We’re stoked to see nearly 40 teams take on the first leg of the Shorthanded Sailing Association of New Zealand’s legendary doublehanded race ‘Round the North Island. Sponsored by Evolution Sails, the 4-stage epic is back for it’s 13th edition with a massive fleet of boats ranging from a little Elliott 7.9 meter all the way up to a trio of fast 52 footers.
Sailing out of Auckland and 154 miles up the east coast to the beautiful harbor of Mangonui, the fleet saw relatively benign conditions and a minimum of carnage, though the girls on the Elliott 1050 High Voltage hit a UFO and retired to head to the boat yard in Opua for a closer inspection. The three 52-footers at the head of the pack had a tight battle to the end with Angus Hall and Rob Basset’s Bakewell-White designed 52-footer WIRED just holding on to be first to finish. Right on their heels and finishing at the first crack of daylight, birthday boy Chris Hornell and his daughter Bex were second on line in the TP 52 Kia Kaha.
With moderate reaching conditions from the SSW to bring most of the fleet home, Steve Mair and Jamie Logan on the Bakewell-White 37 Clockwork (ex General Lee) romped to a close handicap and divisional victory over Damon Jolliffe and Josh Tucker on the Elliott 10.5 Motorboat II (former Squealer). Our recently lengthened and further optimized Kiwi spirit boat Anarchy, originally a Bakewell-White designed YD 37, came home fifth on line but 1st in class and 2nd overall in the provisional handicap results. Look for AJ Reid and his son Will to be contenders for the entire regatta.
The second leg will take the fleet around the northern tip of New Zealand before sailing all the way down the very exposed west coast and into Wellington. The longest at 550 nautical miles -and likely the roughest – stage of this race, it’s where many of the legends of Round North Island are made.
We love seeing our friend friend Suellen Hurling and her team from Live Sail Die on the scene to provide some great video highlights and race coverage throughout the race. Follow the race website and tracker here and their excellent Facebook feed here.
For any of the many anarchists who are undoubtedly in this race, we’d love to hear from you!. Send your submissions to [email protected], we’re sure your words are more exciting than the drivel we’ve come up with from far away! – Ronnie Simpson.