Well, the forecast was correct for once, 15/25 knots early easing to 10 knots later with thunderstorms, 15 minutes before the start Sundance V was recording 21knots NNW and the call was made not to use the big spinnaker and go with the asymmetric, as it would be easier to gybe at north reef. Then 5 minutes before our race start the wind changed to more due west and dropped to only 10 knots. The call was made to go with the big kite, as we approached north reef the wind totally died for us and we stopped dead in the water, struggling to round the mark, we then dropped the spinnaker in favour of the code zero. The early starters definitely had the advantage of the wind as we could see them far away in the distance and had very little hope of catching them up .
Well, we had a slight increase in the breeze after dropping the spinnaker – from the west of around 5/7 knots with the boats fast approaching from the rear as they had been lucky enough to have caught the breeze before us, we had an interesting rounding of the reef with another yacht and we then took off to chase the leaders.
After the breeze started to freshen we were on a heading of 60 degrees doing 7knots but in the distance we saw that the lead boats suddenly had a very large wind change sending them on a more due easterly course, this we took to our advantage and promptly dropped the code zero and unfurled the head sail and headed up as far as we could and waited for the change to hit us. Subsequently this meant we was able to continue to Garnet Rock without tacking, Sundance V was able to use this wind shift to our advantage by overtaking most of the pack that had been sent due east in the unfavourable wind change for them.
Once rounding Garnet Rock we launched the asymmetric and overtook a catamaran (not sure what the name was sorry I think it was About Time) we could see the looming storm approaching and put on our wet weather gear, the first time for me this season I think, well the rain came down but not very hard the sails got a nice wash and then the wind died yet again. We heard several yachts DNF but we decided to hold firm to see if the wind would return and yes it did but alas not really enough to catch the leaders, we did close in on Happy Dazes and managed to overtake him then Roger decided to put up the spinnaker and very nice it looked too, we had what we thought was maybe five or six boats to chase down to the Finish in the fading breeze, we overtook two other boats on the last leg and we were being chased by a blue hulled yacht (again not sure of the name) but it looked as if it was going to be a threat, if the race had lasted another 30 or 40 minutes but after a couple of tacks in only 5knots of breeze we crossed the line with a credible fourth . A very challenging race but also very enjoyable, i think that we had 24 yachts that started thanks to all the participants.
Keith Sundance V