Noumea Race Day 7: Only five left to finish - Update @ 2230hrs

Steinlager 2 at the start of the Auckland leg of the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012

Several yachts have finished the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012 race. In fact later this evening, there will be only four yachts left in the race.

Early this morning, Akatea crossed the finish line to take third place, and be second monohull into Noumea, after V5 finished late Thursday afternoon.

Akatea was followed in an hour later by the TP52 Kia Kaha.

Next home was former NZ sailor of the Year, Ray Haslar and his RP42 crew on Rikki who crossed the finish line in Noumea this afternoon at 16:39:17 NZST.

Four hours later the Murray Ross designed M1 crossed the finish line just four hours behind Rikki.

Steinlager 2 finished around 22o0hrs NZT, with the Elliott design, Bullrush expected to cross in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The only new report of damage is to Iolanthe II, she is having a slow trip the finish after damaging their boom.!Click_here to read the current results and trophy placings!Click here to read the latest Sked as at 1930hrs June 8, 2012

Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012 – Positions at a Glance Time: 1200hrs June 7, 2012 
Line Position BoatTypeSpeedDistance to Finish
1 TeamVodafone SailingORMA 60Finished0
2 V5TP52Finished0
3 AkateaCookson 50Finished0
4 Kia KahaTP52Finished0
5 RikkiRP42Finished0
6 M1RossFinished0
7 Steinlager2Farr83Finished0
8 BullrushElliott 128.10kts26.0nm
9 ElysiumElliott Tourer8.0kts84nm
10 IolantheFirst 515.10kts271nm
11 BonaparteBeneteau 508.4kts287nm
12 BlizzardFarr 447.6kts318nm
 Retired  Icebreaker Ker 40 Retired - Norfolk Island 
Retired Cotton Blossom 2FarrIn Opua 
Retired CarerraMarten 49En route to Auckland 
Retired Starlight ExpressDavidson 55Retired - Norfolk Island 
Retired Beau GesteFarr 80Retired – Norfolk Island 

0815hrs: reports that the Auckland Cookson50 Akatea skippered by Gary Lewis and Opua TP52 Kia Kaha skippered by Chris Hornell finished the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea race this morning in light rain and light winds.

Akatea crossed the finish line at 05hrs 10mins and 31sec NZST time. They were followed closely by Kia Kaha who finished just over an hour later at 06hrs 39mins and 13 seconds NZST time.

Both yachts crew report they are pleased to have arrived in Noumea after a tough race.

Kia Kaha skipper Chris Hornell said 'That of the 12 offshore races he has completed, this was one of the toughest. Learning the new boat was rewarding but also very challenging due to the tough mainly windward conditions.'

The race was a tactical challenge says Hornell '…putting the boat in the right place on the course was very important a challenge for the navigator'

A torn mainsail required Kia Kaha to sail for a whole day under headsail which slowed the boats progress. Despite this Kia Kaha completed the race third monohull on line.

The crews of Kia Kaha and Akatea are now getting some well deserved rest and enjoying a hot coffee.

About 22hours previously the TP52, V5 (David Nathan) was the first monohull home, crossing after 1500hrs local time on Thursday afternoon.

Kia Kaha after the start of the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea race.

0030hrs: Two 50fters in the Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012 race, are match racing for the honour of being third to finish in Noumea.

Akatea a Cookson 50 skippered by Gary Lewis, has recovered from her drubbing in 65kt winds two days ago, and has the edge over Kia Kaha a TP 52 skippered by Chris Hornell.

At noon NZT on Thursday, Kia Kaha was 32nm behind Akatea, but 12 hours later had closed that gap down to just 11nm, and it would seem to be that the race will go down to the wire. At 0100hrs, Akatea had a 10nm lead, and was sailing at 8kts, with Kia Kaha sailing at over 11kts.

The first boat of the two is expected to finish around 4.00am NZT, given that the breeze holds. If that speed differential held up, the result will be close.