The iconic Auckland-Tauranga yacht race is still going ahead this Easter, but the start will probably be delayed until Cyclone Cook passes through.
The yacht race normally starts 10am Thursday with the quicker boats turning up on Good Friday, but the cyclone remnant's current predicted track is more or less occupying the race track along the path of the race, down the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Once it's passed, a good westerly breeze is expected to make this year's race a quick one, unlike some other years where a distinct lack of wind has slowed things a bit.
“The scheduled start time is 10am but with some pretty serious bits of wind, rain, and everything else big swells,” says Tauranga Yacht and Boat Club Andy Knowles.
“Cyclones don't necessarily track to order, but assuming current forecasts are correct we will be making a delay until the cyclone's gone through.”
Whether that's 12 hours or 24 hours remains to be decided. The current forecasts show the best time to start would be midnight Thursday, says Andy.
“It's pretty hard getting a fleet of yachts away at midnight so we will have to wait until Friday morning.”
For Frank Racing 60 owner Simon Hull, the Auckland Tauranga race is about the only New Zealand race record the trimaran formerly known as Team Vodafone Simon Hull has yet to collect.
“The guy has been trying ever since he owned the boat to get the Auckland Tauranga race record, and every time he's been foiled,” says Andy.
The current record of 9 hours and 35 minutes was set by the super-maxi monohull Zana in 2004. Zana, was also known as Konica Minolta.
The ORMA 60 formerly named TeamVodafoneSailing, is one of a breed of ORMA 60 trimarans built for a French competition in the 1990s to sail fast and get instant spectator approval
Measuring 18m (60 foot) in length and 18m (60 foot) wide, with a mast height of 30m (100 feet) above the water, the ORMA 60 targets average speeds of 18 knots to windward in 25 knots of breeze, or 30 knots on a broad reach. Open 60s have averaged 25 knots for 24 hours, which means there are very few boats in Australasia capable of racing it for line honours.