At 10am on Friday 23 October the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club of New Zealand will start the annual HSBC Premier Coastal Classic yacht race, an event that is the biggest race of its type in New Zealand, and one of the biggest in the world.
The 119 nautical mile race was inspired by speed record attempts by powerboats dating back to the 1920s, and in 1982 a challenge was issued to all keelboat and multihull owners to join this non-stop race from Devonport Wharf in Auckland to the bar in Russell, pushing boats and crews as hard as they dared.
Twelve intrepid crews took past in the inaugural event, and, as they say, the rest is history. Today's fleets size upwards of 230 boats, and include not only the latest grand prix racers off the blocks, but also boats whose names are steeped in New Zealand's sailing history, including Split Enz, NZ Challenger, Fisher & Paykel, Antaeus, Revs, Georgia, NZL41, and future legends including X-Factor, Zana and two times line honours winner Taeping gracing the winner's stands in Russell.
Current record slots are shared by the supermaxi Konica Minolta (aka Zana) – which set a new monohull speed record in 2005, the multihull Split Enz which sailed to victory in 7 hours, 20 minutes and 51 seconds in 1996, and four other boats that set records for their size in the same year – Satellite Spy, Mumm 30, Extreme and Redken Cat.
“The HSBC Premier Coastal Classic is a prestigious and challenging event, as demonstrated last year, that is regarded as one of the world's classic yacht races. Sailing is an eminent part of the New Zealand lifestyle, and HSBC is very pleased to be able to bring this important event to the New Zealand community.” says David Griffiths, HSBC CEO.
Other sponsors of the event include Orb, Jucy Rentals, Safety at Sea, Predictwind.com, Harken, Donaghys Southern Ocean, Sail NZ, Mount Gay Rum, Steinlager, Sunday Star Times, Yamaha Motors NZ, De Walt, Dirty Dog and Trade a Boat.