hunting for spares and performed the required shackle surgery.

They were doing such a good job while i was effecting repairs that I rested on the bow and called the tell tales on the No 1 heavy genoa and the new mainsail. Both are made from Dimension Polyant Carbon Sports Light Skin. I like the material and am sure we will have many good races ahead.

With a few good gusts down the reach across Snails Bay we pulled away from Fireball and Sweet Chariot and pulled up to the stern of Ausreo.
For the run to Cockatoo we matched Ausreo and both of us pulled further away from Fireball and Sweet Chariot so that we rounded the west end of Cockatoo thinking we had pulled ahead on handicap.
In Humbug we were pushed around by the wind shifts and were lucky to come out of the shifts ahead of Ausreo who were put about by a Blue Fleet yacht. I gave a wry smile at this misfortune for Ausreo as it gave us enough space to get to the finish line ahead. Meanwhile Sweet Chariot and Fireball came charging through Humbug to steal the handicap places from Ausreo and Passion X. So good was the charge by Fireball that they scored second on handicap behind the enigmatic Lisdillon.

The charge of the back markers was good enough to relegate Jackpot to 6th place just one ahead of Passion X. With a consistent third place Utopia pulls away on the season leader board. I think Joli, Jackpot and Passion X will be tied on second place with two races to go and for our two consecutive weeks of tail end performances we get back a little handicap.

Watch this space.

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