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ANZ Fiji Race - Records set to be slashed as leaders fly to finish

by Richard Gladwell, NZL on 5 Jun 2016
TeamVodafoneSailing in quieter conditions at the start of the ANZ Fiji Race Richard Gladwell
New records are expected to be set in the ANZ Fiji Race as the leaders hurtle towards the finish line in Port Denerau, sailing a direct course in 20-25kts winds.

TeamVodafoneSailing, the 60ft trimaran which won two TransAtlantic races as Geant, sailed by Michel Desjoyeaux, is expected to cross the finish line at around 11.00pm on Monday night.

That will give her a time of around 58 hours for the race, which is well inside any records for racing to Fiji that Sail-World has been able to locate.

In the 2013 TeamVodafoneSailing took 101hrs for the race. In 2005 the Bakewell White designed supermaxi took 82hrs for the 1100nm course.

The Volvo 70 Giacomo, formerly the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race winner Groupama, is expected to finish at 5.00am on Tuesday morning, about six hours after TeamVodafoneSailing.

Both boats are sailing at around 20kts in winds averaging 23kts from a SE direction.

According to Predictwind TeamVodafoneSailing should be sailing at speeds of around 30kts in these conditions (using the polar for an ORMA60 in Predictwind), and it is likely that her crew have backed off in the interests of safety, or because of the damage sustained to the port daggerboard on Saturday night.

However it could be that on the final day they take the red and white trimaran up to full speed for the final few hours, in which case her arrival time could be in daylight.

Sunday afternoon, Tom Addis, navigator on Giacomo, sent another update:

'This time it's a straight-line race for us. Not many stories from the boat though since its pretty full-on sailing with very little conversation on deck. Everyone fully shut up in wet weather gear with goggles on so jokes and stories tend to get put away for the finish!

'Everyone in good shape though. James (Delegat) has had his camera out so hopefully his pics can do some talking! Downstairs, its eating, sleeping and bailing.'

'ETA looking like early Tuesday morning, probably before sunrise.'

As of 0100am NZT on June 6, 2016 Giacomo is currently steaming towards Denarau at 20 knots with 575nm to sail.

As at 2154 hours on Sunday 5th June, Giacomo was placed first on PHRF and second on IRC behind Miss Scarlett. Cotton Blossom 2 is currently third on IRC.

Of the smaller boats, Blink has has averaged 12.3 knots over the last hour – only Ran Tan 2 and Giacomo are going faster in the monohulls.

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