At start time, a Low Pressure system is moving east across North Island − crossing the coast at Hokianga Harbour, about 100nm NW of Auckland.
This weather system will determine the winds (TWS and TWD) for the fleet throughout the race.
An initial wind forecast of 6 kts out of the east dictates an on-the-wind start. The sail remains a beat to wind’ard until past the initial Motutapu S mark and into the Motuihe Channel.
Leaving Rakino Island to port(?) and after dealing with the rocks and islands that comprise The Noises, the outbound leg looks to be a leisurely close-reach. Winds are forecast to be 7.7 kts @ 084°T just south of Little Barrier Island.
Rounding Little Barrier Island brings as many as six headlands into play. Note that the mark is located on dry ground. This is a tough rounding to manage using DCs, and comes on the mid-watch for the UK skippers.
The inbound leg begins as a beam reach but moves to a close reach along the way back to Orieke. The wind freshens to ~13 kts and the direction clocks. The 00Z model shows it is possible to cross the line without tacking. That is something worth tracking in subsequent WXs.
Total time is forecast to be just under 13 hours.
Sound like a great way to start the weekend.