Relaxing over lunch and beers in the relative protection of Looking Glass bay we rigged for the forecast.
By race time, it was apparent there was something extra in the breeze and we hurriedly reset the rig for another day of 20+ Westerly. Depowering the little 2.5 heady and flat full main with big handfuls of backstay seemed to be about right for the conditions, so we locked it in and set about preparing for the start.
AFB got away to a cracking start at the clubhouse end of the line whilst the remainder of the fleet appeared to have troubles with their Timex’s.
FGO, keen to show her superior boat speed was in hot pursuit but well to leeward, XNA miss timed the start badly (not up to the standard we know) whilst WNFL and new arrival MPHS (great to see you joining the fun division) struggled to come to terms with the testing conditions.
By number one mark AFB has relinquished the lead to FGO as she rounds the mark a boat length ahead. All the way down to 5 AFB is in close contact. Neither boat prepared to risk spinnakers today.
Passing back through the fleet we see XNA has a reef in her main, WNFL looks like she’s carrying more canvas than a four masted barquentine and notice MPHS has developed a seem failure in her headsail; it’s going to be a long day at the office for those guys.
Rounding 5, right on the tail of FGO we’ve tweaked the trim for the uphill work to mark 2 and by the time we pass the clubhouse Barry gives us a knowing nod as we cross in front. Breaking clear we’ve established a good few boat lengths gap back to FGO as we make for mark 4. Heading into Hen and Chicken there’s a noticeable increase in wind strength and the sound of a freight train behind us.
Several boat lengths astern are LEGS and SF bearing down on us while FGO seems to be being dragged along in their wake. As the Div 1’s pass, there’s enough room to slot in behind SF and shut out FGO as we close in on the mark. Just as SF passes and we begin to manoeuvre we get hit by the breeze they’re riding and round up, just clearing her transom. A quick recovery and it feels like we’re slipstreaming.
Around mark 4 and FGO has snuck back in front as we head for number 1 again. Riding her transom back to the marina we dare not pass her to windward and can’t get enough boat speed to sail under her. A couple of not so elegant tacks with gear issues and we’ve lost contact. FGO rounds 1 a good half dozen boat lengths ahead.
Down to 5, XNA has shaken out her reef, MPHS and WNFL have disappeared off the radar, we slowly close the gap to FGO and are still within striking range as we round.
The final leg for home is a mixed bag, just too far to reel in FGO for line honours, but more than enough to cover her on handicap.
Final standings, scratch FGO, AFB, XNA WNFL, MPHS retired; Handicap AFB (Go you good thing), XNA, FGO, WNFL.
A fun day out and great racing.
The other skipper (aka Noel)