For the 8 knots forecast we set our largest, lightest genoa and planned to deploy our longest whisker pole. With that in mind for later in the race we made a good start and were well up with the fleet after the run through Humbug and down the side of Cockatoo island. We were going so well we were just astern of Dump Truck and Agrovation and looked to be in for a close race all night. We went wide around the end of Cockatoo hoping to stay clear of the wind shadow while Sweet Chariot took the inner line and emerged well in front. For a while we could not pick a lift and so worked our way to the back of the fleet with Fireball and Ausreo who was not enjoying the lighter conditions. Being wide started to pay dividends off of the Balmain Sailing Club when we lifted along the shore for a period and long enough to make inroads on Utopia but eventually the breeze knocked and we headed back towards the tail of a group including Utopia, Joli and Meridian.
In the changed of the wind direction Fireball caught us on port twice in the work and enjoyed sending us tacking. We did find a lift of our own to recover most of the lost ground and round in front of Fireball but like last week they had a very good run around Goat Island and just shaved our transom but we were already on starboard gybe and had all the rights for a change. Not far ahead we could see most of our fleet although Infotrack and Much Ado V seemed to be missing somewhere out front. We could see Jackpot, Utopia, Joli and Meridian reaching to the concrete dolphins in Snails Bay and then poling out their genoas so we prepared our long pole.
At the dolphin we whipped up the pole and held the genoa out to windward with good effect. By going low we kept well to leeward of the big blue fleet yachts and snuck through. Sweet Chariot went high for the freshening breeze and we followed and then were able to run away in the puff for good effect. All the while Fireball was threatening from close astern and looking to take our breeze at the first opportunity.
This last gust which we bore away on persisted for long enough to take us to leeward of Meridian who was becalmed off of Greenwich Point. To leeward at least ten boat lengths was Joli doing much better than any of the higher yachts and sailing through the lee of big brother Jackpot so it seemed like a good line to take.
Sweet Chariot opted to take the short cut but on this occasion it was a very slow trip through the doldrums and a very expensive one handicap place wise.
We kept hugging the Onion Point shore and could see Utopia out wider pick up some breeze but we now had bow ahead for the same breeze and it kept us moving up to a flotilla of becalmed yachts off of Onion Point. We correctly guessed that by the time we arrived at the distance mark off of Onion Point the tail of this pack would have just cleared it and so we were able to run deep away from the point and get a safe leeward position on a fleet of a dozen yacht including some big Blue division competitors like Worlds Apart. In this passing maneuver we eclipsed Utopia, Meridian and Jackpot. We pulled away from Fireball for the first time of the evening and finally broke free of Sweet Chariot. Ausreo enjoyed the fading breeze even less than the earlier light start but she has had some good breezes and even Passion X deserves a turn.

For a second week in a row the finishers took an hour off of some results and with such abbreviated elapsed time the published handicap results are up the creek. Some quick manual calculations with the correct elapsed time suggest that Passion X will finish fourth again just ahead of Fireball and Joli.

Without doing the calculations I estimate that Infotrack will win from Agrovation and Much Ado V which suits our case as these three for one reason or another have missed much of the Summer series.

If I am correct in these estimates Passion X will remain on top of the leader board and pull away a couple more points from Joli. Fourth place suits us nicely as our handicap stays pretty much the same while and we live to fight another day.

There are some photos on the Greenwich Flying Squadron facebook page for the evening and when I get a chance I will see if the GoPro feed has anything to offer.

The fleet in close company around Cockatoo Island
Catching Utopia off of Balmain Sailing Club until the breeze knocked
Running below Sweet Chariot with Utopia and Meridian ahead
Crew hard to leeward, boom eased and footing to the fleet off of Onion Point
Passion X transom just visible to leeward going for the finish. Worlds Apart most windward

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