Three way match racehere
be bringing his rocket-ship Open 50 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America over the line within the next 10 hours under the landmark of Mount Maunganui in Tauranga.
Over the course of the 7,200 nm leg, Van Liew has pushed out an incredible 1,050 mile advantage over his nearest rivals in Class 2 and is set to finish after spending 32-33 days in the Southern Ocean alone. This is the kind of performance worthy of the bigger siblings in the Class 1 fleet, two of which he has been trailing by only 3-5 miles down the east coast of New Zealand.
There is no shortage of excitement for these last two yachts in Class 1 coming into the finish within sight of not only Class 2 leader Brad Van Liew but also of each other. Just two miles separates Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet and Emma Richards on Pindar.
Both class 1 boats are handicapped. Like Dalton Schwab has taken the inshore route working the breeze off the land, as on starboard takes he cannot use water ballast. The light airs suit his narrower boat and he has sneaked ahead. “I have had very little sleep. I was putting in the third reef this morning when the fourth batten came out, and I had to lower the sail most of the way, climb part way up and pull out 20 feet of batten without dropping it in the drink. What I have seen of New Zealand is very beautiful. I need to finish this leg and set foot on it.”
Richards’ mainsail repair is one thing that has been holding together through the strong headwinds, which she has endured as much as the frustrating light airs over the last 24 hours. “Last night when we still had 25kts beating, one bad slamming wave destroyed the wind instrument at the top of the mast and that was the spare one, this and a compass fault basically took out my pilot so I was sitting there handsteering in these 'filthy' waves… so that was the beginning of the eventful night of 40 knots trying to tack numerous times to get down the coast. No sleep except for a half hour this morning so I might take a nap on deck and wake with an alarm every 10 or 20 mins to check nothing has changed.”
The rest of the last day has seen all three boats conversely struggle to get their boat speed above 5 knots, whilst tacking around the islands and coastline towards Tauranga. . The latest ETA for all three boats is at the earliest 6 o’clock in the morning local time but if the wind does not fill in at all overnight it could be more like mid to late morning. Tauranga is preparing to give all three skippers the warmest welcome out on the water, at the pontoons and in the WesternBay Finance Race Village.
After tacking into light headwinds throughout the night, Italian skipper Simone Bianchetti (above)finally brought his Lombard designed Open 60 Tiscali over the finish line fourth during a stunning sunrise over Mount Maunganui at 05:30:19 local time on 14th January (16:30:19 GMT 13th Jan). Visibly withdrawn from lack of food and water and in desperate need of sleep, Simone was simply happy to have put this leg behind him.
Leg 3 Provisional Rankings
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux finished at 22:24:43 GMT 8th JAN 03 after 25 days, 12 hours, 24 minutes, 43 seconds
2. Solidaires finished at 09:03:54 GMT 9th JAN 03 after 26 days, 23 hours, 56 minutes, 6 seconds
3. Hexagon finished at 06:38:18 GMT 14th JAN 03 after 30 days, 20 hours, 38 minutes, 18 seconds
4. Tiscali finished at 16:30:19 GMT 14th JAN after 31 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes, 19 seconds
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
5. Ocean Planet, 36 45.000 S, 176 00.410 E, 34.61 nm, 4.32 kt, 123 °T, 51.57 nm
6. Pindar, 36 43.120 S, 176 00.530 E, 34.16 nm, 4.27 kt, 150 °T, 53.42 nm
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Tommy Hilfiger, 36 39.430 S, 176 01.430 E, 34.80 nm, 4.35 kt, 140 °T, 56.98nm
2. Everest Horizontal, 43 50.000 S, 160 01.870 E, 58.45 nm, 7.31 kt, 49 °T, 1105.33nm 3. Spirit of Canada, 42 57.860 S, 157 13.600 E, 60.57 nm, 7.58 kt, 67 °T, 1174.36nm
4. Spirit of yukoh, 45 24.200 S, 155 11.000 E, 39.53 nm, 4.94 kt, 35 °T, 1327.23nm
5. BTC Velocity, 44 13.940 S, 142 15.580 E, 53.86 nm, 6.74 kt, 99 °T, 1808.30nm
Screenshot from Around Alone's 3D Race viewer. Download the race viewer here
Becalmed in the Tasman
The high pressure system has finally stalled us. It's the middle of the night here, 3:40 am. For the last five hours we have been searching for consistent wind with no luck. The weather files that I have downloaded for the last few days have predicted this, and it is here. No wind. We may be stuck in this for as long as two full days. The high has parked over the top of us and there is nothing close by to move it along. The last 60s and Brad are battling strong headwinds on the way to Taurganga, but there is nothing for us down here.
I have been flying the damaged solent in these lighter winds. Why not the larger genoa? The genoa on this boat was never intended to drive the boat to weather. The solent, or working jib, can get us much closer to the wind. Even with a seven foot long tear in it, the sail did a great job over the last eight hours before the wind shut off.
I have also been on a strong energy diet. Most of the time, everything is shut down except for the autopilot. No GPS, Sat C, computer or anything. This has allowed me to rely almost entirely on solar power for my energy needs. I have run the engine for one hour every late afternoon to charge one bank of batteries and that is it. It's enough, with the noise and smoke!
Pray for strong following winds!