It could have been much worse for TeamVodafoneSailing when the trimaran, formerly Michel Desjoyeaux's Geant, lost its rig on a harbour race in Auckland last Wednesday night, but the mast survived relatively intact and damage to the boat was minor.
“We were extremely lucky in the incident as not only was no one hurt, but the damage to the rig and boat were both minimal,” says skipper and owner, Simon Hull.
The break has given the crew time to slow down for once, and to contemplate the successes of the season so far, and all of the sailing still be done – including a stint racing in Australia in July and August.
The first half of the New Zealand summer season has delivered a full set of exciting race challenges for TVS: The boat set a new race record for multihulls in the Coastal Classic, completing the 119nm course in 7 hours and 16 minutes, but left the overall record of 6 hours 43 minutes, set by the supermaxi Alfa Romeo in 2009, to stand as a challenge for another year.
Then TeamVodafoneSailing suffered variable conditions in the 310nm Around White Island Race but still managed to set a new record, and went on to win five out of five races at Bay of Islands Sailing Week, racing at speeds in excess of 35 knots
In February TeamVodafoneSailing completed the famous ‘Night Race to Kawau’ – an island near Auckland City - in a blistering 26.75 knot average, to finish in 54 minutes and 37 seconds.
Last Wednesday TeamVodafoneSailing was enjoying having another fast catamaran – the new AC45 – to play with, when a critical fitting attaching the rig’s starboard shroud failed and the mast fell over.
The repair is expected to be completed in a matter of weeks and next up is a program of local racing. The BMW Auckland Regatta from 18-20 March is likely, as is the Auckland to Tauranga race at Easter, and the Auckland to Fiji race in June.
Following Fiji, the boat will be delivered to New South Wales, where it will race 385nm from Sydney to the Gold Coast as an unoffical entrant on 30 July, and another 358nm from Brisbane to Keppel, as an official entrant, departing 5 August, before taking in two of Australia’s most glamourous regattas sailed off the beautiful Whitsundays, the Airlie Beach Race Week (commencing 12 August), and Hamilton Island Race Week (commencing 19 August).
“That program will take us to the end of our first year as TeamVodafoneSailing. What a year it’s been – we can’t wait to sail the rest of it, and we wholeheartedly thank our sponsors, and all those that have helped us on the way,” says owner Simon Hull.
A return delivery to New Zealand in September will give the boat time to ready itself for the beginning of the 2011-12 sailing season, including another shot at the overall record in the Coastal Classic – one of very few New Zealand sailing records that TeamVodafoneSailing doesn’t now hold.
TeamVodafoneSailing is also supported by Line 7, Seatrade, Fusion, Harken, Fineline, B&G, Steinlager and Wilde Media.