Mangonui was a hive of activity yesterday morning as the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race second leg started.
The race, which started from Auckland on Saturday, featured 38 vessels which left the Far North to start the 550 nautical mile journey to Wellington, the longest of the four legs in the annual race around the North Island.
Kerikeri yacht, Deep Throttle, received a royal welcome into Mangonui over the weekend, flanked by dolphins as it finished a somewhat disappointing performance in the first leg.
Manned by 23-year-old former Kerikeri High School students Ned Dalbeth-Hudson and Nikolas Black, the 9m vessel required some maintenance after a tough first leg to ensure it would last the long journey to Wellington.
Dalbeth-Hudson, whose father owned Deep Throttle, said the first leg had been a big learning curve for the pair who had sailed together during high school.
"Definitely not as well as we'd hoped, we made a few bad decisions which didn't help," he said.
"I think the next couple of legs we'll be a lot more in tune and we can do a lot better."
Competing in their first big offshore race, Dalbeth-Hudson said the challenge of a long race around different coastlines was a big drawcard to enter.
"You get to see a fair bit of the country, I've never really sailed south of Auckland too much, so it will be cool to have a look around the coastlines ... and that feeling of pushing yourself to the next level."
Opua yacht Kia Kaha had better luck in leg one, finishing fourth on handicap in the race's top division and second across the line.
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Manned by father/daughter duo, Chris Hornell and Rebecca Gmuer Hornell, the 52-foot vessel would be a strong contender as the race went on.
Gmuer Hornell, 20, said the race was a great chance to spend time with family.
"We've just got this pretty cool boat and Dad and I are trying to do a bit more sailing on it and we thought this was a cool race to do just the two of us."
This year's race, in its 13th year, also featured its first all-female crew - Victoria Murdoch and Emily Riley - aboard 35-foot Elliott 1050, High Voltage.
The Christchurch pair, competing as the race's most southern entry, managed a strong performance early in leg one before their rudder was suspected to be broken by a whale.
Needing to dock at Opua to restore their steering, the pair were informed by an engineer that it was likely a whale had rubbed against the hull and broken the rudder in the process.
Murdoch, 48, said they suspected the whale made contact with the yacht at about 4am on Sunday about a mile and a half out from Cape Brett.
"I had just gone down for a bit of a break and we heard a noise which didn't sound that major, but you can see it's rubbed bow and rudder," she said.
With the rudder now fixed and ready for leg two, Murdoch said the pair was proud to be the race's first women crew and hoped to do their hometown proud.
After completing leg two, sailors will travel 200 nautical miles from Wellington to Napier before finishing in Auckland after the 367 nautical mile fourth leg. The race is expected to last two weeks in total.