Auckland Fiji Race: Day 3 - Life aboard the Bouncy Castle

THEM and US gybe the spinnaker aboard Squealer - Start Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013

The Auckland to Fiji Race is in its third day as the fleet head for the finish at Musket Cove. Currently they are around the halfway point of the race.

Leading the fleet is the ORMA60 trimaran, TeamVodafoneSailing, as they tack back across the Great Circle route to Fiji.

Already at least one crew member to ask why they do this sport for pleasure.

Here is a glimpse into life aboard TeamVodafone during the graveyard shift:

'It's 2.43am, you pull your ear plugs out your alarmn is going off, slide out of bunk you are already wearing, thermals, shorts, longjohns, socks, waterproof socks, bear suit, boots, wet weather pants, thermal top x2, fleece, bear suit top,locate and pull on, your rubber seal smock, wet wethwer jacket (usually still wet inside and out from last watch), bennie, head lamp, life jacket, tether, dive gloves and ski mask, All while your three other watch mates are doing the same in a 15x4ft bouncy castle.

Crawl out the hatch to meet a face full of cold pacific. Its as dark as the inside of a cow out here. crawl up to the helm, you have 3 numbers to look at, boat speed, twa (true wind angle), tws (true wind speed), you can't see the waves but can hear and feel them, you cant even see the bow, get told to drive 120-130 twa and dont slam the weather hull. Good luck.

Do that and hold sheets for three hours then find the ear plugs again and crawl back to the bunk.'

Meanwhile some of the Squealer crew (we won't name names) succumbed to sea sickness in the wee hours.

'The US watch seem to have over indulged in meat and cheeses before coming on,' writes Lisa Knapton. 'When it was our turn all three were sick.'

She reports that the THEM watch had a few sail changes, saw dolphins, and kept the contents of their stomachs where they were meant to be.

Foredeck crew relax aboard V5 - Start Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013
are repairing their outboard sheeting car for the second time, after the car and part of the track blew off the deck. Outboard sheeting is important to sail trim and they will be hoping to get something sorted.

In the meanwhile, Race Director John Rountree, and RNZYS Commodore Steve Burrett, have arrived safely in Musket Cove and they report that the rain has gone and the sun is shining.

'Light winds here and it does not look much better between here and the boats,' says John Rountree.

As we write at midday on Monday, TeamVodafone has nearly reached the halfway mark, but is making 8 knots of boatspeed on a NorthWest course - directly towards New Caledonia.

'At 0700hrs we had 600nm to go in a straight line, but we will have to sail at least 800nm to get to Fiji,' says Stu MacKinven. 'Our polars say we should be doing 25 knots, but the reality is a very wet and bouncy 10-20 knots.'

A strategic decision was made to divert West in search of a North Westerly breeze.

ETA for TeamVodafone is now late Wednesday or early Thursday.

With no correspondence from others in the fleet all we can report is their positions and vital stats:

First monohull is V5, now headed NorthEast at 8.9 knots, and 73nm ahead of Equlibrium, who is still hunting for breeze from the NorthWest, and sailing at 5.8 knots.

Wild Card is the Western most of the remaining three, about 14nm West of Squealer, who is 14nm West of Outrageous Fortune, the boat that is remaining most faithful to the rhumbline course so far.

Outrageous Fortune's Navigator, Ross Masters, reported yesterday that he was happy with the boat's position in the fleet.

Vision, the Ganley Cruiser that started on Wednesday, has 340nm to finish.

The race is supported by Manson Anchors, PredictWind.com, and TNL GAC Pindar.

For more information:

Visit www.rnzys.org.nz for bulletins and access to the Yellowbrick tracker, and also check in at the RNZYS Facebook page for photos and commentary.