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Coastal Classic: Fleet hits light winds after 30nm

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 18 Oct 2018 18:09 PDT 19 October 2018
ORMA60 Frank Racing - Start - PIC Coastal Classic - October 19, © Richard Gladwell

The 165 strong fleet in the PIC Coastal Classic yacht race has run into lighter than expected winds putting any chance of race records firmly out of the question.

Unofficially the fleet is being led by foiling Kiteboarder Sam Bullock who is hitting speeds of over 20kts.

Of the main race fleet, Frank Racing got away to a good start, beginning to fly her main hull as she passed along the North Shore beaches heading for the Rangitoto lighthouse marking the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf.

The breeze was in right from the get-go with a 10kt easterly getting the first fleets away to a good start at 0930hrs with the Division 1 fleet starting at 1000hrs, being able to make North Head, the first rounding mark with just a couple of tacks.

“It should be a glamorous day with sunshine and no rain in the forecast” said Jon Bilger of PredictWind during the briefing last night. “It looks like champagne sailing for the day, although the breeze will die down after dark”.

It could be a long night for the slower boats to finish the entire 119 nautical mile course. Initially the current race record could have been contested due to the favourable easterly wind direction. However a couple of hours after the start around Kawau Island the breeze lightened.

“Big powerful boats like like Team Frank (current record holders of 5hr 13min) don’t require a lot of wind to get up to full speed” Bilger told the Briefing. “Wave conditions will be less than one meter and we don’t expect there to be a ‘parking lot’ after Cape Brett.”

Online tracking of the fleet can be done via the PredictWind yacht tracker, and the social media feeds online www.coastalclassic.co.nz

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