Sailors from around the world will test their skills in Tasman Bay after the Nelson Yacht Club secured the right to host next year's Flying Dutchman world sailing championships.
It will be just the third time the 62-year-old regatta has been held in New Zealand, and the first time it has come to the Nelson Tasman region.
The regatta will run from February 16-21 and follows the New Zealand championships.
Developed in the Netherlands in the 1950s, the Flying Dutchman is a 6m high-performance monohulled racing dinghy, sailed by a crew of two. It is considered one of the fastest racing dinghies in the world.
Regatta chairman John MacDuff said he was thrilled the event was coming to the Nelson region, with the Nelson Yacht Club having worked on the hosting plan for the past two years.
"The international Flying Dutchman class association likes the hosting to alternate between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres," MacDuff said.
"There were plenty of clubs in Australia, the US, South America or South Africa who could have potentially hosted next year's event. We are rapt to have it based at the Nelson Yacht Club."
2019 Flying Dutchman world sailing championships race manager David Gibb said it was the first world sailing championship of any type to be held in Nelson.
"We've got one of the biggest (Flying Dutchman) fleets in New Zealand here, and the waters here are just so neat to run it on. If we get our normal sea breezes and weather it's an awesome place to hold a regatta."
Gibb is currently third with fellow sailor Nick McBride in New Zealand's Flying Dutchman rankings.
"The Flying Dutchman has the ability to plane upwind making it fast, so is fun to sail while also being challenging," Gibb said. "We have the perfect conditions for Flying Dutchman, especially in February with our warm northerlies of 12 to 16 knots."
Gibb said most of the competitors would come from Europe, with the Germans, Italians and Dutch all having strong teams.
Long-time yachting commentator Martin Tasker, who is the MC for the event, said it was his first involvement with a Flying Dutchman event.
"We are expecting around 46 teams to compete, including about 10 or 11 New Zealand teams. Seeing so many Flying Dutchman out in Tasman Bay will be spectacular."
During the regatta there will be nine races, with races lasting about 50 minutes.
The competition uses the low point scoring system, where each boat gets a point as they cross the line, starting with the winner getting one. The boat with the lowest score after nine races wins.
The race route in Tasman Bay will be past the tideline of Rabbit Island, beyond Fairway Beacon.
The first Flying Dutchmen world championship regatta was held in 1956, while from 1960 to 1992 the class was included in the Olympic Games.
- Nelson Mail