Big boat racing in New Zealand is strong and getting stronger, with a record number of fifty footers to line up for Friday’s PIC Insurance Brokers Coastal Classic.
A fifty foot race yacht is a thing of beauty: large enough to be spectacular to watch and to take difficult conditions of ocean and coastal racing in its stride, swift enough to give a fast exciting race, and small enough to fit in a marina berth and be crewed by enthusiastic but non-professional sailors.
Eleven of them, including some new entrants on the scene, and four of the TP52 class, have entered this year’s PIC Coastal Classic. Until this year, the most seen on the start was six boats. The largest of the fleet Equilibrium is a 55ft Botin design, the smallest is Akatea, a Cookson 50. Ran Tan II is an Elliott 50fter
The TP52 is a high-tech boat designed for close racing and is very strong internationally, meaning that second hand boats are readily available to bring to New Zealand.
‘The purchase price of a second hand TP52 is not too expensive for a boat of this size, and with good fleets its encouraging other owners to get boats and to keep racing them,’ says Harry Dodson, owner of the TP52 Mayhem.
The fifty foot entrants are:
• Georgia (TP52) – Jim Farmer, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• V5 (TP52) – David Nathan, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Temptation (TP52) – Anatole Masfen, Royal Akarana Yacht Club
• Akatea – Wade Lewis, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Equilibrium – Graham Matthews, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Ran Tan II – Brian Petersen, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Wired – Rob Bassett & Brett Russell, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Kia Kaha (TP52) – Chris Hornell, Opua Cruising Club
• Mayhem (TP52) – Harry Dodson, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
• Miss Scarlet (TP52) – William Goodfellow, Royal Akarana Yacht Club
• Viento II (TP52) – Connell McLaren, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Wind forecasting website PredictWind.com predicts that with a light to moderate South-Westerly which is likely, the TP52s will finish between 8pm and 10pm on Friday night.
According to the latest predictions from Predictwind.com the race records all look relatively save 36 hours out from the start of the 119nm race.
By contrast to these mighty giants, the smallest boat is Spank, at 7.7m in length, a pocket rocket that was home built by owner Mark Beauchamp in Kerikeri and which is a serious contender in its division. Sir Peter Blake’s former Whitbread winning Steinlager II is the largest at 25.6m in length.
The race so far has 141 entries which include one all female crew, seven solo entrants, and five boats with just two crew.
Considered one of the world’s most famous yacht races, the Coastal traditionally attracts the very best of New Zealand yachting to race alongside a colourful fleet of boats of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
The event is organised by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club and is traditionally a battle between single hulled boats ‘monohulls’ and double or triple hulled yachts ‘multihulls’. Who comes out on top generally depends on the weather conditions.
There are 16 divisions in total and with a great range of boats on the start-line, results are calculated both by finishing order, and by handicap.
• When: The race starts off Devonport Wharf in Auckland at 930am on Friday 21 October.
• Where: Devonport Wharf and North Head are great viewing spots in Auckland, but you can catch glimpses of race boats from any location that has views of the water between Auckland and Russell
• Distance: 119 nautical miles
• The sponsor: PIC Insurance Brokers
• The event ……coastalclassic.co.nz
by Zoe Hawkins