Three days out from the NZMYC's Coastal Classic Auckland to Russell Yacht Race, Simon Hull, skipper of Team Vodafone Sailing, is aiming at not thinking too much about the prospect of a back to back record in the iconic New Zealand race.
'If it's a good forecast, which it is, then it will turn bad,' he jokes, 'but it's looking hopeful for a similar sort of race to last year, so we have got to have a chance at slicing at least a few minutes off the record,' he says.
In 2011 when the 60 foot trimaran set a record of five hours, 44 minutes and 31 seconds, it averaged 20 knots for the duration of the course, peaking out at 34.8 knots.
'We had a slow period last year – it really lightened off from halfway up from Tutukaka to Cape Brett. If it's looking the same we'd go wider again. We'll try to be out at Poor Knights. Last time we were pretty close but we'll try to be right out at the right hand side of the track so when it lightens we have that bit more latitude to stay off. Apart from that we'll run it pretty similarly,' he says.
Simon Hull speculates that the race this year will be similar, but slightly lighter to 2011, but when asked if getting to Russell as early as 3.30pm – making a 5.5 hour record theoretically possible, although more difficult to achieve in practice.
'It will be great for the race, because everyone gets there earlier and it sets the weekend up for a great event,' he says.
TeamVodafone Sailing had a great winter season competing in the prestigious Queensland regattas, and has been enjoying being back on home turf and participating in Wednesday and Friday night racing in Auckland, as preparation for the bigger races, including the Coastal Classic, that happen prior to Christmas.
Are the crew, very similar to last year's albeit with one or two changes, now operating like a well-oiled machine? 'Let's not tempt fate,' he laughs.
The NZMYC Coastal Classic is 119 nautical miles in length and starts at 10am this Friday 19 October, off Devonport Wharf in Auckland. Current PredictWind weather routing has the boat finishing in well under five hours.
TeamVodafoneSailing will be carrying a PredictWind tracker aboard for the duration of the race.
The New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club will issue a wind forecast for the Coastal Classic later today.
Team Vodafone Sailing website
Coastal Classic website
by Zoe Hawkins
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9:45 PM Mon 15 Oct 2012GMT
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