Wind S/SW, initially 4 gusting 5
There were only four boats out today, what with holidays and yet another poor weather forecast (“Storm Antoni” this time). However, anyone deterred by the threatened thunderstorms and the gloomy looking photos circulated by the race box missed an enjoyable sail, since conditions turned out to be nowhere near as grim as predicted.
Course 74 was sailed, going past the forts for a couple of visits to MYA1 with a loop back via buoy 24. Ubique had the best start, with Hercules Hound close behind, followed by Wild Thing 2, Black Jack bringing up the rear. With strong gusts and unpredictable wind shifts, everyone chose to stay out in the channel, rather than duck in and out of the moorings to avoid the incoming tide. By Gillingham Reach, Hound had managed to pull ahead, no doubt helped by their deployment of the full-sized rig, rather than the cut-down sail used in recent weeks. Ubique, with smaller sails, could not prevent Hound gaining a clear lead, despite flying their spinnaker on the leg to 26. Full-sized sails did not seem to help WT2 much, possibly due to excess poundage, but they were at least well ahead of Black Jack, who started the race with a reefed main.
Positions remained the same for the spinnaker run from 24 to MYA1 and the first beat back. By the time of the second run to MYA1, the wind was beginning to ease but there was still no change of places. Black Jack had dispensed with their reef, but were left with a great deal of ground to make up. Meanwhile, in Gillingham Reach, Thing were catching up with Ubique. Beyond Mears, as the wind died away for a while to almost nothing, the boats were briefly neck and neck, but then Ubique managed catch the wind first, finishing a minute ahead and hanging on to second place. Finishing positions: (1) Hercules Hound (2) Ubique (3) Wild Thing 2, (4) Black Jack.