Competitors in the Volvo Ocean Round The World race have left Auckland on the treacherous Southern Ocean leg of the race - 6,705 nautical miles to Brazil around Cape Horn.
Most are battling heavy sea conditions off Great Barrier Island, but one has had to turn back for repairs with a damaged bulk head. Team New Zealand skipper, Tony Rae, on Camper is suffering from broken ribs, but is hoping to pick up points on the down wind run. Meantime, there are questions on the design of Camper from Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton.
This is the Kiwi Team NZ's first foray into the great race and they are keen to extend their winning performance and prove their ability in Ocean Racing.
Windy Wellington - the City of Gales - is now challenging the City of Sails up North, as a place to learn to sail! Wellington harbour and Cook Strait are being promoted as the ideal place to train for tough Southern Ocean racing.
As Wellingtonions we back that. Wellingtonians sail in tough conditions much of the time. In the early 70's, James and Michael Blunt raced in heavy seas of Paremata despite the coast road being closed to traffic. Their moment of chagrin came as they headed to cross the finish line first. The finish line marker boat up anchored and took off!
A few years later, James and Colin Ketterwell won the Winter Sailing series in the mid 1970's on a Nolex 22. On a round the harbour race in heavy winds and no visibility they crossed the finish line in front of Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club to find they were the only competitors to finish! All had turned back when the race was cancelled due to lack of visibility, strong winds and heavy seas - but the poor visibility had prevented their seeing the cancellation flag. They were awarded the race.