The weather forecast for last Sunday's Port Macquarie Yacht Club ocean event on May 12 was for winds from 20 knots in the early morning decreasing to 15 knots over the course of the morning.
A moderate fleet of seven yachts logged on at the 9 AM briefing, and while the forecast was for significantly heavier winds.
Wind strengths of between five and 10 knots had been experienced for the couple of hours prior to the briefing, and past the briefing time itself.
The majority of skippers therefore elected to set sails appropriate for the prevailing conditions, and made to sea.
The conditions held until several minutes past the 10 AM starting time, after which a front moved through the fleet with wind strengths as had been forecast to be prevailing from early morning.
At the time Indian Pacific skippered by Les Boaden held a single boat lengths lead over Zig Zag, which held a similar lead over Kookaburra ll, with Simon Lund and Alison Burke's will performing J Force rounding out a tightly bunched leading group.
In division one, Teddy Clausen's Cool Change was some distance behind, being the leading boat in that division.
Race control had selected a southerly course and by the first turning mark, Indian Pacific was making the best of the prevailing heavy conditions and retained the lead from Zig Zag, which appeared over canvassed.
J Force had displaced Kookaburra ll, moving in to third-place.
At the first mark the lead group split with fourth placed Kookaburra ll electing to go more inshore, while the others in the group took the offshore course to the next mark.
Indian Pacific maintained its lead at the southern mark ahead of J Force then Kookaburra ll, which had moved into third place.
At this time, due to the winds gusting to over 30 knots with seas of 2.5 metres, race control elected to shorten the course by shortening the race on safety grounds.
It appears this decision was validated when on the run home Indian Pacific suffered a broken steering pedestal and finished the race using its backup emergency steering.
This allowed both J Force, Kookaburra ll and Zig Zag to pass Indian Pacific on the run home to the amended finish line.
The finishing order remained J Force first over the line, Kookaburra ll second and Zig Zag third over the line.
By the narrowest of margins, Solar Coaster took handicap honours over J Force, with Kookaburra ll in third place overall.
Instead of the normal two weeks between ocean events there is a three week interval until the weekend of June 1 and 2 when the Blue Riband Port Macquarie to Laurieton and return weekend event is held.
At this time Indian Pacific should she be repaired in time would appear to be the favourite.
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