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Multi vs mono: the classic race within a race goes down to the wire

For only the second time since 2009, a monohull keelboat has won the PIC Coastal Classic.

V5, an Alan Andrews TP52, is skippered by Brian Petersen of the RNZYS and crossed the line at 23:46:23.

It was a race with many lead changes, not only between the top boats but between the types of boats: the warhorse Transpac 52s, the big high-tech multihulls, the smaller nimble 8.5 multis and the Melges 40s with their enormous sail area all took their turns in the front row and there was no clarity on who might cross the line first until the boats approached the finish line – even for those waiting on the finish boat in the dark.

Keelboats took the top six places in the PIC Coastal Classic. Following V5’s win, Sassinate, the Melges 40 owned by first time skipper Mikayla Plaw of RAYC is second on line finishing at 23:49:4.

Wired was third boat to finish. Wired is a Bakewell-White designed TP52 owned by Rob Bassett, of the RNZYS. Wired finished at 23:50:08.

Kia Kaha, Chris Hornell's Reichel Pugh TP52 from Opua Cruising Club, placed fourth. Kia Kaha is a Northland boat, sailing into home waters, which makes it very special. Kia Kaha finished at 23:50:22.

Harry Dodson's TP52 Mayhem followed five seconds later and next across the line was Steve Mair's orange Melges 40, Clockwork, representing the RNZYS. Clockwork was sixth.

Cat+ion is the first multihull to finish the 40th PIC Coastal Classic at 00:00:17 - just 14 minutes after the winner. Cat+ion is an 18.5m performance cat designed by Roger Hill and sails under the RAYC flag.

Apache - a Murray Ross design skippered by the Erie Williams of Team New Zealand fame, followed within two minutes.

Conditions were both brilliant and frustrating. The race started in an appealing 15 knot South-Westerly but that changed as the fleet approached halfway, with new wind coming from the East fighting against the Westerly breeze and creating a no-sail zone where a number of boats stopped and waited, motionless, wondering where the next puffs of wind would come from that would send them on their way north. Ultimately those that went for a straight line up the coast appeared to benefit. By midnight the Easterly had set in, providing a good ride home for the fleet as it rounded Brett and turned to the South-West.

In a positive twist for many, some of the smallest boats in the race took the top handicap prizes. The last boat, Tonnant, crossed the finish line at 1038am on Saturday. Katana, with Skipper Nigel Garland from RYC, was the first single handed boat to finish.

164 boats started the race, and at 7am on Saturday, only 20 were left on the course. The bulk of the fleet finished in the early hours of the morning and 63 boats finished within a one hour period between 420 and 520am.

The last monohull to win the race was the big NZ Ocean Racing, in 2020 – and prior to that, the supermaxi Alfa Romeo took victory – and a race record – in 2009.


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