He didn’t want to jinx the race by talking to us, but eventually Steve Dunlop, owner of the Open 8.5 multihull Attitude, relented.
There are good reasons for his reluctance: last year the small and nimble catamaran led the fleet for a few hours from the Hen and Chickens to just past Poor Knights.
“We couldn’t believe our luck but unfortunately the wind dropped out for us and filled in from the south, next thing there was an accordion effect and everyone behind us caught up by Cape Brett,” he explains.
In 2009 Attitude, under previous owners, set a race record for the Open 8.5 class, of 8 hours, 1 minute and 6 seconds. This was the same year that the majestic super maxi Alfa Romeo cruised in under 7 hours, its record still standing today for monohulls.
But all Steve aimed to do in 2022 was to finish the race before Lucifer – the trimaran owned by Ed Ayre and Bill Barry which had beaten Attitude in both the Gold Cup races that season.
The crew hard at work in the 2022 PIC Coastal Classic. Steve pictured on the left. Photos supplied
“The PIC Coastal Classic is our focus for this boat – everything else is prep for the Coastal,” says Steve, who bought Attitude, his second boat, specifically for this race.
“Little 8.5 catamarans are good in the Coastal because they need protected waters. It’s a huge amount of fun owning one.”
He says that the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club has made the step from owning a more conservative style keelboat into a fast multihull an easy one. “They are a great crew of people, hugely welcome and very helpful.”
“Once you’ve tried racing one of these little cats you couldn’t go back to a keelboat.”
This year Steve will be joined by Matt Woodley and Vaughan Hayton for the race, and possibly a fourth depending on the conditions. Let’s hope they get a good strong breeze from the south for a nice fast race.