Sydney has had wave after wave of rain squalls passing through this last few days leaving very unpredictable weather conditions and some nasty bullets out on the course. Yesterday we chanced the weather and had Passion X measured for IRC to establish a benchmark for us to sail to. In the rain periods we measured sails and by mid afternoon the rain cleared and wind disappeared so we had perfect conditions for measuring the hull.
Today there was less rain in the intermittent showers but more wind in between. We set the No 1 genoa in anticipation of the breeze lightening and had plenty to contend with at the start. The first leg was square running which seems to be our least competitive angle but we were fast enough to overhaul Soundtrack and a Sydney 36 R visiting for the evening. Our success was short lived as they both passed us on the work to Goat Island. I realised that we did not have enough mainsail luff tension to hold the gaff batten on the square head in position. In this mode Soundtrack pointed out from under us where in previous races where the tension had been enough we had outpointed her for most of the racing.
The tacking angles on the chartplotter from that point show very good angles but we had lost too much ground against the very well sailed J35 to make it up. The big Beneteau 44.7 also revelled in the stronger winds and the return reaches were in too light winds to make up the difference.
By the end of the race the sails were setting well and we soon steamed past our old rivals in the Blue fleet as we sailed up Humbug chasing the Black fleet leaders.
The fresher conditions showed we need more time on the water doing the things we used to do on Passion. Things like moving the genoa cars forward for the reaches and adjusting the main luff tension for the different conditions up wind and down wind.
We have not yet perfected the tacking and gybing with the running backstays and again we need some time on the water in non race conditions to hone our skills.
Tonight there were three retirements. Two due to sailing accidents and one who went to the aid of a dismasted competitor. It was not our best race but then we stayed out of trouble.

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