As usual, I was still in my kitchen with an hour to go before the start of the race, but unusually we had more wind than was forecast when I finally arrived. We also had 10+ boats out, and one fewer than we would otherwise have managed due JT and Pat (Jane in the afternoon) doing impromptu OD duty due to failure of others to show up. Pah!
Ho for the start then, leaving the watch in the changing room again. Given that I was still in the changing room at 10:38 and the start is 10:45, I was surprised to find that the start sequence was not yet underway when I arrived. On enquiry it turned out that the team were looking at the winter start times (perhaps understandable, given the weather), so we corrected that misapprehension and the sequence commenced. Pat & Bob used their B-fleet prerogative and went off 3 minutes early, we queued up with the rest of the boats at the pin end and made a decent start behind Pete/JR and just ahead of Helen/Paul.
There then followed a long drawn out chase sequence in which we caught up with
Pete & JR and they got away again, and Mo & Holly caught up with us and we got away again, and the rest of the fleet did their own thing but didn't trouble us at all.
So it was perhaps predictable that the first three boats would all be fairly close at the 2nd last mark 'Y', and by the time
Pete had luffed us up en-route to 'J', Mo had caught up too and we were all three pretty much together as we reached the end of the leg. Now we had more-or-less overtaken
Pete , and were furthest to windward and basically ahead. But 2nd boat
Pete was just maintaining a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't sort of overlap, so I spent the last bit of the leg peering across from my transom to his bow to see what he'd got at the critical 3-boat-lengths moment. So he called for water, and I was just telling him he hadn't got it when he surged forwards and clearly had, at which point I grudgingly gave him a bit of space at J.
Sadly, Mo in the most leeward and rearmost boat had by this time achieved what he later described as a glaringly obvious overlap on Pete, one so obvious he didn't bother calling for it. The net result of this was that I (who hadn't been looking at Mo and hadn't noticed) provided space for only one boat at the mark, and Mo ended up T-boning 'J' and sliding over Pete's transom. Pete then went on to win, I came second, Mo 3rd.
Back on shore it became apparent that the whole episode was basically my fault, so apologies were made and I retired from the race. This was still a bit tough on Mo, who probably would have won if the situation were replayed by the book.
In the afternoon the wind was lighter and distinctly fickle, and the first beat from J to P was very difficult to read. We were basically last around P, with Badders and Mo out in front. We went past Paul & Nick by virtue of bunging our kite up sooner, then rounded Y for the run to K. We overtook a couple of boats on the run, and Badders had got the course wrong, so by the time we got to K, I found I was giving him water at the mark (again!). Over the next couple of legs we gradually worked our way nearer to the front of the fleet, but down at J we were still roughly in the middle of the pack and had Badders sniffing around our transom.
Now at this point a lot of the fleet went hard left on the beat (starboard tack then), and we were doing the same sort of thing when I noticed a Tera way upwind which was on port tack and pointing about 45 degrees higher than he should have been. Taking this as a sign that a lift on port was available, we tacked off early, headed for the Tera, and were granted a 45 degree lift which took us straight to the mark. Meanwhile, still on starboard tack on the far left of the beat, Badders and a few others were being lifted so that they couldn't sensibly tack onto port, with the result that they ended up going much further than us and still couldn't hit the lay line. Net result, just Mo & Holly and us out front.
Over the next lap we managed to get our nose ahead of Mo & Holly, and then proceeded to sit on their wind until they were forced to go off in the wrong direction. A lucky lift later, we were around P in the lead and there was a little group of boats comprising Mo & Holly, Pete & JR, Colin & Karen and Helen & Paul all about 30 seconds behind us. We then sailed into a little patch of wind which they didn't get, and before we knew it we were about 3 minutes ahead of the rest of them, a position we held to the finish.
Back in the pack there was apparently a lot of place changing, and Pete & JR came out marginally ahead of Mo & Holly, with everyone else a short way behind them.
Not a bad day's sailing then, and home in time to build a bit more of the shed.