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Two-handed Round North Island Race- Leg 2 underway - Blink leads

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz on 10 Feb 2014
Blink - 2014 Two handed Round North Island Race . ..

The second leg of the two man Round the North Island Race got underway from Mongonui at noon on Monday.

Competitors had made good progress 12 hours later with most having cleared the top of the North Island and are on the long Leg through the Tasman Sea to Wellington.

Leading the 25 boat fleet is the Shaw 12 design Blink - sailed by owner Tony Wells and designer Rob Shaw. At midnight Monday, the canting keeler was 426nm from the finish.

Second on the water is the Elliott 35 Bushido sailed by Wayne Woods and Craig Sattherwhaite, who were just a mile astern of Blink. In the latest sked, Bushido reported that she had hit a sunfish off North Cape. Woods is on his second RNI, while Satterwhaite has competed in the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.

In equal third but laterally separated is the Welbourn 42 Wedgetail (Meric and Rebecca Davies) with Focus the Elliott 1350 (Brett Elliott and Chris Maddock) was to the south of Wedgetail but both had around 431nm to sail to Wellington.

At the end of Leg 1, Montego Bay III was declared to be the provisional overall race leader on PHRF. Sailed by Simon McVeagh and Matt Stevens, Montego Bay III is a Simpson 13m.

McVeagh managed to twist his parents arm to borrow the family boat to compete in the race but not before they negotiated a charter fee of a new mainsail. They are campaigning on a shoestring and have put a lot of effort in just to ensure they can do the race. Crew Matt Stevens has been part of Will Tiller's FMJ matchrace team and the runner up in the recent Red Bull Youth America's Cup event.

According to the route planning function of www.predictwind.com the winds are expected to be moderate to light for much of the long leg but increasing in strength as the boats near Wellington. For the night, winds are expected to be SE but swinging to the SSW on Tuesday, and through to SW the following day.

The competitors are expected to be sailing for another three days on the leg to Wellington, with the fastest route, being what is currently sailed - for the yachts to stand off from the top of New Zealand, before heading in a straight line for New Plymouth ,and then sailing a direct route to Wellington.
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