by Zoe Hawkins
80 boats crewed by about 400 sailors will participate in Auckland’s premier regatta this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, under skies that look to be clear and welcoming.
2012 Auckland Regatta - Day 2
The forecasters are offering up light breezes for all three days of racing for the Auckland Regatta, mostly coming from the East and NorthEast, which can be frustrating for some, but a great opportunity for others.
For all divisions, but particularly those with a Championship title to sail for, racing will require absolute concentration and mindfulness of tidal and wind patterns.
For several years TeamVodafoneSailing has enjoyed massive domination over the multihull fleet, almost guaranteed victory in every race it enters.
However the new boats on the blocks, including a 10m foiling cat called Foiled, designed by Morrelli & Melvin similar to the SL33s used by Emirates Team New Zealand, will enjoy the light conditions expected this weekend.
Day 3 of the BMW Auckland Regatta
Foiled, owned by Dave Ridley, is equipped with crew racks, but is reputedly lighter than the Team New Zealand versions, with the same size sail plan.
Another new cat to push the limits - the bright orange Ninja - will also sport a very high calibre crew, led by Rodney Keenan, and face up against both Charleston and XL. All of these swift and lightly built boats have excellent potential in the predicted conditions.
There are also ten 8.5m Multihulls doing battle for their own championship event.
The Auckland Regatta is also host to the Pacific Keelboat Challenge, which includes entries from Noumea and Australia, the National Championships for the Farr 1020 class, and the Elliott 5.9 class. The Elliotts are celebrating their 30th anniversary.
There are strong contenders across the Keelboat divisions, including a good showing by Young 88s and Ross 930s, and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Elliott 7 fleet.
The 2013 Auckland Regatta is jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. The three days of racing commences on Friday 22 March, includes a scenic passage race around the islands of the inner Hauraki Gulf, and social activities include the much anticipated Steinlager Beach Party on Motuihe Island, as well as a prizegiving at the RNZYS.
Sponsors and supporters are PIC Marine Insurance, Mount Gay Rum, Yachting New Zealand, Steinlager, Sealegs, Safety at Sea, Doyle Sails, Burnsco and Predictwind.com.