Those two factors have turned what was expected to be a walk in the park for defending champion, Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), into something rather more fascinating.
On Saturday, had the second race been allowed to finish, Jarvin would have got off to his title defence with a discard – being in the back half of the fleet for most of he race.
Hisfirst race was not much better.
The light winds, overcast skies, and frequent rain, and even lightning have proved a test for the race committee. They elected, rather controversially, to blow up the first race, sailed on Saturday, after a 45 degree windshift, mid-race, which many commentators thought should not have been grounds for a race abandonment – and was just part of the rich tapestry of skiff racing, and particularly on Sydney harbour, where anything goes – and has always done so in the past.
The second start was not a lot better – getting away just before 6.00pm – again in light winds – that then squirted up to 17kts before dying away.
In the end, the boats pushed the tide and breeze and eventually slowed to a stop halfway through the second lap, as darkness fell.
The backdrop has clearly changed in the event. As Gotta Love It 7's Scott Babbage noted after the race on Sunday – the quality and size of the fleet means there are no passing lanes, and once you are in the ruck of the fleet it is not so easy to climb out.
The internationals have turned up the heat on the favorites, with one of the British boats leading for a time on Sunday, and may well have gone on to win, but for a knot in the spinnaker halyard during a crucially timed drop.
On Saturday's second race attempt there were three New Zealand boats in the top six at the time the pin was pulled – and they had been in that position for much of the race,
Then you have the crew change on The Kitchen Maker, with young 49er sailor Will Phillips being bought on boat as a helmsman, to replace one of the crew who was injured just before the start of the series. With just three days of sailing under his belt, Phillips came oh so close to wining Race 2, and eventually took second place.
In this edition of Sail-World.com/NZ's newsletter we have full reports and video from the Practice Race and first two days of racing.
We will be adding more stories overnight on our website and posting the links for live coverage each day.
Racing gets underway at 3.00pm local time, which is 5.00pm NZT.
Kawau Island Yacht Club will close its doors at the end of this season .. .
News that the b>Kawau Island Yacht Club is to close its doors, is not good news for the cruising fraternity, but is maybe a sign of the times.
It is not known quite what made up the $40,000 that RNZYS say is being drained from its coffers, by the club each year. That is about $15 per member of RNZYS.
Having one of the cheapest subscriptions (at $75) of any of the Clubs affiliated to Yachting New Zealand is probably one pointer.
The fact that all RNZYS members are automatically members of KIYC by virtual of their subscription is another. In other words the club didn't really have a strong subscription base, and couldn't support its operations by trading.
The days of cruising boats being able to only go for four or five days without needing to get to a store or topping up supplies, or even just to buy an ice-cream, are less so than ten or 20 years ago. One by one the watering holes around the Gulf that relied on boatie traffic have closed down.
KIYC is one of the last of these, and the closing of the Club and shop marks the end of an era, in more ways than one.
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