The two official cruising division entrants in the 2014 ANZ Sail Fiji race are berthed at Opua Marina in the Far North for final race preparations.
Ed & Hillary Mitchell - ANZ Sail Fiji - Cruise Rally
Mintaka and C4 will be started by the Opua Cruising Club at 1100 hours on Monday June 2, 2014.
Ed Mitchell from Mintaka expects a passage of around seven to eight days aboard their Beneteau 46. This is the second offshore excursion for Ed and his wife Hillary aboard Mintaka, having previously cruised to Tonga.
Despite a rough and slow return trip from Tonga, Ed convinced Hillary the ANZ Sail Fiji cruising division was a great way to make passage across the Pacific in company and under the watch of Royal Akarana Yacht Club.
Dockside during final preparations Hillary told RAYC Commodore Matt Woodley that 'the voyage to Fiji couldn’t possibly be as bad as the trip home from Tonga last time.'
Mintaka enjoyed a brisk sail north from Auckland to Opua in an average of 15 knots breeze and some rain, which the skipper and crew are hoping will turn to warm temperatures and plentiful sunshine as they make their way up the rhumb line towards Fiji.
Also looking forward to warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine is Wade Ashby skipper of C4, the other official ANZ Sail Fiji cruising division entry.
Some of the C-4 Crew - ANZ Sail Fiji - Cruise Rally
C4 has been berthed at Opua since arrival in the Bay of Islands from its delivery voyage from Nelson via the west coast of the North Island.
This will be the first voyage Wade, and three of his crew, Pete, Kim and Sally have made offshore to the Pacific Islands.
Kim who is new to sailing is excited and commented that 'perhaps ignorance is bliss.' She went on to say that she is really looking forward to the trip and is by nature 'a very adventurous person.' There is no doubt that this race will test her and the other crews adventurous spirit.
Also in board C-4 is journalist Phil Vine who will be documenting their adventures as they embark on the ANZ Sail Fiji journey.
Both yachts crews will clear customs at 10am on Monday the second of June before proceeding to the starting line just off the Opua Yacht Club, then clearing the Bay of Islands and turning north towards Fiji.
Ed, Wade and their respective crews have promised to warm the seats at the bar at Denarau on their arrival and undertake a rigorous beverage quality control check in preparation of the racing division boats arrival.
Both Mintaka and C4 are fitted with yellowbrick trackers and can be followed online at www.sailfiji.co.nz.