We sorted out the harbour leg this week & were first out the heads. The run south was uneventful until sth of Cronulla. Our routing suggested inshore. The cumulus was building over the land and we assumed the sea breeze would build and go offshore. Except offshore paid. And it took us a couple of hours to realize. Down near St Helens we gybed out, passing behind Salt Shaker (with a massive new running kite!) and swallowed our loss on the rest of the fleet. But found 5 knots extra pressure.
Approaching Flinders Islet we could see the bigger boats on the west of the rhumb line going v slow. So we stayed out to the layline. Gybing back we made big gains on both the 2H & fully crewed fleet.
Heading back north the wind built & we’d caught the fully crewed boats who started 5 mins before us. At 1700 we peeled to the #4 jib (very slowly by yours truly) and then tucked a reef in the main. We were tacking under the shore to stay out of the southerly set. The breeze softened an hour later. Back to the big jib (we need to get MUCH faster at jib changes!) And full main. But the pressure was too soft. We knew there was breeze offshore so we went hunting. It worked.
At dusk things went awry. We realised we had a major issue with our rig setup. We need to unearth exactly why but there was a nervous half hour, in bumpy seas, checking everything was in tact. It was. But we had completely wrong settings for the conditions. And now the added pressure of Rum Rebellion who had caught back the 1.5nm lead we had, and Salt Shaker who had converted her 0.5nm deficit into a 0.3nm lead.
Heading into Cronulla the games began. Salt Shaker was determined not to let us past & a two hour tacking battle ensued. Playing every gust & every shift we busted our asses to get past them. And Rum Rebellion was doing the same to us. Bouncing off the bricks off Botany and into the eastern beaches Salt Shaker held firm.
The harbour was horrible. 3kts breeze. 2kt ebb tide. Salt Shaker took line honours by 2 mins. V v well deserved. We feel very lucky to have won IRC & ORC.
It was a long but rewarding day and a real privilege to sail against such a strong 2H fleet.