Light winds could make for a slow first leg of the SSANZ Round the North Island two-handed race, with the leading yachts barely at Tiri Tiri Matangi Island two hours after the 2pm start off Devonport Wharf, Auckland.
The forecast is for the light sea breeze which carried the yachts out the Rangitoto Channel to die later in the day, and with an incoming tide until 9.40 tonight, progress could be slow.
Despite being stalled at the start, at 4.30pm Shaw 9m Karma Police was leading the 37-boat fleet, sailing on the edge of the breeze line off Long Bay at the top of Auckland’s East Coast Bays.
Half a dozen boats were carried over the start line by the tide in the light conditions and had to return to recross the line. Getting the best of the start were the race favourite Akatea, a Cookson 50 competing in her first major race, Elliott 1050 Gale Force, and Young 11 Fineline.
The first leg of the 1200 nautical mile race is to Mangonui in Northland (around 150 miles), before the boats head around Cape Reinga and down the west coast to Wellington on the race’s longest leg. The first yachts should arrive in Mangonui tomorrow.
This is the 11th edition of the race which is regarded as the toughest on the New Zealand shorthanded racing calendar. Entries are capped at 40 due to the limitation on berthing at some ports. A full entry was received however three entries dropped out shortly before the start resulting in the less than full strength fleet.
Follow progress in the race (those boats who have trackers) by clicking here?nid=80449