Following a weekend of gales and thunderstorms, Tuesday dawned bright and calm and, thanks to many crossed fingers, the fine conditions held for a flawless evening of close racing in a warm, light breeze and slack tide.
Flawless, that is, apart from the obvious lacuna in your correspondent's crew (bloody no-show lawyers. They are the WORST). In fact, the beats favoured a double-handed set-up - but the spinnaker sets did not...
Willzy, fresh from his extended sojourn in Hong Kong, took the early advantage aboard Feng Shui (1348) up the left hand side in Race 1. The bulk of the fleet fought over the meagre breeze at the boat end and made a late start. By the time they had hit their straps, the work was in the bag.
Your correspondent, ably assisted (that is to say, carried, by Ellie Aldridge) made a strong start and rounded in about third. At this point, we really weren't missing our AWOL middle-man and his ham-fisted trimming, but at the mark-rounding Tortuga (779) hemorrhaged places as the spinnaker set proved heavy going for two pairs of hands.
The run was closer than the uphill, with a few cat's paws of pressure batting the fleet into a tighter cluster at the bottom mark. The second beat saw an obvious breeze gradient left to right which caught out a few and on the run Feng Shui held on for the win from Maverick (1077) and Echelon (1083).
The fleet started well in Race 2 in slightly more pressure, again split left and right on an even course both up and downwind. As the pressure started to fail Upfront (814) took the win from Valsheda (950) and Feng Shui (1348).
Race 3 was a drifter and despite a marked boat-end bias at the gun, pressure proved to be the critical factor. Those heading left built an impressive lead in the better breeze and as your correspondent drifted accross the line, Captain Pete (716) was barely visible on the far horizon.
In a pronounced right shift and dying pressure the race was shortened to one lap with Feng Shui taking out a second bullet from Upfront and Captain Pete.
All in all a fine evening - with many thanks to the Race Committee for three very efficient, quick-fire races.
Results here (flight) and here (series).
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.