A small change to the event rules may make a big difference to the number of boats on the start line for this years’ PIC Coastal Classic yacht race. The NZ Multihull Yacht Club (NZMYC) has announced that boats competing in our iconic contest from Auckland to Russell will not be required to carry a life raft or dinghy while racing in 2019. “We have heard feedback over a number of years that this is the biggest disincentive for boat owners to obtain the necessary Category 3 Safety Certificate for this race” says NZMYC Commodore Greer Houston. “For many boats, this is the only event they do that requires a life raft - and the process to obtain, maintain and stow it is onerous.” The yacht club has been working in consultation with Yachting New Zealand (YNZ) to find the right level of safety requirements for this race and NZMYC have agreed to run this race under the YNZ Category 3 requirements, minus the requirement for a life raft or dinghy. “The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions will make it clear that crew on boats without a life raft or dinghy shall wear lifejackets at all times unless the person in charge explicitly gives permission for them not to be worn” Greer continues. “We hope and expect that this change will enable an additional ten boats this year, or even more”. This years’ PIC Coastal Classic will start on Friday 25th October in the vicinity of Devonport Wharf on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, and organisers are confident in the sustained upward trajectory of recent years. Last year, 165 boats took to the start line in champagne sailing conditions and first to the finish line (with the biggest ever winning margin) was Team Frank Racing. 2019 will see the 37th edition of the race, New Zealand’s biggest coastal yacht race, and its long-term stability is further assured with thanks to naming sponsor, PIC Insurance Brokers, who have committed to support the event at least through until after the 2020 race. With global sailing eyes looking on to New Zealand as the Americas Cup draws near, the race is expected to see world class competitors and weekend warriors continuing to come out of the woodwork.