Emirates Team New Zealand has embarked upon a 2,000-mile qualifying voyage for the Volvo Ocean Race
The crew set sail from Lyttelton, New Zealand, in the 70ft Camper, with skipper Chris Nicholson indicating the journey will take around six days.
The team must complete the non-stop voyage if they are to qualify for the 2011-12 edition of the round-the-world race.
The crew recently concluded a successful shakedown voyage off the east coast of New Zealand, in a move which raised awareness of the sort of sailing events people can get involved in.
They visited five ports, allowing members of the public to climb on board and have a look. And once people have a taste of the action it is predicted that many will be looking up a day skipper course closer to home.
But Nicholson said the weather will be key in deciding where they end up during the qualifier. He added: “It’s hard to forecast out six days in advance, so we’ll probably modify where we’re going to go within those six days.
“We are heading north east from Lyttelton and we’re expecting to be on the wind to Auckland. A large low pressure area is developing in the Tasman Sea and we’re keeping a wary eye on that.”