Well the weather forecasting bushes in my garden were right, 22'4 and well zipped in was the order of the day. We dialled that in, and added mucho insulating tape to strings that looked iffy, and off we jolly well went. The committee boat was over by E, which gave us a very decent idea of what the weather was up to by the time we got there. Some hanging about ensued, during which time the wind dropped a bit, and then we were off.
Most of us went left initially, and mostly pointing higher than me. Peter & Paul messed up the start, but still managed to be only a few feet behind us when we tacked, whereas we had to duck Colin & Karen and Eleanor & Richard. Mo and Ian had gone right, which didn't look so good. We went right a bit, staying out from the club shore, and next time we crossed we were in the lead. The wind was pretty full-on and the whole fleet was charging upwind at an impressive speed. So, round the orange triangle thing and back down to OL on a leg that was nearly, but not quite, a run. This may not have been very exciting, but it did at least allow everyone to put their kites up. Round OL, inshore, water to tack please, and then up the shore towards M. Somewhere en-route we lost Ellie and Richard - one minute they were keeping up nicely, the next the boom was out and the crew was in the boat furtling about. Our lead extended when everyone else over-stood the mark, so round M and off towards X. Well this one turned out to be a dead run and was the first place where the kite refused to go up, requiring the rig tension to be released before it would comply. Only the fact that it was very windy kept the thing from going under the boat while we mucked about with it. Anyhoo, gybe halfway down and set the kite for the approach to X, then carry on down to H on exactly the same angle. Somewhere around this point we lost Mo & Ian... nothing bad happened, they just decided it was too windy for all this gybing on 'slow' runs.
Down with the kite at H and another gybe before hooning off to E on a beam reach - which was fast but bloody hard work. Then through the gate and do it all again. Well the wind was a bit up and down, but when it was up it was distinctly challenging. I'd got the jib bars out and up (as usual, they're bent and won't go down), plenty cunno and outhaul, so we were driving on the lower third of both sails. When the gusts came in there would be a bit of a wobble, followed by more speed, and it was clear that it was only the initial wobble that was likely to get us, as the boat was very comfortable after that. We stayed out from the windward shore where possible, where the wind was cleaner and the gusts a little fewer.
We pulled out a bit of a lead on P&P when their kite bagging was slow at OL, then a bit more by staying out on the next beat. The kite wouldn't go up again (lose a bit), but we were still ahead at H. Kite down and harden up for a quick reach to put on speed before gybing, then a fast and wet reach back to E. Now I had put my woolly hat away on the run, reasoning that it was too wet and floppy to be any good, but the amount of icy water that went over my head on the way to E convinced me to get it back and put it on again. P&P had capsized at H, so we had plenty of time to get hatted up, and it also gave Marcellus a chance to stick the shortened course flag up (for which much thanks). We then came ashore and put the boat away, reasoning that the forecast was for the PM to be windier still.
After getting changed we came out to find that it had dropped off and looked very nice. Doh!