We had a great start - but crossed the line just ahead of the starting horn. After taking a penalty we were still up with the leading boats. The wind was good with a brisk sea breeze of close on 15-20 knots and Pathfinder was flying. The first leg was on the Port Tack and she was going so well! What a great improvement. Despite the wind Pathfinder almost sailed herself. After a few short tacks we were still well in the mix on the first tack around the mark. We had a good brisk reach across the bay but ominous signs were ahead with the Etchells - the Formula 1 Racing yachts of the fleet, becalmed under the lee shore. Hoping to stick with the breeze we headed further down the bay but ultimately had to almost drift around the second mark. As with our first twilight race we really struggled in light air and were being overtaken by a number of yachts that were lighter or sailed by guys more knowledgeable in the wind conditions. The wind was very fickle - as per usual, however we were still able to keep ahead of half the fleet of 16. We were gaining a little on the fleet at the next mark but with only two legs of a rectangle to go we were anxious to make up more ground. A good breeze from the east saw us gaining rapidly on the rest but again at the final turn the wind became very erratic and we really struggled to overtake anyone ahead of us.
We had a really good sail and learnt a great deal from Phil regarding tactics around the bay, places to avoid and hints on sail trim. The adjustment to the rigging made a huge difference to the performance of the yacht with her speed on Port tack being greatly improved. As Phil says "All we need to do is make her sail better in light air! "
It was great and our handicap placed us 7th out of 16 finishers - a great effort. By the way - our surrogate female (Phil) was even wore a puce and blue stripped top to match our Fushia pink and navy theme! One has to smile and appreciate the willingness of the guys to recognise we are really making the effort although we got a bit of a ribbing because we crossed the start line early. It was all in fun and we took it with good grace. Its recognition that we are in the mix with the boys. 'Til next time