An estimated 150 sailing boats and their crew are getting ready to race from Auckland to Russell at Labour Weekend, in the annual PIC Insurance Brokers Coastal Classic.
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.
This year you can expect to see Frank Sailing - which is the Orma 60 trimaran formerly called TeamVodafone
back on the startline to defend the race record it set in 2014 of 5 hours, 13 minutes and 21 seconds. Frank is freshly returned to New Zealand after setting a new record for sailing around the French territory of New Caledonia in 2 days and 33 minutes.
Sailing alongside Frank Sailing will be the likes of the Beale 33 Leading Light and her crew - a team of youth from the Tuakau Sea Scouts who are lining up for their first serious coastal race, and the pocket rocket Spank (pictured), inspired by Mini Transats and built in the Kerikeri home of owner Mark Beauchamp.
This means the Coastal is as much, or even more, about the ‘corinthian’ fleet as it is about the pace setters and the record setters. For every boat that claims victory sailing into Russell just hours after the start, there are dozens who won’t make landfall in Russell before daylight, and who can expect to sail well into Friday night, even into Saturday for the smallest boats, making the race a test of endurance and patience.
“The Coastal Classic is as much about the challenge of getting a boat race ready, and working with your crew to make it through whatever is handed to you, safely to the finish,” says race director Matthew Flynn.
This year for the first time the race has a single handed division, and short handed sailing is becoming more and more popular in New Zealand as skippers seek to push themselves to achieve new challenges.
There are 16 divisions in total and with a great range of boats on the startline, 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