Next stop Brazil
Ahead of the seven offshore yachtsmen is a potential of 38 days and 7,500 miles in the most demanding sea areas on the planet as the fleet leave New Zealand and head south-east into the Southern Ocean en route to Cape Horn before turning northwards towards the finish line in Ilhabela, Brazil.
As the fleet prepared to leave Queen’s Wharf, last minute preparations to Team Mowgli were still underway as a courier handed a new masthead wind instrument unit to Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson just 30 minutes before the start and the vital wand was hastily installed before the British duo left the dock. In bright sunshine and 25-35 knots of NNW breeze, the start was high-speed with the majority of boats carrying three reefs and staysail as they reached across the line at 15 knots.
Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme were first across on Class 40 Beluga Racer, chased by single handed entry, Michel Kleinjans, on Open 40 Roaring Forty with the Chilean duo of Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz in third on Desafio Cabo de Hornos and Salvesen and Thomson on Team Mowgli in fourth place. As the only boat carrying a Solent headsail, Desafio Cabo de Hornos rocketed away from the start on a power reach with Cubillos and Muñoz quickly building a 1.5 mile lead. Beluga Racer held second place followed by Roaring Forty and Team Mowgli in third and fourth as the Portimão Global Ocean Race fleet gybed, set spinnakers and gennakers and shot south through the heads separating Wellington Harbour from Cook Strait, leaving the spectator boats and 11 yachts competing in a double-handed race organised by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in their wake.