Aucklanders will be in for a treat on Friday morning when more than 150 yachts entered in the PIC Coastal Classic gather off North Head for a colourful mass spinnaker start.
For lovers of yachting the forecast south-westerly breezes will mean a show that can be viewed from any location where you can view the harbour between Devonport Wharf and Orakei Wharf. North Head is traditionally a popular viewing location.
The fleet gets off between 930am and 1000am and showcases the full range of the New Zealand race fleet – from the smallest entrant which is a 7.8m keeler called Floydy Boy up to the massive 21m MOD70 trimaran Beau Geste, arrived in the country recently specifically to challenge the record for this race.
The PIC Coastal Classic is in its 35th year and is 119 nautical miles long. That means for the front runners they can finish in around five hours to beat the current record – although that is unlikely given the forecast this year – with others spending the night and most of the next day at sea.
According to wind prediction service PredictWind.com, this year the first boats probably won't arrive in Russell until Friday night. Of course, in yachting, anything can happen, and that can only be confirmed on the day as things play out.
The PIC Coastal Classic starts on the morning of Friday 20 October. Sponsored by PIC Insurance Brokers for five years, it is New Zealand’s biggest yacht race and one of the biggest of its type in the world. The race starts off Devonport Wharf in Auckland and finishes off Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands. Supporting sponsors are 36° Brokers, B&G, Zhik, Railblaza, Doyle Stratis, Yachting NZ and Mount Gay Rum, creating a family of sponsors that help deliver this great race each year since 1984.