Before the start we were seeing up to 20 knots across the deck so we opted for a reefed main and the N1 heavy genoa. That was fine for the fresh start and we arrived at Humbug mid fleet but from there thing deteriorated. The breeze disappeared as it does in Humbug but did not reappear on the other side. We hung on with the reef in the main and trailed the fleet down the back of Cockatoo Island where matters got worse in the windshadow. Expecting breeze for the work to Goat Island we perservered with the reefed main holding our position near the rear of the fleet. The late starting Dump Truck charged up and for a brief period where we lifted on our side of the course we seemed competitive crossing tacks with them and Lisdillon. Off Long Nose we were forced to tack away from a clear line to Goat Island by a green fleet yacht. Then we were held on port tack sailing away from the course for a frustrating few minutes just losing ground to the fleet. By the time we were allowed to tack Lisdillon had slipped through to leeward and Dump Truck was all that extra distance up the course.

The breeze had now faded so we took out the reef but the horse had bolted and most of the fleet was nowhere to be seen. Shaking out the reef kept us competitive with Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot and we made up a little ground on Fireball but it was a quiet run around Cockatoo island and back home. We could already see the fleet leaders, Jackpot, Agrovation, Meridian and Joli emerging from behind the island to start the work home up Humbug and were a little encouraged to see that they had good breeze.
Around the end of the island we went wide and pulled away from Lisdillon and Sweet Chariot. Now we were in clear air and chasing Fireball. Out in the open past Cockatoo Island a good but short lived breeze of around tweve to fourteen knots sprang up and we settled down on a beat where we were doing over 7 knots speed through the water and up to 5.7 knots VMG. These were pleasing numbers due to the water being flat and the breeze steady and with this speed we closed in on Fireball. Unfortunately we were a few boat lengths short of catching them on starboard. In a desperate attempt to pass them we hugged the Onion Point shore but they were not going to give us any leeway and dropped down on our line to blanket us to the finish.

It was high tide and so my estimate of the room under the keel was OK on the night.

In reality the fleet was gone off and around Goat Island before we took out the reef so we had a pretty dismal handicap result managing to beat only Dump Truck who did self inflicted injury with a late start. Jackpot took the daily double and their excuse that it was their breeze seems pretty lame. They have been sailing very well of late and the J122 looks a picture out on the course.

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