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Melges 2023 - Melges 15 LEADERBOARD

Line honours and two division wins for Wired in 500nm Three Kings Race

by William Woodworth/RNZYS & Sail-World.com/nz 11 Apr 2022 04:38 PDT 11 April 2022
Start at 6.00pm - Auckland - Three Kings Race - April 2022 © RNZYS Media

The Bakewell-White 52fter Wired, skippered by Rob Bassett, wrote another race win in her logbook being first to finish, and scoring two corrected time wins in the inaugural Auckland - Three Kings Race.

She led a 20 boat fleet in the 500nm race staged as part of the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron's 150th Anniversary celebration. The race started on Thursday April 7, at 1800hrs and the fleet, comprising 16 fully crewed entries and four two-handed crews, went straight into night sailing mode in a favourable breeze from astern.

The Three Kings are in fact a group of 13 uninhabited islands 35nm NW of Cape Reinga at the northernmost tip of New Zealand. The first European to visit the islands was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who named the islands after the Biblical Three Kings.

One of the islands in the group, Ohau plays an important part in the traditional Maori belief that it is the last farewell place of the spirits of dead Maori return to their Pacific homeland of Hawaiki.

Five yachts retired with various issues, none serious, on the first night, and they either returned to Auckland or made port in Northland.

On the first morning the van of the fleet was off Bay of Islands, with Wired and the 40ft Mr Kite II (Nathan Williams) in pursuit as the cleared the top of New Zealand. The 50nm leg from the tip of the North Island to the Three Kings is a notorious stretch of water split with an undersea trench, as well as being the confluence of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Five fishermen were drowned making the crossing, in mid-March after being swamped by a rogue wave pushed up by a combination of tidal conditions and the tail of passing cyclone.

Wired and Mr Kite II hit 16knots above the North Island on the approach to the Three Kings, with Wired rounding before 4.00pm on Friday afternoon, followed by Mr Kite II - leaving the rest of the fleet to make the crossing during the second night at sea, rounding in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Wired stretched out a to a big lead on the second night leaving the chasing pack to battle into the breeze coming around North Cape.

At sunrise the wind swung around to the south so the middle of the fleet, returning back to North Cape from the islands had a much easier time than the lead boats that had to sail back into an easterly.

Omega (Bakewell-White 42) made the biggest gain, catching up with Equilibrium (Botin Carkeek/Marten 55) and Emotional Rescue (Davidson 55) getting a straight shot back around the top of the North Island while the other boats toiled into the stronger breezes further offshore.

Wired completed the 500nm course in just short of 52hrs, finishing around 8.00pm on Saturday evening, as the race went into its third night. Mr Kite II finished nearly 10hrs astern, two hours ahead of Equilibrium, with Omega finishing 15 hours behind Wired.

On corrected time Wired finished an hour ahead of Omega on PHRF with Mr Kite II in 3rd place. On PHS Wired was 50 minutes ahead of Mr Kite II with Omega (Hamish McLaren) in 3rd place.

In the Two-handed division Titanium (Stomp 38 - Steve Bellingham) also took line honours and won both corrected time divisions from Niksen (Dehler 30 - Marc Michel/Logan Fraser) with Katana (Sunfast 3600 - Nigel Garland) third on line and corrected time.

For full results Click here - Fully crewed and Two-Handed

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