NZ Ocean Racing will be pleased this morning, as they set out with best intentions yesterday, and were able to deliver a convincing win on their debut race. At 3:58am saturday morning, NZOR finished the 119 nautical mile course from Auckland to Russell with an elapsed race time of 18 hours, nearly triple that of the last monohull win (and monohull record set) by Alfa Romeo back in 2009.
The next boat across the line at 6:23am was CATION, the catamaran also sailed by vetrans of The Ocean Race, skippered by Owen Rutter. While they didn't lead their fleet the whole race, they made a smart strategic move late friday evening to sail further out to sea where the boats closer to land have made big losses. APACHE, who had a clear lead for most of the day, had to make a big tack out to slot in behind Cation and ROMANZA, and has been neck-and-neck with Romanza since.
Light winds made for slow progress through the night. Races like this are often compared to the game snakes and ladders because no matter how confident you may be with your position, it's easy to find yourself in an unexpected 'hole' of no wind, or bursting ahead with a lucky gust that pulls you forward. .
WIRED, the Bakewell-White TP52 is having a spectacular morning, at 6:30am they are the only boat of their division that has rounded Cape Brett, and are closing in on Romanza ahead of them.
The bulk of the fleet are still making their way up the Northland coast and are expected in to Russell this afternoon. The race cut-off is 3pm, and prizegiving starts at 7pm.
Follow their progress online the PredictWind Tracker.