LATEST: Lead yachts break 24 hours to Napier
03 Mar 2011
The leading yachts have arrived in Napier to complete the third leg of the SSANZ Round the North Island two-handed race, taking less than 24 hours to cover the 205 nautical miles.
Cookson 50 Akatea, which has been first on line each of the three legs so far, was first to Napier, finishing just after 3pm, but just 43 minutes behind her was the Shaw 9 Karma Police, a boat 20 feet shorter and sailing in the next division down. Karma Police, which was also second on the first leg, from Auckland to Mangonui, and fourth in to Wellington, reveled in the tight reaching conditions up the Wairarapa coast, and looks likely to win the leg on PHRF handicap also.
Third over the line was Ross 45 M1, another larger boat, which finished at 5.23pm. M1 and Karma Police had been neck and neck at Cape Palliser, but M1 then blew out her code zero reaching sail.
Karma Police skipper and designer Rob Shaw said he and crew Ben Costello started with two reefs in the mainsail and the number three jib, ?and that was too much? in the 35 knot northerly leaving Wellington Harbour. Overnight they enjoyed tight reaching conditions under code zero and fractional gennaker in 15-20 knot southwesterlies to blast them up the coast towards Napier. It was only at Cape Kidnappers where the breeze became light, but then a sea breeze kicked in to carry them in to the finish off the Port of Napier.
Expected to be next to finish, in light conditions, is Vickers 10.6 Valium, which has a jump of around 25 miles on the next boat in the fleet. Valium also had an excellent second leg, finishing seventh on line and first in division three, after what skipper Gary Kirkland-Smith called ?the worst sail I have ever had?.
Just 21 boats from the original 38-boat fleet started the third leg from Wellington yesterday afternoon at 4.45pm, after many boats were damaged and crews exhausted on the second leg, in headwinds of up to 40 knots. Two further boats, Clear Vision and Caper, also withdrew at the start in Wellington, as the yachts struggled to leave the Chaffers Marina in wind gusts of up to 50 knots.
Behind Valium, the fleet is spread out along the Wairarapa coast from Blackhead Point to Castlepoint. The boats will have a minimum 48-hour stopover in Napier before a mass restart of the last leg, from Napier back to Auckland, probably on Sunday.