The Auckland-Musket Cove, Fiji Race started at noon today, in light airs, which continued throughout the day.
TeamVodafoneSailing passes Channel Island at 1700hrs
At midnight, 12 hours after the race start in the Rangitoto Channel, the Volvo 70 Camper was the race leader, holding a 15nm lead over Simon Hull's ORMA60 TeamVodafoneSailing.
In fact the Bakewell-White design, Wired (Rob Bassett) was 1nm ahead of the trimaran as well.
Both the monohulls have taken a more northerly course than TVS, which broke from the fleet, passing through Colville Channel, still in winds of around 4-6kts and headed east.
That move looked to pay for a time as she hit some good pressure on nightfall with her speed getting up to 12kts in about the same amount of air. However as the night wore on the wind dropped and she was back to single digit numbers.
The two monohulls took a similar course, staying to the west of Great Barrier Island. Camper, with Emirates Team NZ CEO, Grant Dalton, aboard went further north, not tacking to head out to sea until she was almost abeam Whangarei Heads.
Both Wired and Camper seem to be sailing closer to the rhumb line for the race finish in Musket Cove, Fiji, however are still positioned to the east of the direct, and shortest route.
TeamVodafone - keeping watch through the Colville Channel
TVS is still positioned well to the east of Great Barrier Island.
The routing for the leaders will cause some serious thinking as to which option will yield the best result.
TVS has the option of sailing well east, or staying still east but closer to the rhumb line, and in fact crossing to the west of the rhumb line as she approaches Fiji.
For Camper and Wired, they have the option of sailing a more direct course to Fiji - with one more conservative option taking the just to the east of the rhumb line, and the other recommending that the move well to the west of it.
While TVS is behind on the water, the routing and wind/speed projections for the ORMA60 have her sailing at speeds of over 20 knots tomorrow around noon and in the early afternoon, while the monohulls are projected to be sailing at around half that speed.
TeamVodafone - Simon Hull has a turn on the grinders
So expect some big gains for TeamVodafoneSailing.
She is predicted to take three days for the trip to Fiji, maybe longer given her slow start today. The monohulls are predicted to take a day longer and probably will not break the race record.
Progress can be viewed on the Vodafone Play website http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/TeamVodafone?fullscreen!click_here to go straight to the full screen version. If you are using on an iPhone, please tilt the device horizontally to get the ideal view of both screens.
Or, you can follow the whole fleet on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron website www.rnzys.org.nz or http://live.adventuretracking.com/aucklandtofiji2011!click_here to go straight to the Yellowbrick tracker and zoom in to see the individual race yacht's positions updated every 20 minutes.