There’ll be more than just wind behind sailors competing in the 2010 Solo Tasman Yacht Race.
World leading superyacht builders, Fitzroy Yachts, has agreed to sponsor the classic event which runs from their backyard in New Plymouth over 1280 nautical miles (2370 km) to Mooloolaba in Australia.
'It’s at the other end of the yachting spectrum from what we do,' Fitzroy Yachts managing director, Rodney Martin said, 'but we were looking to back an event that recognizes New Plymouth as a yachting centre and the solo Tasman race couldn’t be better.'
The race is the second longest continually held singlehanded offshore yacht race in the world and was first sailed in 1970 with advice from famous singlehanded sailor Sir Francis Chichester.
'It’s traditionally been a grass roots sort of yacht race – many entrants even build their own boats – but it typifies the Kiwi can-do attitude,' Mr Martin added.
There is no shortage of the can-do attitude at Fitzroy Yachts either. The company began building superyachts in 1997 and now works from purpose built premises on the New Plymouth foreshore. The first boat, Spirit of Fitzroy (25m) was designed by New Zealand naval architect Alan Warwick and sold to a Spanish owner. Since then another six yachts have left their building to sail the world.
Salperton, a 44m Dubois designed sloop built by Fitzroy Yachts, won the prestigious 2008 World Superyacht Award and the Showboats International Award.
The 2010 Solo Tasman Yacht Race will be the 11th race to start from New Plymouth and 15 or more yachts are expected to line up for the start on 4th April, including a contingent of very competitive Australian yachts. A feeder race from Sydney to New Plymouth is planned.
'We’re really grateful to Fitzroy Yachts for coming aboard with the race,' organizing committee chairman, Ron Scott said, 'they’re building the best superyachts in the world and they have the vision and foresight to see that the solo Tasman is a very special yacht race and well worthy of their support.'
'Taranaki Newspapers has been the race sponsor since 1970, and we’d like to thank them for that,' Mr Scott said, 'but Fitzroy Yacht’s sponsorship will usher in a whole new era or progress and popularity for the race ' www.fitzroyyachts.com www.solo-tasman.co.nz