We scored a surprising sixth on handicap after a slow and frustrating race at RANSA today. From the start in light and fading breeze we were to leeward of Hanni and could not break through for clear air. As much as we drove to leeward Hanni followed and kept us in her wind shadow. Amanti who had started below with speed managed to power through into clear air and headed off for a well deserved win. Above the fleet worked to leeward and ahead so we looked to be in a pretty desperate position. Ahead the breeze changed from north west to north east so we took the header as far as we could before tacking onto starboard for the long beat towards the heads. As if connected by a long elastic band Hanni followed but courtesy of the big shift was now leeward yacht but in clear air. For what seemed ages we sailed side by side and only a persistent shift enabled us to climb above Hanni to the point she decided to tack away back to the Watsons Bay where the fleet appeared to be in better breeze and lifting. Behind was Fidelis who would have enjoyed the forecast reaches and was now contending with a hard work and square run back. We hung on with Aurunga well ahead and ourselves the most northerly yachts in the fleet and seemingly in a poor position. At last the breeze headed and we tacked for the mark but the shift was short lived and now we were knocking back into the fleet on the south side. As we neared the lay line Allegro passed clearly ahead and we looked to have the early tacking Hanni well covered. The next tack would take us on starboard towards the turn mark where we picked up a few boat lengths on Allegro but we went too early and to leeward of Hanni and needed a port tack to round. With the benefit of a lift Hanni was inside us at the mark forcing us to tack away with a starboard call. That was an expensive and slow tack which let Arunga, Allegro and Hanni pull away on the run to Steele point. Out came the new lightweight whisker pole and while only the same length as the extendable pole we had from the old Passion it is lighter. It projected the large genoa well to windward and we slowly hauled in Allegro and Arunga as well as drawing clear from Fidelis. At Steele point Allegro and Arunga went in close while Hanni and Passion X went wide. The big pole did not come down neatly and in the time it took to get the genoa back to leeward Hanni had pulled ahead. Now it was out turn for a bit of luck as the breeze headed bringing us onto a work and then freed up to a run. In the change of directions we managed to climb above Hanni and finish with just enough time gap to beat her on handicap. While the dirty air we had from Hanni was frustrating we gave the same treatment to Allegro on the run back to Steele Point. Approaching the point the wind shifted a little so we were sailing by the lee just to keep wide away from the wind shadow. At this stage Allegro and Arunga had clear air but they both went in too close and became victims of the wind shadow. We worked hard to take the stern of Arunga and Hanni just to keep wide and were rewarded with clear air. The dying breeze did no favours to the following fleet as can be seen from the handicap results. Joli was third across the line and third on handicap. Meridain was five and five, Passion was six and six, Hanni was seven and seven and Arunga was eighth a eighth. Once the casual entries are culled from the results we were fourth behind Joli for the day and move up to third overall on a count back from Allegro

The big wind shift very apparent from the tracks

The big wind shift very apparent from the tracks

Going

Going

Going more

Going more

And more

And more

Gone

Gone

Very nice sequence taken by a crew during the last West Harbour Winter Series.

From Right to Left

 

What a nice day for a drift! The sun was out and with no breeze the conditions on the water mid winter were very comfortable. Gone was the cold of the previous two days when the east coast of Australia recorded some very low temperatures and in its place was soft winter sunshine.
We started in very little breeze with the 1s fleet which started five minutes early still just in front of the starting line. The division 2 boats also started while we were just in front of the line so it appeared like one big slow moving fleet drifting seaward on an outgoing tide.
Much debate was had about the best end of the line on which to attempt a start and our final position right on the line in the middle was a reasonable choice.
After a while of drifting we lowered the main halyard enough so that the boom sat on the rigid vang allowing the leech of the sail to droop to leeward. Next we sat all of the crew to leeward and then we just relaxed as we inched closer to the lead. Soon it was Arunga, Amanti, Hitchhike, Passion X and Larrikin battling it out at the front of the fleet with Larrikin clearly ahead on handicap. By this stage this little group had passed the division 1s yachts, Duende and Blue Chip and were fast overtaking The Red Hand. In these conditions the less slippery the hull the better the tide gripped it and carried it to the front of the fleet. The though of poling our the genoa was tempered by the amount of resistance it might make to our progress with the tide.
Mercifully, just like this post, the race was abandoned.

Light winds and tide make for record zig zag tacking angles.

Light winds and tide make for record zig zag tacking angles.

In this case the very light winds and the outgoing tide provided the perfect opportunity to record our worst tacking angles ever. Now I have seen experts go worse and the Volvo Ocean race Tracker provided many examples of much worse conditions and we have heard of times when the fleet anchored not to the carried backwards. But for us this was as bad as it gets.
The short distance between Cockatoo Island and the Hunters Hill shore does not give a lot of opportunity to hang on in the lifts and tack in the knocks. It seemed to us that every time we approached a shore we were forced to tack away from a good lift.
As the day wore on the breeze shifted to the north so the last work up the river along the Hunters Hill shore was more forgiving and we could hug the rocks in low flow areas and make some respectable progress. By then the game was over. As every minute wore on the breeze softened the distance to the lead yachts who were closer to the finish went from minutes to fractions of an hour. Only those behind us fared worse with handicap honors generally going to the earlier finishers.
We did have one bit of luck on the second work up the river when we tacked as the breeze came across the course only to have it stop advancing. Now the crew were a bit dejected at the course we were taking away from the breeze but as happened for Another Planet on the previous leg and for Utopia on the tack before the southern side gave a brief respite and we came back with a handy lead over Utopia and Sweet Chariot. Another Planet was by this time in another world due again to the dying breeze.
Good points for the day were beating Utopia across the line by virtue of that lucky tack on the last work and beating Another Planet courtesy of the dying breeze. Bad points were being thrashed by Irukandji who has done no wrong this series.
It was in all a very pleasant day and topped off by a chat on the deck of knowledge after the race and negotiations on transfer fees for valued crew members.

As a bonus photo painting of the carbon fibre whisker pole is progressing well under the awning. The pole is supported on posts at the two ends so it can be rotated easily for painting.

Carbon fibre whisker pole mounted for easy rotation while painting.

Carbon fibre whisker pole mounted for easy rotation while painting.

Much improved working with the phases of the wind shifts kept us in the game today but a poor downwind leg left us well back in the fleet . While Hanni and Foreign Affairs were enjoying a large break on the fleet we were mixing it with Allegro, Amanti and Joli and enjoying a very pleasant afternoon on the water. At the finish we were as close to a dead heat with Joli as is possible and we must have beaten then across the line by half the length of our bowsprit. At least that is the way the finishers saw it and we will take it.
We both almost caught Amanti but it was too much to expect to sail through the lee of two yacht on a beam reach to the finish line.
The day started well with the sea breeze arriving well before start time and in a direction almost straight down the course. Shifts were moving the favoured end around and we picked the wrong end. It was a bit disappointing to see The Biz at the the pin start on Port and cross the fleet while we were most windward and in dirty air. We sailed on untill all the fleet had tacked away and were rewarded with a nice shift to the left so we could come back on port tack and have all the early tackers below. The exception was Hanni who was already a minute out in front and sailing away. We played the shifts well except for one when we tacked under a port tacker to get back across while Allegro kept going north and came back with a minute gain. We kept a good eye on Joli and swapped tacks a few times, sometimes on the right side of the shifts and sometimes not.
On the run back we went inshore because we were being hunted down by a casual entrant and that cost us dearly. Out further there was stronger wind and stronger tide. Here Amanti, and Joli passed us and Allegro and the front runners pulled away. In Rose bay we could not break the overlap from Silky and had to go wide of the mark. Fortunately the fleet went high and with Silky in front we had to go low which on this occassion allowed us to catch up to Allegro and Amanti as well as slip through Joli. As we rounded Point Piper we passed Amanti who had decided to tack away from Allegro’s dirty air. I would have toughed it out in Allegro’s dirty air as she was going in the right direction but we tacked away for clear air and in two tacks lost another minute with Amante and Joli coming back at us. There was just the run and reach home in very quiet air and despite going as low as we could we could not break through the lee of Joli nor catch Amanti and only a light patch just metres away from the finish line enabled us to put our bowsprit in front of Joli.

Allegro, Passion X and Joli all scored discards today and of the top five Hitchhike shoots to the lead from Joli, Allegro and Trim with Passion X drifting backwards to fifth. Still we live to fight another day and our collective poor handicap showing won’t hurt our handicaps.

2018-07-11 15.53.39

Really nice tacking angles against a strong incoming tide were not enough on the day.

I got excited about this maximum boat speed for the day until I realised it was when we were under motor.

I got excited about this maximum boat speed for the day until I realised it was when we were under motor.

Poles no longer apart but joined in the warmth of the sun room

Poles no longer apart but joined in the warmth of the sun room

One of the advantages of overlapping genoas is that if you are doing “non spinnaker” racing you can pole out the overlapping genoa and have more projected sail area downwind. On Passion we had genoas with LP of greater than 6 metres and had both a 5 metre fixed pole and a 6 metre extendable pole. The large overlap genoa with the 6 metre pole was quite successful in the Greenwich Flying Squadron blue fleet.
With Passion X, I was concerned to get a better ORCi rating and had the 5 metre pole cut down to 4,7 metres to match the 600 mm short bowsprit. The reduced length was not a big issue in strong winds but in the light winds the genoa transferred from Passion to Passion X was not setting well. Also the extendable pole is heavy and difficult to extend in heavy airs. The crunch came when I dropped the 4.7 metre pole on Geoff’s head and I realized it was too heavy for safety. I subcontracted the task of finding a carbon pole to the crew and they came up with a suggestion of a CST pole from New Zealand. After a bit of negotiation we settled on a size and specification and Elaine agreed it was a good idea so we went ahead. As days progressed we found lots of bits missing from the quote and so the cost grew. Because more work was coming in we let the cost grow including the GST when the kit arrived in Australia.
I had proposed to put the kit together at Joe Walsh rigging and then motor over and throw it on board Passion X but the work was still piling up so I picked up the kit from Margaret Street in Woolwich and started the work at home.
Tonight it is all joined up except for some extra carbon I am going to put over the outside of the join. A little bit extra carbon on the outside will improve the strength considerably due to both the extra thickness and the larger diameter. Still it will be a light air pole and mainly for poling our the genoa but we will probably give it a go on the big yellow spinnaker in the light airs where an extra 1.3 metres projection will be useful.

What a wonderful day on the harbour! The forecast breeze arrive ten minutes late but was as expected. We made a good start at the pin end of the line and were able to cross most of the fleet on the first tack back. After that the wheels fell off our wind shift selection and it is a wonder we made it to the top mark in the place we did. When Hitchhike came back to the fleet from the right hand side we had to take her stern and that was just one of many sterns we took. Despite the slight outgoing tide the tacking angles look like we were beating into a big incoming one. Not that the yachts around fared much better as we would do well on one tack and lose on the other. Joli went well to windward, found themselves on the wrong side of a right hand shift but made it up on the next left shift. Allegro was back early on the beat but picked the north side for the approach to the top mark and won big time. We were chasing Krakaota, Crosshaven and Trim on our side of the course and we were all surprised to see Fidelis coming in on Port well ahead of us having been on the favoured side on the last shift.
Once around the top mark we poled out our large 44m2 No 1 genoa and stayed mid stream in the slight tide. The yachts ahead, and there was a bunch of them including Crosshaven and Joli, went too close to the shore and into a light patch. We were now chasing Allegro and slowly we made ground. Crosshaven worked back out into the breeze and made ground but lost it again going too close to Steele Point. Joli went wide but we were also wide and keeping a watch on our clubmates. We did not catch Allegro. The closest we came was on the work back to round Shark Island but again they picked the correct side and drew away enough to hold us out to the finish.

Hitchhike took the gun from Foreign Affairs, Arunga and Allegro with Passion X next just 20 seconds in front of Joli. Handicap honours went to Co Co from Trim who looked dangerous all day and The Biz. Hitchhike finished fourth in front of Rainbow and Arunga with Passion X just beating Allegro by three seconds. On progress points Hitchhike and Joli are on 23 points from Allegro on 25 and Passion and Trim on 29.

 

Not our best tacking angles

Not our best tacking angles

 

 

 

Passion X with the fat head main and the fractional code  0 flying

Passion X with the fat head main and the fractional code 0 flying

After a short delay the fifth race of the combined West Harbour Winter Series started in a freshening 6 knots of wind. Despite our best intention to get to the windward end of the line to have first go at the freshening wind we were stuck head to wind on the line in no breeze at the leeward end. To add insult to injury the wind headed as we worked up the Hunters Hill shore making life quite difficult. The work up the narrow waterway around Schnapper and Spectacle Islands was difficult with the large overlapping genoa so by the time we reached away along the Balmain shore we were playing catch up. The deficit was pretty apparent as we worked up to the Goat Island mark watching the leaders reach back up in good breeze.
From the Goat mark we carried the code 0 down the broad reach and along the shore all the way back to the islands. This tight reach made up some ground and the work up the islands was achieved in one board while yacht ahead had to two tack the work. Back down the Balmain shore the code 0 was again working a treat but not on the occasions the breeze was free enough for the surrounding yachts to fly their asymmetric spinnakers. Along this leg Another Planet loomed up to leeward and passed us until the breeze headed and we were able to keep the code 0 flying when they had to douse the spinnaker.
Again the work to the Goat mark had breeze in our favour so we made it in one board. On the broad reach back to Manns mark Another Planet caught us again but once on the tight reach back around Cockatoo we picked up speed and started to haul in the fleet ahead. We pay a very large penalty for the code 0 as it measures as a headsail so on the few occasions it can be flown when asymmetric spinnakers cannot we do well. This one leg let us pull away from Another Planet by three minutes and it appears we made up this time on the fleet ahead.
At the finish we managed a third on handicap courtesy of our good handicap from previous performances. We are only occasional users of spinnakers and so do not fare as well in spinnaker racing as in the no extras event. Anyway we are getting more practice and today it was good enough to get a third.

After our Raymarine es750 playing up and my tired start watch malfunctioning it was time to break out the backup start watch.
I have become so accustomed to the Casio count down timer that when I use tha spare it is time to buy a back up.
From Mandurah to Castle Hill I have sought out spares which have them languished in the wardrobe until required. The last one survived the rigours of building Passion X and it was probably one of the two nasty falls that crached the start button. So I am on the lookout for a special to restock.

We did everything possible today to get a good result in the RANSA Winter Wednesday. Every surplus sail was removed from the yacht and left in the Greenwich Flying Squadron clubhouse for the afternoon. We set the larger of our two radial cut carbon genoas and pre race adjusted sheet cars to the best position for light air beating. Even the crew bags were moved to the forward cabin to get the bow down and the fat stern out of the water.

Due to the lack of wind the race was postponed and during this period we lost track of the start time. Agrovation was kind enough to call down the time so we could restart our watches and in return we let them into the line at the start boat but not Amanti who was too high on the line. Allegro started well a few boats widths to leeward so we were able to pull well below Agrovation and work into clear air.
The boat end was the right place to start and once in front of Agrovation we had only Allegro to leeward and ahead to contend with. For a long time we made very small gains and were working above the line of the mark so we pulled away a little and were surprised that Allegro started to pull away again. As the breeze headed we were back working and lifting above Allegro again and this time we broke through to have a clear ahead position going into the top mark. The leeward end of the line starters were punished by this late shift and never got up to the line of the mark.
We had eyes for no other boats at this stage as Allegro was only a few boat lengths behind and doing just as well on the broad reach. I worked up to Allegro’s line even though we did not want to go too close to Steele Point just to have the same breeze and that worked for a while until we reached Steele Point and Allego went where we would not dare to go. For a while their momentum kept them moving ahead while we slowed to leeward but once into the wind shadow they stopped and as the wind came over the hill we restarted sooner and were able to lift up into a clear ahead position aiming for the finishing boat at the Rose Bay mark.
We did get the gun for the first time this season and were pretty pleased with our effort. The extra 4 m2 in the larger genoa seemed to help to windward. The foot sweeps the deck more closely that the smaller one and that might contribute to the windward performance. It was our breeze with the wind rarely getting above 7 knots and at that we were close to our heel angle.

Joli had been close behind Allegro reaching back to Steele Point but seemed to get caught in the wind shadow and slipped a little further back but still close enough to take 3rd place despite her large handicap. Agrovation had the best start of the day at the boat and hung on for a fifth place on handicap.
We did take the handicap honours from Allegro and Joli but by my calculations these were No 2 and No 1 on the handicap leader board and our 1 and 2 points gains respectively not enough. Larrikin was not in the fleet today which just proves there is a reward for attendance. And what a reward it was with the rain holding off until the sails were packed away for the day and the race committee shortening the course at the appropriate time.

Despite the cold weather we are experiencing the sunny windless days are perfect for maintenance work on Passion X.
Several weeks ago we were embarrassed when as port tacking yacht we could not find a gap between the starboard running yachts. Now if it was the world championships or even the last day of a regatta we could understand a hole not opening up for us but one did not and we hit a friend and damaged the overhang on the sugar scoop transom on Passion X. I promptly glued up the damage and while it was coated with plenty of epoxy it still needed a final capping piece to complete the work.
Saturday was a perfect day for the task and I fabricated a capping piece from 12 mm hardwood plywood using the old shattered capping piece as a template. it worked a treat and the new piece was splice joined into the good section out on the water. Today was the only time I had to do some final filling and fairing as I have a busy week ahead. The longest part of the process was sanding off the two pack polyurethane resin from the areas adjacent to the work so that the new epoxy coating would stick properly.
Tonight is is all done and with the surplus two pack epoxy I tidied up some of the nicks in the transom from the storm damage at Port Stephens back in April. The nicks had been filled with epoxy filler but it was discolouring with age and needed tidying up.
The job is not finished as the epoxy needs more filling and fairing but for now it is all white and water tight.
I took the opportunity to remove some surplus tools from Passion X which will be of benefit in the coming week as the forecast for Wednesday looks pretty light.

Will need all the weight out of Passion X on Wednesday

Will need all the weight out of Passion X on Wednesday

We started right on the line on time today and were rewarded with clear air to establish a lead on our favourite reaching leg. The pin end was biased and there were so many yachts vying for the pin that I expressed the opinion to the crew that we were best off being the most windward of the leeward yachts. That way we would have first use of any breeze coming across the fleet. The crew agreed and we executed well. On the reach we used a sheet run to the rail to minimise the twist in the old faithful carbon genoa and took advantage of the gust to run away just like Hitchhike did last week. Clear air must be a great assist as this week we had the clear air on Hitchhike and they did not catch us. At one stage on the reach the wind speed hit 21.1 knots and we hit over 9 knots of boat speed arriving at the mark with enough time for a tidy rounding for the work back to Rose bay.
Working is our weak point but we pulled on the back stay tight and settled in for the long slog. At first our line was taking us above the mark we have to stay inside but the breeze headed which took us right back into the Div 2 fleet coming in on starboard tack. The fleet was so dense we could not thread through. We also had to tack to clear the mark but this left us on port pinned in by the Div 2 boats and the following Div 1 boats. We were now the most windward yacht and already suffering from disturbed air off the shore but we were further out than last time and held the course all the way to Steele Poin. We hung on in header waiting for a line to clear the point but by the time we tacked the we were now being headed on starboard tack and had dropped into the dirty air of Amante and Arunga.
Working into Rose Bay we got a little back with a lift along the shore but not enough to clear the Rose Bay mark.
Once around the mark we were back on a reach and able to put distance between us and Enigma the Div 2 yacht that was making life difficult. Into Point Piper we made up ground but not enough. The run down to round Shark Island was spend looking over the shoulder at Allegro and while we did play the shifts on the work around Shark Island she was quick enough to draw alongside at the mark. Fortunately we were now reaching to the naval buoys and on our favoured angle so we held off Allegro. We were pleased with this result as both yachts had had a bottom scrub by Harbour Dive Services within an hour of the race start.
i did not get a close look at Amante’s underside but judging by her performance I guess it was cleaner than it has been.
Hanni was the surprise performer with a fastest time from Amante and the casual entry the J112e Urunga. That left us fourth fastest on the day but it was not enough to do well on handicap. The large fleet of 19 yachts that enjoyed the conditions had plenty of good performances including a second from Larrikin who is zooming up the leader board with a 3,2,2 in the last three races.
Joli struggled with just 3 on board but on my calculations after the first drop they will be at the top of the board from Allegro and Hitchhike. Our eighth was enough to take us up to fourth as soon as the first drop is applied.
For the day we reached well but did not pick a good windward path through the fleet and the wind shifts. Also on one crash tack I had the windward genoa sheet wrapped around my ankle which was very slow.

Just an average day at picking wind shifts.

Just an average day at picking wind shifts.

It was a cold gusty westerly today with a forecast for Sydney of 28 knots and 16 degrees so we set our No 3 jib and put in one reef in the main. With the one reef in the head of the sail passes below the running backstays and makes tacking and gybing comfortable on board. We made a good start at the boat end with clear air only because we could not get down to the pin. As it happened we cleared the boat with just few centimetres to spare and tried to stay above the fleet. We looked good until the breeze headed and the pin end starters  came across on a lift and easily crossed ahead.

We stayed out of trouble tacking to port well below the yacht caught below the prohibited area marks so as to give everyone the maximum manouvering room in the windy conditions and were rewarded with a lift along the shore. The reach from Spectacle to Schnapper Island was spend setting up the code 0 for the long broad reach back to long nose. It was the right sail for the leg but we had the furled sail crossing the leech of the jib which prevented it from unfurling. It is surprising how little resistance is needed to stop the furler turning and we learnt this with quite a bit of time lost. Once set we  were holding out the Sydney 38, Avalon but lost out on the gybe to go to Goat Island when did not have the code zero ready to gybe. As it was very windy at this stage and gusting to 28 knots we elected to continue with jib and reefed main alone while Avalon and the Adams Xs in the fleet went with full mainsails.

It was a long hard work back from Goat Island to Spectacle Island and having been discouraged by our problems with the furler we elected not to fly the Code 0 again. In retrospect we should have persevered as it seem the furler line had been caught around a fairlead and we do need the practice.  Had we been able to resolve these issues we could have carried the Code 0 on six of the legs of the course.

Avalon ended up eight minutes in front which is about the usual time that Blue Chip, another Sydney 38 would finish in front in last years RANSA Winter Wednesday series in similar conditions. Full marks to them for carrying the full main around the course.

Irukandji did well as she likes the hard beating in a breeze and she carried her assymetric spinnaker so  well that we did not see her after the first leg. We did hold out two of the Adams X who carried full mains and the Sydney 36, Another Planet.

For the first lap when it was stronger we held out the Fareast28, Wilding2, and had a box seat to her thrills of carrying the Assymetric  down the reach from Spectacle to Schnapper Island without gaining on us but once she hit the broad reach she took off on a plane and in one gust pulled away four minutes on us.

Full marks to those who carried assymetric spinnaker and or carried full mainsails around a challenging course. For our part we need to practice the code 0 setting more and see if we can avoid tangles in the lines.

I should mention that the first yacht to finish was Skeeter, the Bethwaite 8, which was out of sight of most of the fleet all day. In these conditions where they can get up and plane while the displacement hulls are bogged down they have a distinct advantage. We did hit 10.2 knots in one gust but they were 17 minutes in front and did not do their handicap any favours.

Overnight I watched the replay of the Volvo Ocean race last in port race and saw Team Brunel having the same furler problems which prevented them deploying the larger masthead reaching sail. They had similar issues with friction between the existing sail and the new one so now I don’t feel so bad.

Passion X with the reefed fat head main and small jib heeling in the strong westerly.

Passion X with the reefed fat head main and small jib heeling in the strong westerly.

 

Wednesday at RANSA provided the close racing we like but so sorely missed last year when we were misplaced into DIV 1s. As expected we are quite competitive downwind but less so upwind. The sometimes gains downwind are insufficient to make up for the frequent losses upwind but we are competitive enough to stay with the leaders if we play the wind shifts well or get lucky. Last week we played the wind shifts almost to perfection but still managed only 4th on handicap as others further back in the fleet also played them well. This week we played the shifts quite well and made up some lost ground when we took the right hand side of the course on the beat back to the finish line. And while we finished close behind the J112e twins we still managed only 4th on handicap.
We know we played the shifts well from Shark Island as we were crossing tacks with Blue Chip from Div 1s who was on the earlier lap for that division.
The start was fair as we were concerned that someone might try a starboard hand start so we ended up to leeward of Allegro, Foreign Affairs and one of the J112e yachts. The arrival of a second J112e in the fleet had us mightily confused all day and we await an obvious name on the new arrival so we can distinguish her from Joli.
Hitchhike was to leeward in clear air while we had dirty air from Allegro whenever the wind went aft. I tried to run down in the puffs but the fleet above kept getting them first and pushing ahead so that we were also in dirty air when the breeze went forward. Eventually I worked all the way down to the line of Hitchhike who was also running away with the gusts and building up a good lead.
The beat back to Steele Point was tight but not so tight as to need a tack. At first we were slow and did not get competitive until we had the back stay on very tight and flattened the top of the main. With that done we were almost matching Amante, Joli and the casual entry Arunga, the second J112e. The all passed us around Steele Point but on the work to Point Piper we were able to take the windward side and retake Amante. Every time we went off the breeze the fast reaching Fidelis would loom up behind and she hung on well to windward to finish not far behind.

The last work to the finish was when we took the windward side of the course both for clear air and to keep in phase with the shifts. Here we caught Arunga and made up ground on Joli but not enough. Arunga timed the tack back to the finish well forcing us to tack to leeward a little tight of the mark so they slipped away in front.

Looking back in the fleet we could see Larrikin doing well for the second week and it was no surprise that Hitchhike, Larrikin and Allegro finished ahead on handicap.

I was surprised to see we were penalised 0.01 for next week but looking through the handicaps it looks fine with the pecking order now

Foreign Affairs, Hitchhike, Joli, Arunga, Allegro, Crosshaven, Passion, Amante and Fidelis. We take some satisfaction on being handicapped harder than Amante but we will see what happens when they have a clean bottom.

 

Nice angles on the way to the finish

Nice angles on the way to the finish

Yes it was wet and no amount of glass  half full thinking can change the fact the sailing gear is still dripping water onto the floor of our sun room. Inside Passion X the soaking wet No 1.5 genoa is dripping water into the other wise bone dry bilge.

Yes we set the No 1.5 black genoa which is the old faithful off Passion. Pre race we practiced letting the boom sit on the boom vang strut so that the wind could flow freely off the main. We proved we could do it but in the excitement of the race did not put it into practice.

At the leeward end of the line we started on time and soon had our nose in front of all the fleet. Clear air and a heading breeze can make any yacht look quick but we were also on our favoured angle . As the breeze headed it became a work which had us worried. When the breeze sprang up we flattened the main aggressively and seemed to hold the fleet. A long board on starboard put us in the ideal position to flip to port when a massive header with fresher winds hit. Now we could cover the fleet and get back south for the next header. I would have taken a photo of the tracks but it was so straight a line it did not look like a tack. Our first to the top mark was satisfying considering the amount of hard on the wind work but the breeze started to die. In the light breeze we were passed to leeward by Joli and this is where we should have tried the boom down on the vang but occasional puff kept us waiting for the breeze to return. Around Steel Point the breeze lifted taking us rapidly towards the short course finish in Rose Bay. Now it was our turn for a bit of adverse winds as the breeze died and headed leaving us well short of the mark. As Joli took the gun our time was extended by light breeze from the wrong direction. Mercifully we crossed the line next as the fleet came back with freshening breeze.

As we crossed the line I could see Agrovation in close company of Amanti and obviously having a blinder of a race. Also Larrikin was well up and I speculated she would do well. All my speculation proved correct as Agrovation won from Joli and Larrikin with Passion X in 4th place.

We did enjoy the result despite the rain and did enjoy the photo that DJ put up on the Greenwich Flying Squadron facebook page. It was a good GFS day with three of our yachts in the top four in Div 1 and Hasta La Vista second in Div 2.

As and update I took a photo of the tracks before I erased them before the next race and can now show how well we took advantage of the big wind change.

Love it. Sailing in almost the same directions on opposite tacks.

Love it. Sailing in almost the same directions on opposite tacks.