On Sunday the 18th of March, the Volvo Ocean 65 race yachts set off on their Southern Ocean leg from Auckland to Itajai. Its customary for every man and his dog who has the slightest interest in yachting to bid them farwell either on the water or from one of the many spectacular viewing locations around the Hauraki Gulf.
The Volvo Ocean 65's however, were not the only spectacle to be seen that day as three Auckland based kitefoilers, Sam Bullock (yellow R1V2), Chris Kitchen (red Chrono) and Bradley Nixon (green Chrono) also braved the dangerously low flying media helicopters and swirling whirlpools of superyacht wakes to give their own farewells. The trio joined the race yachts as they rounded the course mark between Devonport's North Head and Rangitoto Island and accompanied them all the way north to Torbay.
Many who witnessed it were surprised the kitefoilers were able to keep up with the ocean racing yachts, however it was only those who had witnessed the performance of kitefoils previously who knew that in reality the kite foils were struggling to go that slowly!
Words: Sam Bullock, NZ Ozone team rider