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Record fifty fleet fires up

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 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 predicts that with a light to moderate South-Westerly which is likely, the TP52s will finish between 8pm and 10pm on Friday night. 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.

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