Winter is Sydney can be finer than summer in parts of the world and Sydney is one of the few places where one can sail year round in relative comfort. Friday was a case in point where the temperature never got below 10 C rising to 17 C in time for our start in the Balmain Winter series. The wind however was gusting to 20 knots and the chill factor would have made the conditions feel much colder were it not for the physical work rate required to tame the beast called Passion X in the gusty winter conditions. Yes the winter westerly breeze is off the land and the only thing predictable about it is that it is capricious.
We set the carbon No 3 jib for the ease of tacking in the windy conditions and started with a full mainsail flattened out for the conditions. We calculated correctly that we could manage the sail area for the short work to the first island rounding mark and then carry the sail downwind. Depending on the wind strength we could reef at the turn or struggle home with full sail.

As the afternoon progressed the wind abated a little and apart from the occasional gust we managed the course without the optional reef. Indeed as the day progressed we caught the reefed yachts but with a crew of just three we could not hold the more crewed up Avalon who as usual executed flawlessly to beat us by a couple of places.

One of the regular crew took a short video from Birkenhead Point showing our rounding of Snapper Island. The video shows a snappy tack which was one of our best for the day and also shows the amount of mast bend. Given the amount of backstay I had wound in for the windy conditions the mast bend looks modest at best. Perhaps I need to try harder but now that I have seen the real life evidence I will pay more attention to this control.

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