Olympians, NZL Sailing Team members and top youth sailors will be among those lining up for the inaugural Bay of Islands Sprints later this month.
Entries are open in the 29er, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 15, Nacra 17 and Tornado classes for the event being hosted by the Bay of Islands Yacht Club on January 23-25. The regatta also doubles as the 49er and 49erFX North Island championships and leads nicely into next month's 49er and 49erFX national championships.
Olympic silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech will headline a 49erFX fleet that features a number of talented youngsters who are sailing the 49erFX as an introduction to the 49er class.
A strong fleet of 49er sailors will compete, including Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn, Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie along with the New Zealand-based Japanese combination of Leonard Takahashi and Ibu Koizumi.
Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson, who have earned their ticket to this year's Tokyo Olympics, will feature in the Nacra 17 class.
The Bay of Islands Sprints is the brainchild of Bay of Islands commodore Darryl Honey, who was also behind the Foil Bay of Islands Regatta which is into its third year.
"The idea behind it is to give these sailors the opportunity to come up here and race and train and then have an excuse to participate in Bay Week in the bigger boats," Honey said.
The CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week starts on January 26 and is this country's biggest multi-day keelboat regatta. It has already attracted more than 100 entries, with more expected as the regatta gets closer.
The 29er is likely to be the biggest fleet in the Bay of Islands Sprints, with Honey expecting between 15 and 20 entries for the youth class.
The Tornados are likely to be grouped with Nacra 15s and Nacra 17s, and 49ers with the 49erFX, to ensure a number of boats on the start line. The 29ers will run as a separate fleet.
Honey is offering the chance for any young sailors and their parents to go out on the club launch to watch the action.
A Banging the Corners Cup for wing foilers will also be held on the 22nd at 3.30pm which will be followed by a lamb on a spit at the club in Waitangi afterwards which all are welcome to attend.
See the Bay of Islands Yacht Club website for more information, including details on how to enter.
- Pic: Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are expected to compete at the Bay of Islands Sprints. Photo: Adam Mustill Photography.