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Rudder Cup

Classic launches to contest Rudder Cup for third time

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The Rudder Cup will be contested on Friday for just the third time in 110 years, a 108 nautical mile race from Westhaven Tower to Sail Rock and back for vintage launches.

The first race was held in 1908, with the second 100 years later in 2008. A third race will start off Westhaven Tower on Friday (7pm), with 15 launches expected to take part.

The editor of American yachting magazine Rudder donated several trophies to yacht clubs around the world in 1908 to be used for offshore racing. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron received one of two that came to New Zealand, with the Otago Yacht Club obtaining the second.

The Squadron decided to run a night race for motorboats from Auckland to Sail Rock and back, with the first race happening on December 12, 1908.

As many at 12 of the 14 entrants finished that first race, with Seabird taking line honours and Maroro first overall on handicap.

In keeping with the original 1908 race, Friday's race run by the Classic Yacht Association will be a sealed handicap race and times are not disclosed until after the race. The first launches are expected to finish around breakfast time on Saturday morning. 

The 1918 Bailey & Lowe-built 45-footer Joan won the Rudder Cup in 2008. Seabird won the veteran class, bettering her 1908 time by 90 minutes.