Thank you to the course setters who listened to our pleas and set a relatively short race out around Cockatoo island, down to Goat island and home. Even with this short course the last of the Black division yachts limped home with less than ten minutes to spare.
We had a good start relative to the fleet but threw away any advantage in the wild wind swings around Onion Point on the way out. In the ultra light conditions we have trouble getting the main to go through under the backstay owing to the stiff long upper battens. At times the only solution is to drop the main halyard and then hoist again after the tack. We have a new main on order with only one long upper batten and that should reduce the problem but in the meantime in any wind strength under 5 knots tacking is a big issue and therefore not done quickly. As a result we missed the phase of two very short shifts off of Onion Point and sailed towards the back of the fleet. Only Fireball, Ausreo and Agrovation did worse and to be fair to Agrovation we did put them about onto starboard sending them further into the wind shadow.
Once out of Humbug and settled down to the beam reach we pulled back Lisdillon but she was to prove very difficult to pass. Close behind Agrovation was catching and around Cockatoo she passed with a timely tack to starboard to take advantage of a shift along the Cockatoo shore.
We were then able to follow and chase after Lisdillon who had pulled out well around the end of Cockatoo.
We went low and allowed Agrovation and Lisdillon some friendly interference to windward so that by Long Nose we had passed well ahead of Lisdillon.
The shifts off of Balls head were very frustrating and the little lead that Agrovation had on us stretched out while Meridian, Joli, Jackpot and Utopia were enjoying some jockeying for position just ahead and across a patch of no wind..
It seemed to take forever to get around Goat island with the wind refusing to tend east as promised. Instead it went further South and kept fading.
Around Goat the lead yachts were invisible in the distance while Ausreo was still to round the red marker and Lisdillon and Fireball were obscured behind the island.
Now we had some competition from the Blue fleet with Koko travelling very well and refusing to act like a Blue division yacht. After a long side by side run we managed to reach up from under and eventually square away for the run across the bay to the Onions Point Shore. The Blue division French Connection gybed onto starboard below us and while we had our nose in front we were anxious to avoid being in their wind shadow so we followed suite but kept as low as possible.
Finally the sterns of some Black Fleet yachts were visible. In particular we could see Joli not far ahead with Agrovation giving chase. While the distance looked pretty insignificant the time was three minutes to Joli and somewhat less to Agrovation. Joli picked up a nice header that allowed her to reach into the finish line rather speedily while Agrovation held out their genoa to windward and ran straight to the line. Just behind we had insufficient wind to hold the genoa out and had a very slow finish.
Further back the finishers were slowing even more. Koko stalled somewhere between Long Nose and the finish and was ten minutes behind and in good company with Lisdillon and Fireball. Much further back and showing great perseverance was Ausreo who finished 35 minutes behind and just inside the time limit.
Alas the promised Easterly breeze did not spring up and at 10pm it was just 3 knots from the south at the airport.

For our persistence we finished third on handicap behind Meridian and Joli and a minute 20 seconds in front of Agrovation and Jackpot.

The light winds and rain forecast discouraged Infotrack, Dump Truck and Much Ado V so our three points should put us back into second spot a long way behind Utopia and with a large contingent right on our tail.

Sorry Agrovation
Utopia with top batten issues too
Joli reaching to the finish, Agrovation genoa out and running. Passion X limping home

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