The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is preparing its sailors, as overseas navy forces are invited to take part in the annual Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta, early next year.
Two units of 12 navy personnel – one from the United Kingdom, and one from Australia – will arrive in New Zealand in January 2016. They are expected to sail two of the RNZN's Chico 40 training yachts, from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, to compete against the RNZN in the popular regatta.
But despite the threat of an “overseas attack”, RNZN Adventure Training Centre Manager Phil Bishop is upbeat about his sailors taking part in the annual yachting event. Bishop said: “We've raced against the Royal Navy before in 2004 when our sailors won, and again in 2008 when they got the better of us. With our 75th Anniversary taking place in 2016, it seemed a fitting year for a rematch.”
But while competition on the water may be fierce, it's certain that off the water, the traditional camaraderie of the close allies will prevail.
“There are strong traditional links between the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy the Royal New Zealand Navy so we're looking forward to marking our 75th Anniversary with a bit of friendly rivalry and competition”, said Bishop. “It's also a great opportunity for us to the practice the seamanship and boating skills, which every sailor in the RNZN knows the importance of.”
Civilians are warned to be on high alert between 27th and 29th January 2016, and ensure they come along to the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta to see some colourful racing and exciting competition between the three nations.