Auckland Suva race: Boats make good time in first hours of ocean race

Aboard V5 - Start Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Auckland to Musket Cove Ocean Race departed today in ideal conditions and a row of brightly coloured spinnakers.

The breeze was under ten knots, and seas were flat, making for a pleasant start to the 1,150 nautical mile race.

V5 was the first across the line but the line honours favourite, TeamVodafoneSailing, made a running start and had put distance on the fleet even before it reached Devonport. The smallest boat in the fleet, Squealer, enjoyed the light conditions, and maintained a lead on the other big boats in the early part of the race.

Squealer - Start Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013
At 1545hrs on Saturday afternoon, the PredictWind trackers tell us that TeamVodafone was located to the East of Omaha Bay, doing over 16 knots and heading directly North.

'We have got a nice 9-12 knots of breeze and we just gybed to head towards Little Barrier,' says crewman Stu MacKinven. 'We are getting a long at a nice 10-13 knots, as we just spotted our first golden sandy beach.'

In second place, V5 was off the South Eastern corner of Kawau Island, 3.1nm ahead of Equilibrium, who had headed further out to sea, and Wildcard. Squealer was doing 9.1 knots and taking a similar line to Equilibrium, and Outrageous Fortune was further out to sea.

All of the boats have over 1,100 nautical miles left to sail.

Vision, the Ganley Cruiser that started on Wednesday, is nearly at the halfway point.

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

TeamVodafone is expected to arrive in Musket Cove at between three and four days. To establish a new record, it must complete the race in less than 103 hours, 20 minutes and 57 seconds - the time it set in the 2011 edition of the race. However, the keelboats will need to finish in 103 hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds to set a new monohull record.