April 2nd, 2014

The last race of the Autumn series was a short but slow event out around Goat Island and return. We started up the line on port tack and made a good start with speed and no one in front but in a few moments Agrovation was ahead of the fleet and leading into Humbug followed closely by French Connection. Michael Groves on Agrovation tells me that he now knows how to feather the prop and if this has been the cause of his up and down performance we might be in for a shock next season.

In Humbug the fleet kept reaching up to us and blanketing us from the puffs so we made poor progress. Izzi seemed to want to take the fleet up into the wind shadow of Greenwich Point but we managed to get clear ahead so we could hold our own line. Approaching Long Nose point we had Gwhizz above and pointing lower and Worlds Apart in front and holding a similar line until we eased the main halyard too much. Immediately we dropped below their line and had to retension the main halyard to get the leech to stand up. That took us into Long Nose from which we had to tack away. For a while the tack away seemed to work as Worlds Apart was pinching and slowing along the shore but the further into Snails Bay we went the further ahead she went. In light airs and with an incoming tide we made slow progress to Goat with Izzi and Rex sneaking past on a favourable lift. We did manage to pin Izzi onto starboard until we tacked to round Goat Island and that got us one back. Around Goat Island we hand held the genoa our to windward until it was time to round up for the tight reach back to Humbug.
The tight reach back was a tricky one with a large fleet of Blue yachts catching every time the wind picked up.

Blue and black fleet yachts reaching down on top of Passion in the last race of the 1013 2014 season

Eventually Gael Force reached past us despite Kevin’s best endeavours to take them back to the Harbour Bridge but as we hardened up for the beat up Humbug the breeze freshened and Passion took off pointing higher and going faster. In two tacks it was all over. We had passed Geal Force and Rex by a long margin and after we had finished they were left to struggle home in dying breeze.

We did manage a fifth fastest some seven minutes behind Agrovation but some four minutes in front of Gael Force.
On handicap the eighth place should become a drop and with 17 races finished three drops should count and we should win the overall handicap by a point. French Connection with a fine second fastest and first on handicap did everything she could to beat us but with our results year to date even a win was not enough.

We also managed equal second place in the Autumn series with Cipriani and three point behind French Connection. I was pretty happy with the Autumn series as it was a light affair and there were few days that really suited Passion.
Again thanks to all the crew for their loyal support through the season and their company on and off the water.

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