For our first twilight race of 2015 the winds were well in excess of forecast with one competitor sighting a reading of 30 knots. Sensible sailors withdrew in the gusty conditions while we battled on against round up after round up as the bullets hit the fleet.
We had set the North No 1 on the furler for the evening. This is quite flat and has been cut down with a good leech hollow so it suits wind conditions from 15 to 20 knots. For the first running legs of the race we set the full main and lead the fleet around the islands. On the work back up along the Hunters Hill shore we put in a reef losing only 20 metres in the process. That allowed the Dehler 38 to slip by to leeward but on the next favourable wind shift we snuck back into the lead which we held until the headsail tack snap shackle broke. We had two spare snap shackles attached at the bow off the furler so it took just a few moments to ease the genoa halyard and reattach the tack. That was long enough for the Dehler to sweep by and that was the last contact we had with this speedster.
Worlds Apart was now on our transom and we held them to Goat Island but had to tack to clear the mark while they had the extra 5 metres needed to round inside us. The time lost in the two tacks also allowed Izzi to overtake us in the lee of Goat so we had three boats to follow home.
In desparation we took out the reef to hold out a fast finishing French Connection but as we did so the wind reappeared with a vengance making the work up Humbug all the more dangerous. Fortunately for us the crew on French Connection noticed our predicament and pulled away for safety which allowed us to carry on to the lay line to the finish. They were not rewarded for their kindness as the green division yacht to windward of them was slow to respond on Onion Point leaving French Connection stalled within metres of the shore. Post race they assured me they did not hit bottom but it must have been close.
For our efforts Izzi was first, Passion second and French Connection third so they did not go home empty handed.

Comments are closed.