An all-female crew took the spoils in yesterday's in-port Volvo Ocean race, with Team SCA pipping Team Brunel of the Netherlands and Spanish outfit Mapfre.
Swedish-flagged Team SCA are the fifth women-only crew to contest the round-the-world event, but the first in a decade.
The win will come as a welcome morale boost for the team, who are sitting in sixth overall, one place above Team Vestas Wind who are enduring an enforced sabbatical after crashing into a reef in November. SCA's form in the in-port series has been much better, however, having won the Abu Dhabi event in January.
In-port racing is a competition in its own right but, more importantly, the standings in the short-form series act as tie-breakers for teams tied on points in the main race.
Britain's Sam Davies usually skippers SCA but her team-mate Carolijn Brouwer filled in at the helm yesterday.
Brouwer read the light and shifting winds judiciously to make a good start and, within moments, established a lead that her boat wouldn't relinquish. They made the first turn with almost a minute on the rest of the fleet but the downwind leg saw Team Brunel make considerable gains, shaving the margin to just 20 seconds.
From there it was a two-horse race, but Brouwer and her crew boxed cleverly, knowing that only a slip-up would see them lose it. They refused to make one.
The course was set against the backdrop of Auckland's downtown, spanning the narrow channel between the waterfront and the port on one side and Devonport and North Head on the other.
Thousands turned out in the blazing sun to watch from the Viaduct, while scores of spectator vessels littered the harbour, hovering around the fringes of the course.
The racing didn't go the way of the handful of Kiwis involved. Team Alvimedica, home to Ryan Houston, Dave Swete and Stu Bannatyne, finished fifth, and Daryl Wislang's Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing brought up the rear after making a false start.
"It was a bit disappointing," said Wislang. "The wind was pretty shifty. We thought the breeze was coming in from the other side."
Wislang can afford to chalk the result up, as his team are currently leading the main race.
The crews will have a couple of days to kick their heels, with the onset of Cyclone Pam delaying the start of the Southern Ocean leg to Tuesday at the earliest.
Wislang didn't seem bothered by the delay, knowing full well from his three previous Volvo expeditions what he's in for when the boats eventually put out to sea.
"You're just dealing with the cold day after day - that and getting pummelled. You're just wet the whole time."
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu was a guest on Abu Dhabi and said the experience left him full of admiration.
"You see the energy and how much these guys go through. You've got to admire that."
However, he said he wouldn't be making a career change anytime soon. "Doing in-port racing would be fine, but getting out in the ocean, I don't think so."