29 Jun 2009

Skipper injured, three yachts out of race

7:52 pm on 29 June 2009

One man is injured and three yachts have been forced out of a race from New Zealand to New Caledonia due to a severe storm.

The director of the Royal Akarana Yacht Race, Fendall Halliburton, says 13 crews set off from Auckland bound for Noumea at 2pm on Saturday.

However, severe weather has forced three yachts to withdraw, including Bullrush, which has a broken mast.

Another yacht withdrew with hydraulic problems, but has since rejoined the race.

Mr Halliburton says skipper Charles St Clair Brown is being treated for an injury to his ribs.

Mr Halliburton says winds of 30 knots, with gusts up to 45 knots, have been recorded but are not beyond the capability of the fleet.

The record for the annual race is just under three days, set in 2004, and most competitors finish in under five days.