After suffering from bronchitis for two weeks, Paul was anxious about his health and was not sure about his stamina so decided to sail as safe and steady as possible. Chris, ever the ‘ready-for-anything-let’s-get-going’, flitted around the start line and was buzzing. With a minute and a half to go, Bob wizzed next to Paul shouting “Are we five?’ to which Paul replied “Yes!”. The confusion was later revealed that Bob was asking about the division and Paul was replying about the starting time of five minutes between divisions. As a consequence, in the final 15 seconds leading up to the start, Chris was already screaming towards the line, Paul went out on the wire only to find that his fan-dangled harness jacket had opened on one side and thus he was spilling out sideways and nearly capsized, and poor Bob and Johnny were well behind luffing up and deep in conversation about the strangeness of a fifth division that had been created.
So Chris took off, Paul tried to gather himself (literally) and fix the harness while missing the line and then having to go onto a port start, and Bob and Johnny deciding after all that there was no fifth division and that this was it and they had better get going. And get going they did reeling in Paul (who had still started ahead of them) on the first work and then catching Chris who came unstuck with a spectacular cartwheel after having a sheet caught in the traveller. Last season Chris had made a similarly spectacular dive into his mainsail and ripped it apart and this time, he missed the reinforced patch from the previous incident and managed to find some of the only remaining sail into which to dive. The end result was a terribly torn mainsail which now will consist of more patches than sail. Paul kept falling out of his harness throughout the race but nevertheless sailed steadily without too much of a cough. Well done to Bob and Johnny who romped home 21 minutes ahead of Paul (so maybe 24 minutes considering their late start) and Chris got a tow home with a DNF.