It’s all relatively quiet at the moment but in 12 months’ time the world’s best skiff and catamaran sailors will be buzzing around the waters off the Royal Akarana Yacht Club for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in partnership with Hyundai New Zealand.
More than 400 sailors are expected to descend on Auckland for the world championships at Akarana from November 29-December 8, including the likes of four-time world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and former world champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech.
Planning is well under way for such a major international event, which will be an Olympic qualifier for countries who have not already secured a spot for the 2020 Olympics. It’s also likely to be used by many countries as a selection regatta for the Tokyo Games.
Akarana’s new purpose-built 3000m2 Hyundai Marine Sports Centre is due to open soon and will provide a world-class facility for an event of this stature.
“With a year to go, we are delighted to be working with the Royal Akarana Yacht Club and other stakeholders,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “Planning is well under way.
“The club have embraced what will be the pinnacle event for them for the year and it will be a wonderful way to showcase their new club. They’ve done a wonderful job to bring a facility like this to Auckland’s waterfront.”
The notice of race is expected to be published soon, with entries opening soon after. February’s Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, which will also be hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, will provide a perfect opportunity for courses to be tested and volunteers to get a taste of what they can expect at the world championships.
Peter Dawson, who led the event team for the 2016 Aon youth sailing world championships at Torbay, has been appointed event director and will be intent on a smooth delivery of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships.
There will be a number of logistical challenges, most notably moving boats in and out of the venue, but Dawson said everything was on track.
"The facilities at the new club at Akarana are second to none," he said. "We have the most amazing venue to host the visitors, including a brand new building, a substantial launching ramp for the competitors and a boatpark to house the 200 boats and 100 coach boats we expect.
"Early days are being spent talking with potential sponsors and broadcasters as we have some real commercial aspirations around this regatta. The fact that these world championships are just a year in advance of the America's Cup and will feature some of the same sailors allows our regatta to be the perfect test bed for technology. Our courses will also be run in similar locations to those already identified by America's Cup organisers. The City of Sails will be alive with activity in November and December next year."
Keep an eye on the Yachting New Zealand website for further updates, including the notice of race and entry form.