Winter in Sydney is better than summer in many sailing capitals with respect to warmth but what we lack for much of winter is wind. When it does blow it can be too strong for sailing so it is truly a feast or famine. We were fortunate that one windy wednesday the racing was held at RANSA where in a depleted fleet we scored a first and fastest but it was our only one for the winter. That was the icing on the cake for the shortened point score series and gave us second on countback from Krakatoa who had an excellent start to the winter series. In the individual post series races I-Super had a blinder for the first race but we got one back on them the next race after which we both lost count of who would have won had the series been continued.
The last race of the series started well for us with a long broad reach out to the South Head and a tight work back to Rose Bay. Fidelis loves those conditions even more than Passion X and was well ahead at the turn and stayed there all day. We held out Hanni until the Point Piper mark at which point Crosshaven broke our overlap and Joli followed close behind. On the reach around Shark island we tried too hard to go over the top of Crosshaven only to sail into the wind shadow while Joli wisely went wide for more consistent wind. A big gust at the mark caused us to round up and we had to do a 360 to round the mark properly. In the confusion we forgot to haul on the backstay and struggled to windward on the last leg to get passed by I-Super by a mere 2 seconds.
We did carry a lot of sail for the wind and while we were super fast on the first reach it is arguable that we could have been faster to windward on the way home with the No3 jib.
Two days later we were rigged with the No 4 jib and two reefs in the main and ready for a blast around the Balmain course in the Friday afternoon series only to have the race abandoned due to the forecast. For the heck of it we sailed the full course with just our No4 Jib and made it around in better time than in many of the drifts. The only bit of excitement was the 40 knot gust which did what 40 knot gusts are supposed to do. The wisdom of the cancellation was proven when shortly after packing the gear away a 50 knot squall came through and did quite a bit of damage around Sydney.
Monday we headed out to Pittwater sailing on the nose all the way from Sydney with the No3 jib and the vang down hard so we could ease the boom down. That proved very fast and stable and was a good start to three days of quiet up in Refuge Bay and the Coasters Retreat areas.
Thursday was a motor back home as the breeze was absent or right on the nose at just a few knots but the trip was exciting enough with whale sightings off of Barrenjoey and later just 500 metres from the North Head. The pod off the heads was in the direct line of our travel and we had to take a wide detour to avoid them. Along with the commercial whale watching vessels and other private spectators we spent 30 minutes absorbed by the antics of the pod.
Friday was the last day of the Winter Afternoon series at Balmain and a good chance to try out the boom down technique we had practiced on the way to Pittwater. The steady breeze favoured the early starters so we had a mid fleet finish but we did pass quite a few and held out Avalon and Irukandji with whom the handicapper had finally come to terms. They both beat us around the course on time but by not enough to pass. In the end this was to be a drop as we had so many sixth places that we had ones to spare and ended up second in the series to Avalon. Our win over Irukandji was due only to their misfortune at running aground in one race and not contesting another otherwise we would have been back in third place. On the other hand we sailed the series with a small crew on many days and no ballast on the rails.
This weekend is the start of Daylight saving time and the commencement of the GFS Twilight series. For Passion X it will be a new experience to race with the trimmed down pin head main and fixed backstay so we are looking forward to the racing.

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