Noumea Race- Slow progress as leaders exit NZ waters - updated at 1530
by Richard Gladwell on 3 Jun 2012
The 17 strong fleet in the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012, have made slow progress overnight, however speeds are now increasing.
V5 with Steinlager 2 - Start Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012 © Richard Gladwell http://www.richardgladwell.com
Currently the fleet is spread from the Hen and Chickens off Whangarei to north of Cape Reinga.
1530hrs While the body of the fleet lies either becalmed or in light winds, the two front runners, TeamVodafoneSailing (Simon Hull) and Beau Geste (Karl Kwok) have got into the advancing breeze from the north and have stepped out into the Southern Pacific ocean. They are sailing at speeds of 8-10kts, while behind them in the Tom Bowling Bay area, the lead 50fters are making just 2kts - better numbers than they have been achieving earlier in the day.
The 50fter group have now taken a course out to sea, as per the optimised route from www.predictwind.com!Predictwind published earlier today (see graphic).
Conditions in the area remain light as evidenced by the second Predictwind graphic showing light variable winds in the north of New Zealand. These are from the newly announced feature of Predictwind, which can now show wind predictions, optimised course routing, and realtime observations being recorded in the coastal area in which the competitors are located.
The strong wind forecast for the race fleet, is now easing further, while winds are expected to peak to an average of 26kts for a short period, generally conditions are now forecasted to be lighter in the high teens generally, and the arrival time for the first 50fter plotted, V5, is now late on June 6, 2012 at 2330hrs.
From 0700hrs tomorrow, Monday, until just before the race finish, V5 is expected to have double digit average speeds, with a peak of 15kts average for one period.
At 0830hrs, Simon Hull's ORMA60 trimaran, TeamVodafoneSailing leads Beau Geste (Karl Kwok) by 7 miles with the boats being recorded as sailing at 7-8kts.
Behind them the three 50fters are having a serious contest, swapping the lead. While David Nathan's V5, a canting keel TP52, led off the start, and for much of the trip to Whangarei, she lost the lead for a time, as the other two 50fters took a more offshore course. There Akatea and Kia Kaha found better breeze and moved through to leeward of V5.
However the breeze appears to have favoured the inshore boats and at the 0830 sked V5 enjoyed a five mile lead over the other two.
Steinlager 2 is 14nm astern of V5 and is also inshore, passing Cape Brett at 0830hrs.
The race tracker can be viewed by http://yb.tl/noumea2012nz!clicking_here
The strong winds predicted to hit the fleet seem to have moderated in the latest prognosis from PredictWind, and the latest routing shows the 50fters fast reaching at speeds of 15kts for much of the trip to Noumea, which is now predicted to take the 50's three more days, with a finish time in the early hours of June 7, 2012 NZT.