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Auckland Fiji Race- First racing monohull finishes in Fiji

by Richard Gladwell and Zoe Hawkins on 6 Jun 2013
V5 skipper David Nathan with Blair Tuke behind - Start, Auckland - Fiji Race 2013 © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

The Alan Andrews designed TP52 V5, skippered by David Nathan, crossed the finish line off resort of Musket Cove, at noon today.

After a quiet start her crew reported they had a fast ride to Fiji, enjoying superb sailing conditions, particularly over the past 24 hours.

At one point her crew claimed they hit speeds of in excess of 25kts, surfing in the canting keelboat.

Conditions were not easy, with winds of up to 35kts being recorded, however fortunately these were aft of the beam, making for fast sailing conditions.

Last year V5 was also first monohull home in a stormy race from Auckland to Noumea, which caused several withdrawals/suspensions of racing by top offshore boats.

Earlier the ORMA 60 trimaran, TeamVodafoneSailing, was the first of the race fleet to finish, taking just two hours off her own record. The 60ft trimaran had a difficult time in the conditions in the middle of the race, slowing to speeds of just over 5kts on the race tracker, before stretching her legs for a fast finish over the last 30 hours of the race.

One of the crewman aboard V5, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Blair Tuke, says it was 'a tricky race, with different weather systems.'

V5 was fortunate to stay ahead of some of the rougher seas. To finish in five days it maintained an average speed of 9.5 knots, but was peaking well in excess of 25 knots yesterday and today - two sail reaching in squally conditions yesterday, and then blitzing the trade winds today.

'We toughed out the bad times to get into the good systems,' says Tuke.

He says the boat weathered the race in very good shape too, with only two minor breakages.

There are now only two boats left in the race: Andrew and Ray Lodge's Wild Card, who has 312nm to sail to Musket Cover and 49nm behind, the Tauranga entry, Squealer.

For Squealer to beat V5 on PHTF Handicap, they will need to finish before 0600hrs on Saturday 8th June. For Wildcard to beat V5, they will have to finish before midnight on 7 June. At current boat speeds, it is an achievable target but there is no room for error.

Conditions in Fiji are warm and overcast with a little breeze.

Two boats, Outrageous Fortune and Equilibrium, have retired.

The Auckland to Musket Cove Ocean Race is organised by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and is supported by Manson Anchors, PredictWind.com, and TNL GAC Pindar. It started at midday on Saturday 1 June.

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