The 2019 edition of NZ’s biggest multi-day keelboat regatta will see the return of several boats that have previously sailed in the event, but not for a number of years.
The entry list for the CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week continues to grow, with 63 currently down to compete in the regatta which runs from January 22-25. Good numbers in most divisions indicate there will be competitive racing across the fleets.
Among the boats making a return to the event is Formula One, which has just been re-launched after an extensive 16-month refit by owner Carl Smith.
Now based in Tauranga, the Australian-built 16m Nelson/Castro design was for years a staple of the Auckland racing scene, and sailed in Bay of Islands Sailing Week under her previous owner, Harry Dodson, who now owns TP52 Mayhem.
Carl Smith says this will be his first Bay of Islands Sailing Week, and in fact his first time on the water in the Bay of Islands. Despite this, Formula One will race in A division, along with an intensely-competitive fleet of more modern TP52s and Smith has realistic expectations.
“We know we’re tail end Charlie” he said. “We’re a 30-year-old boat, and we’re a bunch of amateurs. But we’re coming up to learn about our boat off the top guys, and just have an enjoyable week and enjoy our sailing. We might surprise people, though. If it’s very light, we could have a chance of mixing it up, but it depends on the breeze.”
The Royal New Zealand Navy will also return to CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week in 2019, after taking a leave of absence last year to celebrate their 75th anniversary. The Navy fleet will comprise two Chico 40 sail training vessels, Mako II and Paea II, which will compete in the island racing C division.
Navy adventure training centre manager Phil Bishop says that, while the Chico 40s may be bigger than many boats in their division, they need a reasonable breeze to be competitive.
“We are big and heavy so 20 knots on the nose to the ninepin would be quite enjoyable for us,” Bishop said.
Chief petty officer Hamish Ivey says they will be sailing with smaller crews than they have in previous years, with only six people per boat, rather than eight or nine as they've had in the past.
"There will be more for everyone to get their hands on," he said. "I suspect we will have everyone doing all the jobs, from bow right back to helm, and changing each day, leg, tack or gybe.
"I'm looking forward to getting up north again. We have always enjoyed coming up and flying the big kites around the bay."
More than 100 entries are expected for CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week 2019, and entries will be accepted up to registration on January 22. However, entries received by December 31 will avoid the $75 late entry fee, and will also go in the draw to win a Gill soft shell jacket.
More information and online entry form can be found at www.bayofislandssailingweek.org.nz.