Expert insights for the 2019 race

A standing-room-only crowd turned up for Monday night’s PIC Coastal Classic Race Clinic to hear from experts in coastal sailing, including PredictWind’s Nick Olson, The WaterShed’s Dan Slater, and long-standing NZ Multihull Yacht Club member Matthew Flynn.


Based on the forecast for this friday's start, here are a couple of points you might want to consider in your strategy:

  • The most important decision you’ll need to make is whether to race or not – is your boat and crew are prepared, capable and safe to sail? Even if you don’t get to the finish line fast – it’s a beautiful coastline to see Cape Brett at sunrise, or to drift into Russell at the quiet of early morning… getting there safely is what matters most.

  • It will be a crowded start line with 175 boats in the starting area, forecasted to be a south westerly in the teens so you’ll be going fast, in close proximity, and all wanting to Gybe around the same time. Picking the right time to gybe will be crucial to a good start.

  • North head can be awfully fickle, but you don’t need to worry about any current at the start this year, we've timed it right for low tide. Purely sail to the wind and what you see, and where other boats are that might affect your wind.

  • If you’ve got a boat that plains, consider taking Kawau a bit wider. There’s nothing to say you need to hug it, because the breeze is likely to go forward after that.

  • Sail what is the fastest angle for your boat.

  • As you cross bream bay that’s typically the windiest part, you’ll want to think about the sea state, that can slow a boat down or speed it up.

  • You don’t want to be under Whangarei heads under any circumstance. There’s a “truck load” of current over there and no matter how you look at it, it’s a bad place to be.

  • If you decide to do the rhumb line, you’re going to need to think about the cliffs off the Northland coast before going into the bay. It’s easy to get sucked in there and stuck in holes.

  • If you’re in a slower boat, consider coming into The Brett at a hotter angle with some pace as it will lighten up at night.

  • If you’re in a faster boat, pick your preferred sea state (its flatter close to shore), but typically consistent breeze gives you better speed.

  • Often there’s better breeze on the Kerikeri side of the bay in the evening, but look at the actual models and wind readings to see what the wind is doing before you get into the bay

  • Have heaps of fun, take pictures, write down the good stories and dont forget to share them with #piccoastalclassic



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