New NZMYC Coastal Classic record
When the ORMA 60 trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the finish line of the NZMYC Coastal Classic at 15:44.31hrs this afternoon it took nearly an hour off the existing race record, and broke the six hour barrier for the first time ever in the 30 year history of this challenging and spectacular yacht race.
Its time of five hours 44 minutes minutes and 31 seconds meant an average speed of about 20 knots for the duration of the race north.
The 60 foot trimaran took air from the start, pushing ahead of other competitors and disappearing into the horizon before many of them had rounded North Head.
"TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the line right in front of my house, I could not believe her speed, it was utterly amazing," said John Fielding of Russell.
The boat slowed down briefly at Cape Brett, but was soon up to speed again to sail the last 15 upwind miles into Russell.
Roger Pagani's 50 foot catamaran Triple 8 was the next to radio in that they were at Cape Brett, more than an hour later.
Of 151 starters this morning, 147 are still racing, with three retired. More than 35 boats had passed the Sail Rock waypoint at the time TeamVodafoneSailing crossed the finish line. Most boats are expected to finish overnight.
The previous race record of 6 hours and 43 minutes was set in 2009 by the supermaxi Alfa Romeo, which in turn replaced a 13 year old record held by Split Enz since 1996.
The Coastal Classic is a 119 nautical mile race that starts off Devonport Wharf in Auckland, and finishes off Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands.