Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi leaves New Zealand coast in 55kt winds

Abu Dhabi crosses ahead of Volvo Ocean Race leader, Telefonica as the fleet exited the Waitemata Harbour on Sunday afternoon.

Abu Dhabi, the Farr designed Volvo 70 appears to have cleared the Hauraki Gulf and resumed racing on the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

She passed through the Colville Channel at around 2100hrs chasing the other five competitors who are now over 500nm ahead, having previously advised Volvo Ocean Race management, that she had resumed racing at 2030 local time (0730 UTC)

Strong winds are still blowing in the area with gusts of over 55kts being recorded at Channel Island in the Colville Channel.

The winds are blowing from a SE direction and Abu Dhabi is headed east at a speed of 14kts.

Late on Sunday afternoon Abu Dhabi elected to return to Auckland to repair a J4 bulkhead, which is a structural member that had broken away from the hull. The bulkhead spreads the loads from the tack of the small J4 jib at the point where it attaches to the deck of the yacht.

It was deemed unwise to continue with the option to get the repair effected so close to Auckland. Her support team worked through the night to get the bulkhead secured, and she left Auckland around noon today, Monday, but was forced to take shelter in the Hauraki Gulf from an intense low pressure system accompanied by strong winds which has battered the northern half of New Zealand for the past 24 hours.