The fickle westerly breeze toyed with the fleet for the first half of the RANSA Winter Wednesday race today before the forecast southerly arrived.
Except for Meridian who established an early lead on the downwind and retained it through all the lulls and puffs the rest of the fleet was tightly bunched. As soon as we were accelerated by a puff we ran into a quiet patch and the fleet from behind caught up. At first the windward yachts did well but eventually those who went hard for the Steele Point shore lifted under the fleet and gained a significant break. Chief amongst those were Crosshaven and Britannia who went on to win the day on handicap.
Almost everyone had a nibble at our heels and Foreign Affairs did more than nibble and sailed straight past.
At the turn we were in company with Navy One, Allegro and ISuper with Larrikin hard on our heels and ready for the long work back to the finish line. At Steele Point we were too close the the rocks requiring two quick tacks to clear the point but we came back clear astern of another division competitor and still had to pinch. In this manoeuvre Allegro, ISuper and Navy One drew ahead enough to be clear in front at the Rose Bay turning mark. As we had a big gap behind we tacked on the mark for clear air but lost on the wind angle which favoured those who held on.

That is about the story of the day. Being back in the fleet because of the downwind leg we never had a clear run at the wind shifts . Around Shark Island we made one last attempt to go wide and catch Allegro and ISuper but could not bridge the gap.

The work to the finish did not present any opportunity to overtake so we ended the day with 10 points for scratch and 12 for handicap. On the progress points we drop to 6th on scratch and 7th on handicap.

While we were disappointed that we did not get the fresh downwind leg we need to have a gap for the beat home we nevertheless pulled out four minutes on Larrikin and finished in the middle of the two First 40’s. Fidelis too must have been disappointed with the anemic downwind leg as they managed to beat only Crackerjack who likes it much fresher upwind and down.

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