Archive for July 2019

Our handicap has caught up with us and in less than optimal conditions for Passion X we finished last by one second. In the fresh conditions we could only set our No 3 jib while many carried their large genoas on the down wind leg. We did manage to hold out Hanni and Crosshaven on the run despite spending much of the very broad reach come run in the wind shadow of the fleet. Only a shift to the windward side up near the top mark saved us from a very wide mark rounding behind half the fleet. Fidelis lead the way with Allegro up near the front. Unfortunately for Allegro and Passion X, Allegro caught her genoa on the mark rounding and reached away from the mark driving Passion X deep into the headland. Hanni to leeward was pointing up leaving us no where to go until Allegro tacked away. by then we were close to the rocks and calling for room to tack on Crosshaven. Crackerjack was with the early leaders and tacked early so we had a guide as to the wind direction and strength. We held our position for a couple of tacks but let Crosshaven tack to the southern shore without following. On the next lift they pulled out a half minute lead which we never recovered.
At Steel Point we put in a dig into the point and came away quite well. The next knock allowed us to tack to starboard on a good lift into Rose Bay and for a while we thought we had pulled back some distance on Hanni but she waited for the next knock and tacked across well in front. All up the work Hanni was travelling faster and higher than Passion X and her sails were nicely flattened out for the windward work. Perhaps a carbon No 3 jib on Passion X might be faster but for heavy air cruising we opted for a radial cut Hydranet and while probably bullet proof the leech does not look as streamlined as the nice flat black genoa on Hanni.
The tracks show we sailed the shifts to windward pretty well and the boat speed was up at the 7 knot mark so it is hard to know what else we could have done.

On the reach into Point Piper we did make up some time but were seven boats deep at the rounding and had to wait for the Div 2 boats to round before we could pull away behind their stern. A the top of Shark Island we had to sail around another two Div 2 yachts and it took a long time to get clear ahead for the tack to the mark for the reach home.

At the finish Fidelis was almost three minutes ahead but it was Crackerjack a minute and a quarter ahead across the line who took out the handicap result. Agrovation was half a minute behind in second place on handicap after a pretty impressive downwind leg. Senta was half a minute further back after also having a good downwind leg.

The last time there was breeze and Crackerjack won we were a similar distance behind Crackerjack over the line but this time we were closer to Hanni and Crosshaven so perhaps we sailed better.

Very good angles to windward today were not good enough in the conditions.

Very good angles to windward today were not good enough in the conditions.

No wind for us on Sunday

This is the asymmetric spinnaker that we put to good use today.

We have been missing in action from the West Harbour Winter Series for the last two races with commitments in Western Australia and Queensland and as the last race we fronted up for was abandoned it has been a long break. After the abandoned race we practised setting the asymmetric spinnaker and ironed out a few issues which was very timely as the asymmetric was the perfect weapon for today.
We carried the spinnaker from Spectacle Island down the Hunters Hill shore and up into Woolwich for a gybe to go to the Goat Island mark. On this leg the breeze faded and shifted so many times that the asymmetric was the only spinnaker that could handle the angles. With a few shifts in our favour we were able to catch the Sydney 38, Utopia and the Pogo 36, Odyssey. Utopia managed to round in front of us and did better on the work back to Long Nose but we went wider and managed to keep abreast all the way into the Cockatoo mark rounding. As we both  lined up to round the mark the mooring tackle under the buoy was caught by the keel or rudder of one of the other division boats and took off towards the next mark. Utopia and Passion X both rounded the bow of the offending yacht as the crew struggled to free the ground tackle but while Utopia was trying to hoist their spinnaker Passion X drifted past under genoa and main. We caught the last of a dying gust and carried it well down towards the Woolwich mark and were delighted to have pulled clear by many boat lengths. From there we extended our lead over Odyssey and Utopia while the front leaders were extending their lead on Passion X. Boxer in particular was having a good day and Balmain Tiger left us behind while we were preoccupied with Utopia and Odyssey. The second leg down the Hunters Hill shore was a bit square and quick enough but from behind the Sydney 36 Cr, Another  Planet came charging across the gap between Odyssey and Passion X. At the Woolwich mark rounding we tangled the genoa sheets with the doused spinnaker allowing Another Planet to climb to windward. Very luckily we were both headed putting Passion X back in front just enough to hold on for a few second across the line and a fourth on handicap.

Across the line we were seven minutes behind Boxer who followed Balmain Tiger, Matagi and Wilding 2. Then there was a few seconds to the fast finishing Another Planet with a nine minute gap to Odyssey. The fleet was indeed spread out with the front runners sharing the podium places on handicap.

We made a few changes to the asymmetric spinnaker settings after our practice sail six weeks ago. We added a strop inside the sock so that the mouth of the sock could be hoisted higher allowing the sail fly freely and we added a swivel so that the gybes did not twist the spinnaker inside the sock. The spinnaker was used on our old Passion but has sat in the new Passion X since launch because previous efforts to fly her were unsuccessful. Now that we have the bugs ironed out it might get to fly more often. The last gybe of the day was perfect as we pulled it through to windward still drawing before the boom was gybed so lost no time at all. Lets hope we can repeat this performance often.

We managed to stay in the breeze for most of the day and score our third fastest times result for the season. The forecast wind never eventuated but the eight knots westerly with frequent swings to the south provided plenty of tension out on the course. The starboard gybe from the pin end allowed us to run low out into the middle of the harbour until the wind swung so far west that we had to head towards Steele Point to prevent an involuntary gybe. From the start we ran to leeward of Fidelis and Crosshaven while Amante took the far southern side of the course. As the breeze swung and freshened from the west Hitchhike popped out into the lead while behind Larrikin made impressive gains coming up with the fresher breeze. Eventually we steadied with the pole out running by the lee which gave us clear air on the fleet but the angle took us all the way over to the Amante side of the course before we gybed to Port. Hitchhike managed their smaller jib better to round in front while at the approach to the mark we jumped out a few boat lengths from Amante. At the rounding we receives our first bonus of the day with a shift which lifted us above the line of Hitchhike. The crew spotted a shift to windward which was stronger and lifting more so we put in a short dig out to seaward and tacked back into the lift for another gain on Hitchhike. They however held their nerve and waited for the next bit of southerly to tack back and cross us. Hitchhike came back on starboard just short of Steel Point and pinched to clear the point. We tacked out a few boat lengths more and came into the point with more speed to run over the top into the lead. The work to Point Piper was tricky. Fortunately we had the Div 2 yacht in close company as a guide for the wind conditions. We went wide to avoid the large wind shadow in against Point Piper only to see Hasta La Vista from Div 2 charging up the leg on a southerly squirt while we ended up tacking into the mark on a bit of westerly. Luckily for us Hitchhike and the rest of the Div 1 fleet followed us so we maintained our lead. The loop around Shark Island was  good one for Passion X as we stayed out of the wind shadows  and then shaved the southern side of Shark Island to stay as far out from the Point Piper wind shadow as possible. The shortened course finish line at the first Naval mark was welcome as it was now just a soldiers course home. Across the line we could see Larrikin still well up in the fleet from their early good speed out to the north of the fleet on the first run.  Also with freshening breeze Allegro came charging up the last reach to be just 15 seconds behind Hitchhike and 25 seconds clear of Amante. Not surprisingly Larrikin took the handicap honours from Passion X and Agrovation just 10 seconds behind.

A few tack  did not leave much room for the fleet to catch us on the way home.

A few tack did not leave much room for the fleet to catch us on the way home.

An anxious quiet reach to the finish while Div 1s The Red Hand powers away ahead.

An anxious quiet reach to the finish while Div 1s The Red Hand powers away ahead.


It was one of those days when there was enough shifts and lulls and gusts for everyone but only the best made full use of their opportunities.
After a good even start Amante managed to spear out from below the fleet for a good lead while Joli managed to get over the top of Passion X and gave us the maximum grief possible for the first reach to the heads. Hitchhike also suffered in the dirty air of both Joli and Passion X while Crosshaven to leeward managed to avoid all the dirty air and round not far off the lead.
The reach back to Steele Point was a procession and the big moves came on the run into Rose Bay. To our great detriment we went low and while avoiding the lull where the leaders were becalmed near the mark we were blanketed to leeward of the whole fleet with fresh wind coming from the west. We ended up many yacht wide and below the big Fidelis who was slow to come onto the wind so we were very low on the fleet for the work to Point Piper. Only a very lucky flick of the wind to the west in on the Point Piper shore allowed us to recover a few positions. We made up some ground on Fidelis on the work to Point Piper but had to allow them to round the mark before spearing off below their transom for the run around Shark Island with Allegro in hot pursuit. On the square run back to the bottom of Shark Island we managed to hold the genoa out to windward and skirt the fleet but gained not enough ground to round first. This time we managed to keep wide and harden up above Fidelis. We stayed on starboard all the way back to the shore while Hitchhike tacked away and picked up more wind and a better angle out in the middle. We were making up ground on Crosshaven so were content to keep following them but in the process we lost out to Allegro on two crosses where they had starboard tacking rights. Allegedly Joli and Amanti picked up some northerly breeze on the work back to the finish but this is second hand information. The rest of us mere mortals had a hard beat and struggled to clear the naval buoys after successive headers . The tide should have been helping the fleet clear these marks but apparently no one told the tide gods.

So it was Joli who prevailed over Amante with Hitchhike making a good recovery with their early tack out to the middle on the last work. Crosshaven held on for fourth fastest while Allegro out tacked Passion X on the last work. In the light windward work Fidelis slipped a further one and a half minutes back.

The handicap results went to Amante from Rainbow and Joli so perhaps there was some truth in the rumour that Amante and Joli picked up a nice bit of northerly breeze on the work home. There is also an unconfirmed rumour that Joli had a crack crew on board and judging from their result perhaps it is true.

Larrikin was not having a good day and finished towards the rear of the fleet on both time and handicap. Hopefully all us handicap tail enders will get a bit of handicap back for next week.



We were promised 8 knots from the north west and a pleasant reach up and down the harbour but got as little as 5 knots at time and some pretty wide swings in direction. The reach out from the RANSA start line was broader and from the leeward end of the line we were well blanketed instead of having our nose in front. We went low for clear air and watched as the fleet above had first use of the gusts only to run into a dead spot mid leg. From below we carried the wind further up the coarse and made up some ground on Hitchhike and Fidelis but were in turn over run by Amanti, Allegro and Joli coming up with fresh breeze from behind. We rounded the mark on Allegro’s tuck but they were not about to let us go above so we were forced below for a quiet tight reach to Steele Point. Along the way Crosshaven reached lowest of all to Steele Point and did well in the process. Into Rose Bay we ran square with the genoa poled out while Fidelis and Joli went well wide on the point and came back on a tighter angle with enough speed to make up for much of the extra distance travelled. Larrikin was pretending to be a much bigger yacht and hanging on to the leaders well.
In the work to Point Piper we had a fair share of dirty air from the leaders and watched Joli power away to leeward.
The way around Shark Island was entertaining if only for the antics of the competitors in front trying to get inside rights at the mark. We thought we might make up some ground but were over run by Larrikin still pretending to be a bigger boat. Amante seems to have escaped from the front of this group for a 30 second win over Hitchhike with Crosshaven a further minute and a half back then Joli, Allegro and Passion X. Fideis and Larrikin were respectively two and four minutes further back which seemed unfair given their earlier much more prominent positions. The beat back from Shark Island was in light and flukey conditions and in a very light patch we managed to sail over the top of Fidelis while Larrikin found her private patch of nothing along the way. The wind maps for the day show non of the  westerly breeze direction we were forced to contend with on the work home so perhaps the leaders had the much more northerly direction shown on the graphs.
We had no luck on the day either good or bad but the hard beat back to the finish line was a far cry from the easy single board we had expected from the forecast and the three Greenwich Flying Squadron yachts, Joli, Passion X and Agrovation had to settle for eighth, ninth and tenth on handicap.

On Wednesday we were driving from Exmouth to Shark Bay while loyal crew performed our start boat duty for the season. While the 4th place allocated for start boat duty was welcome the reaching conditions were arguably the best of the season. Judging by the results the mighty Fidelis would have still scored fastest time and first on handicap but it would have been very interesting to see how close we could have been.
As of today the forecast for next Wednesday is for a NE breeze and good reaching conditions from the other angle but importantly warmer and sunnier than Shark Bay.