The ORMA60 TeamVodafoneSailing (Simon Hull) has slashed the record for the Coastal Classic.
After leaving Auckland in a fresh southwesterly at 10.00am, she was soon well clear of the fleet and reached Flat Rock off Kawau Island 55 minutes later.
Predictwind.com's routing facility which optimises the course for the ORMA60 to take had TVS just past at Cape Brett at 13.55hrs and she reported at the point at 13.48hrs - so was bang on the predicted record breaking pace.
The path in from Cape Brett proved to be less than straight forward, and slowed TVS, both in speed and adding distance to the optimum course.
TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the finish line of the NZMYC Coastal Classic at 15:44.31hrs this afternoon taking nearly an hour off the existing race record, and broke the six hour barrier for the first time ever in the thirty year history of the race.
Her time of five hours 44 minutes minutes and 31 seconds meant an average speed of about twenty knots for the duration of the race north.
The 60 foot trimaran took the lead within a couple of minutes of the start off Devonport Wharf, flying ahead of other competitors and disappearing into the horizon before many of them had rounded North Head. She took just 13 minutes from the start to reach Rangitoto light a course which included two optimised downwind legs and a gybe to reach the light at the entrance to the Outer Waitemata Harbour.
'TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the line right in front of my house, I could not believe her speed, it was utterly amazing,' said John Fielding of Russell by email.
The boat slowed down briefly at Cape Brett but was soon up to speed again to sail the last 15 upwind miles into Russell.
Roger Pagani's 50 foot catamaran Triple 8 was the next to radio in that they were at Cape Brett, more than an hour later.
Of 151 starters this morning, 147 are still racing, with three retired.
More than 35 boats had passed the Sail Rock waypoint at the time TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the finish line. Most boats are expected to finish overnight.
The previous race record of 6 hours and 43 minutes was set in 2009 by the supermaxi Alfa Romeo, which in turn replaced a 13 year old record held by Split Enz since 1996.
The Coastal Classic is a 119 nautical mile race that starts off Devonport Wharf in Auckland, and finishes off Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands.