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First Global yacht due in Wellington

First Global yacht due late tonight-early tomorrow

The first Global Challenge yacht into Wellington from Buenos Aires is expected to arrive between 10pm this evening and 2am Tuesday morning (4 January).

The three leading yachts have less than 150 miles to sail to the finish outside the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, but the leg looks likely to be decided between first-placed BG Spirit – with New Zealand crew aboard – and Spirit of Sark, separated by just four nautical miles (7.4 kilometres). Third-placed BP Explorer is just 26 miles behind the leader.

The front three yachts are separated by at least 100 miles from the rest of the fleet at the last position poll, just before 8am this morning New Zealand time. However, with the MetService predicting 20 knot northerly winds rising to 30 knots and holding for the following 12 hours in the Cook marine weather area, the fleet should make rapid progress towards Wellington. Seas are forecast to become rough, but unlikely to be anything like that which the fleet endured in the Southern Ocean.

Challenge Business spokesman Alistair Hackett said the looming close finish would be an exciting end to what has been a testing 6100-mile leg, which has seen three medical evacuations from the fleet, and four yachts suspending racing at some time or other to evacuate crew or go to the assistance of crew on other yachts.

“Potentially, at this point, with just four miles separating the first two yachts, there’s every chance that leg two could be decided inside Wellington Harbour. After 36 days at sea and 6100 miles battling through the Southern Ocean to get to Wellington, that is truly remarkable. The crews are exhausted, but close racing is always a motivator,” says Alistair.

After the yachts finish, they will be cleared by Customs and Immigration, before an official reception outside Dockside Restaurant on Queens Wharf, where the leg two trophy will be presented by Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club chief executive Mike Boswell. A public information line for yacht arrivals will also be updated. The number is 021 070 0350.

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