Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 6 March 2012
New Zealand has been hard hit by a so-called weather bomb today, which has made its impact on the Two Man Round New Zealand Race, plus another singlehanded sailor was airlifted off his yacht from the same area.
Waves were reported to be 9-10 metres high in the area of the race yachts. The highest windstrength we saw was 85kts off The Brothers in Cook Strait -away from the race yachts.
We have the best available updates on the two situations, in this edition of Sail-World.
Those who lurk around dinghy parks may be aware of the new prototype Womens Olympic Skiff that has been presented by Mackay Boats. We have run a couple of stories previously - along with one video in Sail-World. In this edition we feature the latest video, which has a lot of new footage including several onboard cameras.
Isabel Swan (left) and Martine Grael (BRA) take time out, in Auckland from their campaign to sail the FX by Mackay Boats Richard Gladwell
There is comment from five of the women sailors, on the latest video including Martine Grael (BRA), an ISAF World Youth Gold medalist, and Isabel Swan (BRA) a Bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympics. (They are in NZ for a training session with Forceracing's Andrew Brown.) Three New Zealand sailors also contribute their comments on both the FX, and how forward they are looking to seeing the Womens Skiff make its debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Certainly the new boat is impressive with her speed - to the point where it is difficult to keep up with the boat while filming video, from the shore. The crews have sailed her in winds of 25-30kts and while this is never an easy experience, and the women have as many spills as the guys, boathandling is something all mentioned they would have to put a lot of work into - and relished the challenge.
Molly Meech and Alex Maloney put the 49er FX through her paces off Takapuna. Richard Gladwell
We loved the comment from Jo Aleh, who said that it would be great to have a 49er hull 'so we can put the 49er rig on it and do some cross-training!' That's the 'Big Kite' attitude that Women's sailing needs.
We think the FX will transform Womens sailing, the FX is not a Girls boat - and will certainly be a media magnet.
The trials take place in Santander, Spain starting on 17 March - Mackay's have shipped one boat, and will be taking two rigs, with the second rig going into a regular 49er hull already in Europe.
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet are 2000nm from Auckland. We are not quite within the nine day range for PredictWind.com to be able to use its full nine day stream of forecast data, but we are close. the best case we have seen is for current leg leader, Groupama to take eight days for the remainder of the race. The fleet should have a reasonable ride into Auckland - with one scenario taking them very close to the direct line for Auckland with favourable winds.
Idyllic French Bay, on Auckland's Manukau Harbour
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