The Royal Akarana Yacht Club’s 320nm race from Auckland, round the active volcano White Island, and then back to Auckland had an exhilarating start in 25-30 knots pushing the 22 strong fleet from the start line through the Motuihe Channel under spinnaker.
The strong gusts coming threw caught a few of the crews by surprise with the Hugh Welbourn 42 Wedgetail having a blow out just minutes after the start.
Exodus, the only multihull in the fleet, also had a rough start running over their kite, and then subsequently tearing it as they tried to retrieve it.
Motorboat and Anarchy were strong off the start line, but it was Anarchy that was catapulted ahead of the fleet, taking control of the monohulls on line.
Unfortunately for Start Me Up, their race ended early after dropping their rig.
There is a large contingent of shorthanded boats racing in this edition of the Round White Island Race with most of them using the race as a qualifier for the SSANZ Round North Island, or to spend more time on their boats to sharpen up the skills.
While the race continues, boats are coming in and out of cell phone range meaning the trackers are on and off. As of Saturday 16th November at 1400 hours, Exodus was hugging the Coromandel coast line with Anarchy and Mr Kite getting ready to round as well.
The first boats are due to cross the finish line at Orakei from early evening. Follow the race via www.rayc.co.nz/whiteisland