Thursday, 10 June 2010

O’Canada first to Fiji for President’s Trophy

by Jodie Bakewell-White

The 2010 ANZ Auckland to Denerau Ocean Race challenged the fleet with a wide range of conditions.

Fierce northerly headwinds hit the fleet on day two, as predicted by forecasters in the lead up to the race. Competitors report winds in the 30 to 50 knot range which then subsided as the system passed.

The bulk of the fleet then spent a few days drifting in very light fickle winds before transitioning into the trades which were a little slow to appear.

Open 60 O'Canada built an early lead on the fleet and continued to stretch out going on to arrive in Denerau Friday 9:41am, after an elapsed time of 139 hours and 41 minutes. Skippered by Olympic Finn sailor Dan Slater O'Canada took line honours convincingly and were presented with the President’s Trophy as first boat to finish.

Caught in the drift-off Wired [Bakewell-White 52] followed crossing the line second just over 30 hours behind O Canada. Ran Tan II [Elliott 50] was third three hours behind Wired.

Striking the mid race light patch meant that the corrected time winners were essentially determined in the second half of the race.

On board Bennetaeu First 50, Bird on the Wing, Brent Marshall and crew enjoyed Hors D’oeuvres and full meals. In spite of the offshore luxuries, Bird on the Wing, now a race regular, this year things went their way and the boat claimed the coveted IRC win by a mere eight minute margin from brand new boat General Lee [Bakewell-White 36].

When asked about race highlights, Brent Marshall, Bird on the Wing skipper quotes, “Being at sea with a brilliant group of friends and sharing in the joy of ocean racing.”

“The windy second night saw us as one of the boats which advanced best up the course, and the three or four extended kite rides we had at different stages in 20-25kts.”

Ross 40, REVs sailed a strong race pushing to the west early on and persevering with that track despite the wind hole. They were seventh in to Fiji and returned solid results across the divisions – first on ORC Club, second on PHRF, and third under IRC.

Auckland to Fiji Race 2010