Evolution Sails Sail Noumea 2012 officially ended after 8 days, 1 hours, 32 minutes and 53 seconds when Iolanthe II crossed the finish line in Noumea on the 10th of June just after 3pm NZST.
The ocean race which started in near windless conditions on Auckland harbour was labeled by competitors at the finish line as one of the most challenging to leave New Zealand in the last 20 years.
Kark Kwok’s 80 foot maxi monohull Beau Geste was the first to retire from the race with structural damage. The crew of Beau Geste called Taupo Maritime Radio just before 7pm on Monday the 4th of June from a position some 100nm east south east of Norfolk Island. The call was quickly upgraded to a Pan Pan when the crew realised the boat had a lateral crack across the deck which extended down both sides of the hull to the waterline. The 18 strong crew of the Beau Geste displayed magnificent seamanship in working to keep the hull together and managed to safely reach Norfolk by 6am on Tuesday morning.
The tough conditions also resulted in sea sickness for many sailors. The crew of Cotton Blossom 2 were particularly affected and decided at 10.52am on Tuesday the 4th of June to retire from the race and return to New Zealand.
At 8.59pm NZST the big red 60 foot Orma trimaran of Team Vodafone Sailing crossed the finish line in Noumea to record a new Multihull race record of 3 days 6 hours 59 minutes and 50 seconds.
About an hour after Team Vodafone Sailing finished the race the Kerr40 Ice Breaker reported loose keel bolts and advised they would make for Norfolk Island to shelter and make repairs. At 12.23pm on Wednesday the 6th of June Icebreaker reported a "...broken front bulkhead..” and via sat phone requested “... please get an escort for us. We will communicate by text". The issue was upgraded to a Pan Pan and the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre swung into action again taking control of the incident. On reaching Norfolk Island Icebreaker officially retired from the race and set about making repairs to the boat.
Starlight Express which was returning to New Zealand after earlier in the day retiring from the race suffering mainsail and main luff track damage was tasked with diverting to Ice Breakers position to offer assistance.
Marten 49 Carerra also withdrew from the race and returned to Auckland after suffering water damage to the yachts inverter and failure of electrical systems.
While the mid race drama was unfolding for five of the yachts the remainder of the fleet was making steady progress towards the Noumea finish line.
Royal Akarana Yacht Club would like to thank Taupo Maritime Radio and the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre for their outstanding professionalism and assistance during the race. Special thanks also to the large team of amazing volunteers from CNC yacht club who worked around the clock to finish yachts and warmly welcomed all crews to Noumea.
First Multihull and new Multihull race record
· Team Vodafone Sailing, Simon Hull, 3 days 6 hours 59 minutes and 50 seconds
· V5, David Nathan, 5 days 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 23 seconds
- Akatea, Gary Lewis
- Rikki, Ray Haslar
- Kia Kaha, Chris Hornell
- V5, David Nathan
- Elysium, Humphrey Sherratt
- Bullrush, Anthony Robinson
All results are available online .