After what seemed to have been a week of typhoon conditions (minus the tropical warmth), the weather relented and Auckland put on one of those stunning evenings that make you careless of the foregoing misery.
A dozen Etchells enjoyed some close (at times, perilously close) racing on a longish course, set to take full advantage of the fresh Westerly.
False starts in Race 2 by series leaders Valsheda (950) and Feng Shui (1348) helped to mix things up, as did a strong debut performance from Hugh Rebbeck aboard Tortuga (779), posting a 3rd in Race 1 and nearly repeating the trick in Race 2 before hitting a mark. As Hugh remarked later,
"there is no room for mistakes in that fleet".
Another solid result from Hayden Whitburn on Upfront (814) and an improving series of results from newcomer Lincoln Fraser's Maverick (1077).
Johnny Melville's Bobby's Girl (1058) helped to make up for his late entry to the series with two bullets, but in the end Feng Shui (1348) - welcoming back Andrew Wills from injury and general indolence - took out the flight with Bobby's Girl (1058) second and a resurgent Split Decisions (914) third.
Many thanks and a warm welcome are due to Patch Graham: No sooner had he acquired Foundation (1236) and joined the fleet (hopefully Foundation will be back on the Harbour before Christmas) than he was pressed into service as RO, photographer and cub reporter.
Thanks also to Craig Greenwood for the use of his RIB, to Johnny Montgomery and to all who bore a hand to make this happen. Next week the RNZYS will provide race management, but everyone's help is appreciated for the two remaining fleet-managed flights before Christmas (see the calendar for details).
The remainder of the season is shaping up nicely with 12 boats alreay in play and at least 2 more warming up in the changing sheds...
Results are here (flight) and here (series).
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.