High winds and rain threatened throughout the day, but had quit the race-track by the warning signal, to admit balmy conditions and perhaps 10 knots of breeze for the three sprint races.
The starts were unusually sedate affairs - and in race 3 this seems to have lulled several boats over the line early, including Feng Shui (1348), which was leading the flight with two bullets.
Mark-roundings were nevertheless as hectic as ever and it was here that places, once again, were freely traded. In this context, it is worth taking another look at the rules concerning the leeward mark - as your correspondent was prompted to do during the Auckland Champs - particularly in relation to what is sometimes referred to as a 'tactical rounding' (or Jenny Craig), where you go in fat and come out fine.
There is a tendency in this fleet to take the leeward mark very wide in all circumstances, however, Rule 18 only grants you 'mark room' - i.e. enough room to get to and around the mark. If you want to make a tactical rounding, you also need to be the right-of-way boat (without relying on Rule 18) i.e. you would need to be clear ahead or the leeward boat.
There is also a school of thought that maintains that the so-called 'tactical rounding' does not always offer a tactical advantage.
In all events, it is worth taking stock of your position relative to other boats and your respective rights well before you reach the mark - as Magrette (1240) discovered in race 2.
Split Decisions (714) continued her run of form and upwind consistency to post a solid 4, 2, 2 which, in the end, was good enough to take out the flight from Affinity (1059) - whose crew seemed intent hitting every corner in every race - and Echelon (1083).
Tracking and results here (flight) and here (series).
I am sorry to have to report the recent death of John Sinclair, a popular and well-like member of the Etchells fleet, who ran racing for the Gulf Harbour fleet for a number of years and will be remembered by many of you.
A celebration of John’s life will be held at 2:00pm today (March 2nd, 2016) at 19 Javelin Close, Gulf Harbour.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.