So with the white horses running hard around Sunshine point Dale & Mark took a tinny out before the start to gauge the wind strength. 18 with gusts to 23 knots. We didn't want another day with more boats broken than finishing so the skippers met and agreed to recommend postponing the start for an hour & reassess then.
In this ensuing hour much testosterone kicked in and crews started recalling sailing in 'much worse'. After another wind check reporting 17 gusting to 21 the concensus was "let's go!". Raptor & Devocean decided to wait for another day so 8 boats left the shore. Firestorm was first out and took it easy testing the conditions but Bob, Hayden & Adam immediately cracked the kite to impressively ran down the bay. It was only when they took the rag off that they realised it was near impossible to get upwind so headed for shore. Runaway and Stowe did likewise, as did Michael, Peter & Joey on 2 Sailors + 1 after breaking a tiller extension.
So with four boats still on the water Firestorm won a very uncrowded start & completed the course for a win. But it was with much caution. No spinnaker until the chasers flew one. Cautious tacks and no gybes. It was the hardest breeze I've sailed in quite a while & I'd reckon way more than 25 knots.
Col, Adam & Janine sailed TBS home safely in 2nd, less than 24 hours after breaking a mast. Well done!!! They also sailed a conservative race without a spinnaker but also made it home without a swim. The two lightest crews in 1st & 2nd demonstrates some good skills (and luck).
A bit further back, and with a bit heavier crew, Incognito had a few swims but persevered to finish the race. But Andrew, Mike & Chris got the applause of all on shore when they cracked the kite down the final run and finished 3rd. Awesome!!
Race 4 was postponed and is rescheduled for 1355 on Tuesday. But was that the only strong breeze for the series? Not by the forecasts...