Flight 12 saw some of the freshest conditions of the entire series and a fleet of 10 boats enjoyed two long races into the lively nor' easter.
This flight also saw the relaunch of Tortuga (779) and a welcome return to form of former world-beater Captain Pete. Aboard Tortuga, frantic last-minute preparations made for rushed entry to the first start and a certain amount of trepidation as the vintage running rigging strained to the first beat. There seemed little doubt that something would fail, it was simply a question of what and how soon.
In the event, the first beat saw a very tight fleet converge at the top mark and storm home on a one-gybe run. The inevitable occurred aboard Tortuga as the topping lift and jib cleat failed, forcing an early retirement for running repairs. Valsheda and Feng Shui took their habitual 1;2 and Affinity placed third.
Race 2 got off to a lively start at the biased boat end, forcing the first general recall of the season (I think). The second start was good and once again the first beat towards Devonport was close, with the left giving a late advantage and allowing Tortuga to sneak around in third or fourth.
On the run, Captain Pete gamely negotiated the fleet with a spinnaker that threatened to part at any moment and picked up some 3 or 4 places by the bottom mark, ultimately finishing a brilliant second and taking second equal overall with Foundation.
For their sterling effort, Captain Pete's crew were awarded a bottle of Mount Gay Rum at a very cordial post-match debrief at Swashies.
With only three flights to go, we hope to see the whole fleet out next time.
Please also note that the National Championships are scheduled for 6th and 7th April, and I will be sending out more information this week. Some of you will recall that last year's championship was ruled ineligible - having had fewer than 10 entries. Let's make sure that does not happen this year.
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.