Skipper Rob Cridge at home in fading winds with Noel Robbins
Division 3 skipper Rob Cridge began his harbour course race in 11 knots of breeze aboard Noel Robins in heat four of the winter series.
He was very fortunate because when division 2 began 30 minutes later, the breeze had dropped slightly.
When division 1 started their chase, it had dropped even more.
Cridge had established a very handy lead and after an hour the wind had dropped to five knots and looked like falling even further, fluctuating to all points of the compass.
Club officials made the call to shorten the course as all six yachts were sailing in slow motion.
Then the unexpected happened with the breeze dropping to 1.5 knots. Cridge drifted across the finish line with Noel Robins to take the heat half an hour ahead of a gaggle of three, which were battling to gain the minor places.
Stephen Lee in Flasheat and Stephen Brown in Mary Maitland were locked together and hardly moving with Murray Deere in Wild One almost joining them in a late burst of speed with his huge purple spinnaker.
Well back were Neil Worrell in Zuri, who elected to retire as it was getting dark, and Geoff Oliver in Excitabull.
Oliver retired to fight another day, realising that he had to get back to the club to take his yacht out of the water and didn't want to do that as darkness enveloped the fleet.
There wasn't too much complaining about the shortened course when everyone thought before the race that bad weather was coming. Those weather boys got it wrong again.
Stephen Lee pipped Stephen Brown by two seconds but Brown gained second place on corrected time.
Lee was third in a very tight finish and Cridge, apart from winning with Noel Robins, also recorded the fastest time.
There is no sailing this weekend and heat five will be conducted on June 16 at 1pm.
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