High winds were forecast for Flight 5 and the fleet was slightly smaller than usual - although looking back only a couple of seasons for some perspective, 7 is a reasonably-sized fleet, particularly when it is charging about a short start line in lively conditions. The experience was heightened further still for your correspondent who had nervously passed the con to guest-helm Zane Gifford.
Perhaps unused to the sportier conditions, the fleet crowded the line for Race 1 and a bun-fight ensued with 5 over the line (of whom only 2 returned). The beat into a relatively slack tide was close, but most of the front-runners cautiously over-stood, allowing Tortuga (779) and Sticky Fingers (1240) to make up some of the deficit incurred at the start.
Your correspondent regretted the gloves he had leant to guest bowman, Alex, on a surging downhill plummet, which brought the bottom mark up all to quickly. Willzy recommends a hotter angle in the gusts in these conditions, which seems counter-intuitive, but would certainly help arrest the Etchells' tendency to U-boat when going DDW.
Affinity (1059) took Race 1 from Upfront (814) leaving Tortuga (779) in a gratifying 3rd place.
Race 2 saw a clean start with almost every boat timing a good run to the line and exploding from the blocks in even fresher conditions. However, by now the waves had increased and served to separate wheat from chaff on both beats.
Vasheda II took Race 2 from a resurgent Affinity (1059) and Feng Shui (1348).
Results are here (Series) and here (Flights).
Alex Webster is Auckland Fleet Captain and runs this website, so blame him.