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Gentle breeze replaces gales for Fiji race fleet

by Emirates Team NZ Media on 5 Jun 2011
Camper heads out for Fiji in the Auckland-Musket Cove Race. Ivor Wilkins
After a 24 hour delay the Auckland-Musket Cove race started at Auckland at noon today. In complete contrast to yesterday's conditions, which saw winds gusting to more than 40 knots, the fleet crossed the line under very light airs, blue skies and bright sunshine.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand led off the start line for the 1141-nautical mile race to Fiji.

Racing with 13 crew rather than the 11 permitted for the Volvo Ocean Race, CAMPER will be in full 'race mode' for the next few days.

Skipper Chris Nicholson said, 'It will be good for the crew to do a real race aand the next few days will be an ideal practice run for our watch system.

'It is certainly a whole new race compared to 24 hours ago and hopefully we will get some good testing conditions both during the race and on our way back to Auckland.'

Sailing journalist Ivor Wilkins reports:

First out into the Hauraki Gulf was the Emirates Team New Zealand CAMPER team in their first competitive outing before the Volvo Ocean Race. The powerful red yacht lit up in the soft breeze and surged across the favoured pin end of the startline to lead the fleet away.

Line honours favourite, the18m trimaran, TeamVodafoneSailing (TVS) was judged over the line early at the start and had to return to re-start before giving chase.

The fleet of 14 yachts gathered at the starting area in virtually no wind and glassy seas. However, just as the yachts came under starter’s orders at midday, a light 8-knot northerly began to fill in – providing a gentle send-off on the 1140-mile race to Fiji.

The race is organized by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in association with the New Zealand International Yachting Trust.

Expectations were that TeamVodafoneSailing might threaten the RNZYS record of 120hrs 21mins 45secs set by Systems Thunder in 2008. However, skipper Simon Hull said the light conditions meant the record was unlikely to fall.

As Camper and TVS led the fleet past Rangitoto Light, the next two yachts out into the Hauraki Gulf were Wired, owned by Rob Bassett and Brett Russell, and the historic Whitbread Round the World racer, Lion New Zealand, skippered by William Goodfellow.

Follow the fleet via the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron website here: www.rnzys.org.nz or directly through the race tracker here: live.adventuretracking.com/aucklandtofiji2011

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