With conflicting forecasts today I chose the big black carbon genoa only to find the wind picked up to over twenty knots for the start. It was too late to change down and perhaps it was just a front that would blow through so we took off on the reach to the top mark fully powered up.

The extra power kept us closer to the top of the fleet and in front of Enigma and Larrikin. Allegro was surprisingly close ahead and separated from us by only L’eau Co. It was a tight single leg back to Steel Point and the reef we put in just before the top mark helped us keep Passion under control. Running into Rose Bay the breeze lightened off but we left the reef in ready for the work to windward. With the benefit of a shift to the right we all but made the turning mark on a single board but some dirty air and a small shift back meant we needed a short work off the shore. We tacked back below the line of the big Margaret Rintoul V from division 1s which was steaming into the mark on starboard and had to contend with her dirty air for a short time. Along the work we had passed L’eau Co and overtaken the Division 2 Gwhizz  and Silky. The latter two started five minutes behind us but turned at the shorter top mark and had been ahead on the reach into Rose Bay. Now that we were on the broad reach to the top of Shark Island it would have been nice to shake out the reef but again caution prevailed as there were still some strong gusts on the course.  On the reach back to the bottom of the Island Gwhizz made up some good ground on us and carried a strong gust almost to our stern but once back onto the wind we pulled away again.

From the bottom of Shark Island we again benefited from a left shift which was against the predicted shift to the west so I was keen to hang on as long as possible. We did tack to port once we cleared the Division 3 yacht that wanted to tack around the turning mark for the trip around Shark Island. From here we took a long board out to the lay line to the finish. I was nervous out this far in anticipation of the shift back to the west and kept a bit of mark room in the bank. As we approached the finish the wind did progressively move west and we just cleared the finish line on a tight work.

In the end Izzi beat us across the line by a couple of minutes. It must have been Izzi that I mistook for Rainbow who did not show up for the race. Crackerjack was just over a minute in front and Allegro only three and a half minutes in front.

Fidelis won the handicap race from Viva and Amante. There are no surprises here. Fidelis loves the reaching conditions and Viva fronts up week after week waiting for a blow to show how fast she is so I am very pleased with our fourth place and the performance to windward of Passion under the conditions. At times I saw windward speeds of seven knots which is well above anything we have seen of recent times. The carbon fiber genoa and the reefed main seemed to be the perfect combination for balance and speed in the conditions and we were helped by an incoming tide.

All of the days tacks on one short section of the course

All of the days tacks on one short section of the course

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