Members of the SSANZ committee were so confident it would sell out they had a sweepstake but no one predicted entries to next year's inaugural Evolution Sails Northern Triangle would be gone in less than three minutes.
The Northern Triangle is the newest event on the short-handed sailing calendar and, as the name suggests, involves three legs over 510 nautical miles: Auckland to Mangonui; Mangonui to Tauranga; and Tauranga to Auckland.
A cap of 40 boats was originally set for the event which starts on February 19, 2022, but this has now been extended to 45 and race organisers are working on ways to try to increase that further.
"We are limited by the number of people we can have at the Mangonui Yacht Club but we are working through some options at the moment," race officer Scott Wilson said.
Short-handed sailing has exploded in popularity in this country in recent times and the Short-Handed Sailing Association of New Zealand (SSANZ) wanted to add another event on top of the Lewmar Triple Series, Chains Ropes & Anchors Enduro, Evolution Sails Round North Island and the Round New Zealand Race they also run.
While some might see short-handed sailing as more challenging, for others it's much simpler because they have to find only one other crew member in an era when people's spare time is at a premium. And the challenging nature of having to do everything on a boat rather than just one job also appeals.
The next Round North Island race is scheduled for 2023 and the Northern Triangle will be a qualifier for that.
"We wanted to run a race as a precursor for boats wanting to do the Round North Island but do it in safer waters," Wilson said. "They wouldn’t have to deal with the West Coast, which is a fear for anyone who has done the Round North Island or Round New Zealand.
"We could also take smaller boats and we have a couple of Young 88s and Ross 930s [for the Northern Triangle], predominantly boats you wouldn’t attack the Round North Island in.
"We knew it would sell out because we knew there were a lot of guys who wanted to do it but, under three minutes, no. We had a sweepstake going. We thought it would sell out in half an hour but not three minutes."
There are some quick boats on the entry list for the Northern Triangle, as well as some not so quick, with 11 more on the waitlist.
Entries are less restricted for the Triple Series, which starts on July 10, and boats as small as Pied Pipers can take part.
See here for more information on SSANZ and short-handed racing.
- Pic: Gale Force is among the 45 boats entered for the Evolution Sails Northern Triangle. Photo: SSANZ.