With entries closing in a matter of days on the 2023 PIC Coastal Classic, 100 boats and crews have already committed to the race and more are flowing in every day.
“The fleet is looking good,” says New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club Spokesperson Adrian Percival. “We are welcoming boats of all sizes and shapes, from all around the North Island. And with El Nino weather patterns in place there is a better than normal chance of fast downwind conditions.”
The PIC Coastal Classic is the biggest coastal yacht race in New Zealand, and one of the biggest in the world. It started life 41 years ago as a drag race between Auckland and Russell for just a few boats, and over the years attracted a bigger and more diverse fleet, ranging from grand prix racers to smaller family cruisers.
The race starts off Devonport Wharf in Auckland on the morning of Friday 20 October and finishes off Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands.
The sail up the coast is spectacular for the fleet, but wind and conditions can be changeable which means that fortunes can change quickly.
While in 2019, the giant trimaran Beau Geste completed the course in five hours, the smallest boats can take 24 hours or longer to finish.
“The big question on our minds as the day gets close is whether a multihull or a monohull will take overall victory. In the last 14 years only two monohulls have taken the honours, and last year’s winner V5 is entered and will be back this year.”
Organised by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, it is a race designed for speed: except for at the beginning and the end of the race, there are few opportunities to use tactics to overtake, and success can often depend on getting a good tactical start.
As well as welcoming back long term supporter PIC Insurance Brokers, the Coastal Classic is supported by some of New Zealand’s pre-eminent marine brands: B&G, PredictWind.com, 36° Brokers. Line 7 andDoyle Sails.
For those watching the race start from ashore, prime vantage points are Devonport Wharf, North Head, Orakei Wharf and the race website, www.coastalclassic.co.nz which will be updated regularly with photos, commentary and radio positions throughout the race.