The North Shore’s beloved OKI 24-Hour Race begins this Saturday 8 January at 2pm.
Olympic-hopefuls will be sailing through the night in an iconic event with past winners including Dean Barker and Russell Coutts.
'The OKI 24-hr sailing event is New Zealand’s toughest dinghy race and this year we have teams from all over the world competing – Koreans, Dutch and Omanis,' says Murrays Bay Sailing Club Commodore, David Gunn. 'We have perfect laser sailing conditions in Auckland and these teams visit over the summer to train.'
The OKI 24-Hour Race is a competition for laser sailors held on Lake Pupuke and run by Murrays Bay Sailing Club, a club with a rich history of sailors recognised through national championships, America’s Cup regattas and the Olympics.
'Last year’s event saw an exciting finish with the winning boats just 30-seconds apart – second place went to a youth team,' says Gunn. 'The start of the race was almost as exciting with the sailors in a Le Mans-style run down the hill and onto the boats.'
There’s a major prize of $2,000 available for the sailor/s who do the most laps in the 24-hour timeframe. The best solo sailor will also win $1,000 and have a chance to win the major prize as well.
'The solo sailors race through the night so it’s hard to keep concentration up for that long, but they don’t need to swap sailors every two hours so have a chance to win the big prize as well as the solo prize,' explains Gunn.
Last year’s solo champion, James Sandall, will be defending his title and there’s also competition from Andy Maloney and Nicholas Heiner (who came first and second in the NZ Nationals a few weeks ago), Thomas Saunders (who is up for Olympic selection), Phil Robinson, Brad Marsh and Andrew McKenzie.
From howling 30-knot southerlies to 2 knots of shifting breeze in the middle of the night and everything in between, the OKI 24-Hour Race is a test of man and boat against the elements.
6-hr Race: (7.30am – 1.30pm)
24-hour Race: (2pm Saturday – 2pm Sunday)
The events are fundraisers for Murray’s Bay Sailing Club to develop youth sailing and local business Comworth Technologies, distributor for OKI printers, has been sponsoring the race since 1989.
www.murraysbay.org / www.comworth.co.nz
by Danielle Wright
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8:37 PM Wed 5 Feb 2014GMT
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