However, once the fleet left the protected confines of Hunter Bay, we were left in no doubt that there was a bit on.
With Tony Mandl still working on his boat and Andrew Dent assisting on the rescue boats, the fleet was reduced further prior to the start with Molly M deciding that the bar looked better and Tigers Tail suffering a pre-start capsize. The rest of the fleet got away to a cracking start with multiple lead changes on the beat to the first mark.
The forward hands had negotiated a little extra competition amongst themselves by putting up a chocolatey prize for first round the first mark.
Honours this time went to Douglas and Spencer in Waterbourne at Last, with McMissile (Campbell and Stirling) hot on their tail.
Close behind were Wavecatcher, Firefly and Yenda Lee with all 5 boats rounding less than 10 seconds apart.
Plenty of action on the shy run followed with boats launching their spinnakers in gusts well over 20kn.
First to grab the next gust were Gavin and Oliver in Firefly but no sooner had they taken off when the rudder popped up and they lost steerage and promptly capsized with Charlotte and Benedict in Yenda Lee moving up to 4th.
Next to take off was the Wavecatcher with the World Championship winning crew of Cullen and Rowan reunited for the first time this season. They soon moved into 2nd hot on the heels of the leaders.
The boats were forced to drop their kite before the gybe mark and the leading boats rounded together. Here the crew work on Wavecatcher shone and a quick spinnaker set enabled them to take the lead that they held until the finish. Behind them racing was close until the finish with Douglas/Spencer holding off Campbell/Stirling. Charlotte/Benedict took 4th ahead of a very soggy Gavin/Oliver.
1. 70854 Wavecatcher. Cullen & Rowan Hughes
2. 70800 Waterbourne at Last Douglas Raftesath / Spencer McKay
3. 57993 McMissile Campbell & Stirling McKay
4. 70665 Yenda Lee Charlotte Raftesath / Benedict McKay
5. 70813 Firefly Gavin & Oliver Cooke
6. 67151 Tigers Tail Derek & Daniel Hadwen
7. 70917 Molly M Lewis & Breda Thatcher
No soon had the Mirror fleet arrived home when a 40kn Westerly passed over the course wiping out many of the remaining boats on the course. The rescue boats had their work cut out and a very tired and bedraggled Andrew Dent arrived back to the clubhouse after performing his first live rescues. Well done mate!