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White Island Race: 350nm race revived - starts on November 15

by Suellen Hurling/RAYC 26 Aug 2019 22:16 PDT 27 August 2019
CQS at the start of the 2016 White Island race start - she set the monohull record for the 350nm course © Richard Gladwell

The Royal Akarana Yacht Club Round White Island Race has been a favourite amongst competitive race teams since it was first introduced in the 1950’s. The iconic event starts off the traditional RAYC area of Orakei, taking the fleet to Channel Island (starboard), White Island (port), Channel Island (port), to the finish in the Orakei Wharf area when it all started.

While the race has been on hiatus since 2016 due to the introduction of the Akarana 350 and the resurgence of the Yates Cup, the RAYC Offshore Committee felt it was time to bring back the Round White Island Race, which has been scheduled for a start on Friday 15th November 2019.

“Round White Island is a classic race that takes you to one of the most amazing locations in the Bay of Plenty,” said RAYC Sailing Manager Nik Finlayson.

“Racing around an active volcano is a rather mind blowing experience, especially since she is quite active!”

“While we know there has been some unrest at White Island recently, we are definitely keeping an eye on her, but at the moment, there is no reason at all why we can’t host a race around the volcano, which is being used as major preparations for those racing in the Shorthanded Sailing Association of New Zealand’s Evolution Sails Round North Island Race which starts of the 26th February 2020,” continued Finlayson.

Mike Grant, skipper of the Ross 40 Urban Cowboy, is one of those boats who is racing in the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race and was the first to enter the 2019 edition of the Round White Island Race.

“My co-pilot Garry Jolliffe and I are using this race as a real test before we start the Round North Island Race. 320nm is a good hit out to ensure we have systems in place for the much longer legs from Mangonui to Wellington. We are really looking forward this race because we haven’t had a lot of time together in the boat, just the two of us, since I took ownership of her earlier this year,” said Grant.

“The ever increasing popularity of these sorts of races is not surprising, they are a real challenge and always a learning experience, whether if be short-handed heavy air gybing or perfecting the right time of day for happy hour. Just finishing the Evolution Sails Round North Island will be a great achievement and epic races like the RAYC White Island race and the SSANZ Triple Series are definitely part of this awesome journey.”

While Urban Cowboy was the first to enter the Round White Island Race, there are others who have jumped on board the entry list committing to the race. Entries are open to monohulls over 8m and multihulls over 8.5m and who comply with Category 3+.

The current records for Round White Island sit with CQS / Big Boat Racing for the monohull division, and Frank Racing (formally Team Vodafone Sailing) for the multihulls.

Multihull Frank Racing (formally Team Vodafone Sailing) – 2012 1 day 3 hours 7 minutes 58 seconds

Monohull CQS / Big Boat Racing – 2016 1 day 3 hours 59 minutes 44 seconds

To enter rayc.co.nz/whiteisland

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