Auckland to Fiji Race: Equilibrium withdraws heads back to New Zealand

Equilibrium - Start Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013

The largest monohuil in the 2013 Auckland Fiji Race has withdrawn and is heading for Auckland.

Information on the tracker shows that around 1.00pm today the Marten 55 Equilibrium headed west for a time, before turning and headed south at a speed of 7.10 kts.

www.predictwind.com!Predictwinds wind data in the area shows very light winds of just 1.5kts. When contacted RNZYS had received no advice from the yacht but subsequently advised that Equilibrium had problems with her alternator. The alternator runs off the main engine an is used to charge batteries and run the yacht's electronics.

V5 pictured at the start of the Auckland Suva Race June 1, 2013, with a smaller asymmetric to her Doyle’s Code Zero, which sheets almost to the transom.

At the front of the fleet the ORMA 60 trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing is making just 4.10kts according to the feed from the Yellowbrick tracker, with Predictwind showing 4kts of wind in the area.

Behind her, the leading monohull, V5 (David Nathan), with Olympic Silver medalist Blair Tuke on board, is being shown as sailing at 7.3kts in 4.5kts of wind and is closing on TeamVodafoneSailing. The reason for V5's amazing speed is believed to stem from a new Code Zero, similar to that used on Volvo 70's. Built by Doyle Sails just before the race, and which turned in similar speeds in that wind condition during tests in Auckland, and works only on a near windward course in certain conditions.

The sail can be used only in wind winds, with the boat quickly powering up, and the canting keel is fully deployed to offset the added heeling moment, which is converted into a boat speed aided by the increase in apparent windspeed.

However even with speed differential it would take V5 24 hours to overhaul the ORMA60, which is expected to step away from the fleet when the yachts reach the SE Trades.

Sail-World will update later in the day.

View the Yellowbrick tracker on www.rnzys.org.nz

Yellowbrick tracker as at 1500hrs on June 3, 2013 - Equilibrium is the pink yacht at the top of the shot heading back to the next three yachts in the six boat fleet
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