Winner on the day Aggrovation

Winner on the day Aggrovation

We went back to the black genoa today as the breeze was forecast to be fifteen to twenty. For the first time we poled it out on the long pole and ran downwind very successfully to be just next to Larrikin and Allegro at the turning mark.
It had been a strange day and it was about to get stranger. On the downwind leg we had done very well in the middle of the course and we were battling it out with Britannia and Larrikin for second place behind the flying tiger. Inshore the fleet was becalmed and L Eau Co who had gone further to leeward was a distant last. Then it all changed. The freshening breeze from the south carried almost all the windward fleet past us while behind L Eau Co picked up a big westerly shift and was flying down on us with their genoa poled out.

Eventually L Eau Co’s breeze came down to us and we regained some respectability against the more southerly positioned yachts who had to gybe back to the mark. At this point Larrikin had the inside overlap and managed to come in on port to claim their mark room. On rounding we tacked away before Rainbow could point up to our line and got first use of a lift and on tacking back had made up ground on the fleet.
Two tacks later we heard a crunch under the hull and I felt Passion slow markedly. The helm became heavy and I feared we had a problem with the rudder.
Immediately the fleet started to draw away and now I suspected we had picked up some fishing traps. Kevin looked over the stern and thought he saw a black line. so we started tacking more to see if we could dislodge the object than to take advantage of any wind shifts.

A kilometer up the course we were still in trouble and I suggested to the crew that we might not be able to finish the race. One more tack and I saw a log appearing behind the transom but still stuck to the rudder. I climbed onto the boarding platform and reached down to wriggle the log around and as it came away we could see why we had been slow.
Our consensus estimate is that the log was 1.5 metres long. It was definitely forked at one end with each branch around 75 mm diameter and along the length were multiple branches with an outside diameter of around 300 mm.
I don’t know if it was the fork of the log or one of the many smaller branches that was stuck on the rudder but whatever it was it stayed with us through that kilometer of windward work and multiple tacks.
The really disappointing aspect of this encounter was that it occurred during the freshest part or the day and by the time we cleared it the wind had lightened and we were sitting to leeward tacking for Steel Point surrounded by the big yachts from the Division 1s.

The surprising result from the day is that we did not finish last. Rainbow managed to find some holes up in Rose Bay and had to tack for the Point Piper rounding mark in next to no breeze while we shot the mark without the extra tack. On the final run to the shortened course finish line we had breeze from behind that made our finish a little more respectable.

Another surprise of the day was the second place to L Eau Co who had been stone motherless last out the back on the first run but recovered with the fresh westerly breeze on the run and picked up another westerly shift on the work back. Aggrovation sailed well without any of our dramas to score a well earned first on handicap.

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