The day off on Wednesday was pretty windy, but we spent it wandering around Port Merion, so it didn't matter. More importantly, the forecast for Thursday was also for fairly copious amounts of wind, so we did a bit of de-powering of the boat before we launched. Old jib, smaller kite, but I kept the new mainsail because it seems to like windy weather. I also bought a spanner along and tightened the centreboard bolt that had allowed the board to rise unexpectedly offwind yesterday. Out at the start-line, there wasn't anything like as much wind as I had expected, so I reversed some of the de-powering, and off we went.
This being a new and slightly weird mainsail, it generally takes me a little while to find the sweet-spot that gets the boat motoring upwind at a decent speed. This time it came good quite early on, and we rounded the windward mark somewhere in the top half of the fleet and took a lot of boats on the following run and next beat. Then came the reaches, which were great fun, although the centreboard started coming up again. Another beat and a final run ensued, and we then decided to drop the kite for the short leg to the finish. At this point we had a minor disaster, with the spinnaker sheet looping over the end of the pole, so we parked up at the bottom mark and sorted it out. This lost us 2 places, and we finished just ahead of Pete in 32nd place (I think).
The wind, which had been rising through the morning, was now getting a bit fruity. I dropped the rig tension off and dialled in a bit more pre-bend, and tied the centre-board down again. We then went on to make a great start at the pin end, whereupon the entire fleet just sailed away from us. It's generally quite hard to tell how you're doing on the first beat, but this time it was clear that we were almost totally down the toilet. The problem with this, apart from the obvious one, is that you are now sailing around with the more wobbly contingent, who tend to capsize in front of you and generally contrive to slow you down. This was all very painful. Anyway, on the 2nd lap, the spinnaker pole refused to go out and it became us who were slowing everybody else down, so we called it a day and retired. Badders, in contrast, was having a great time in the top 20 boats until another unfortunate spinnaker-pole / clothing incident occurred at the Gybe mark, so he retired too. This only left Colin and Karen to fly the Draycote flag, which they did with no incidents at all (that I know of).