For the first time in its sixteen year history, Sail Auckland will be hosted at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club. More than two hundred competitors from thirteen countries begin racing on the Waitemata Harbour on 4 February and runs until 7 February in the Olympic, Paralympic and other invited classes.
Staged on four courses in the surrounds of Bean Rock, Motukorea Channel and Mechanics Bay, twelve classes will square off at New Zealand's premier ISAF Grade 1 event, including two national championships (Flying Fifteen and Access Liberty). Competing Classes include the RS:X windsurfers, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 420, 470, 29er, 49er, Flying Fifteen, SKUD 18, Access Liberty, Access 303 & 2.4mR.
"This is the first time our club has run an ISAF Grade 1 Olympic and Paralympic class event,"
said Royal Akarana Yacht Club's Commodore Matthew Woodley. "We are thrilled to be involved in Sail Auckland this year and look forward to hosting a fantastic regatta."
New Zealand's top sailors including most of the NZL Sailing Team, and those that have been selected for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be racing at this event. This is a rare opportunity for New Zealand youth to be sailing amongst their Olympic heroes, and for all of the NZL Sailing Team to be racing on home waters.
Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders are looking forward to competing against some locals in the Mens' 470 class before they head overseas to prepare for the Olympic Games. "I think it will be really good to go racing with the boats from around here, there will be fourteen boats which is a bigger fleet for Sail Auckland again,"
The pair of 21 year olds hope to keep up with NZ's Women's 470 Olympic representatives Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. Jason continued, "Jo and Polly are going to be competitive. It will be a good benchmark for us to race against them again. The juniors will be pretty race ready too after just finishing the 470 Junior Worlds at Takapuna, there should be good competition."
This year promises exciting racing with New Zealand's best and international competition in most of the Olympic and Paralympic classes, and the event is now reaching further into the development classes such as the 420, 29er, Access Liberty and Flying fifteen.
Sail Auckland has been New Zealand's premier Olympic class event for more that fifteen years, and was granted ISAF Grade 1 status six years ago. It was originally formed to foster and promote Olympic Class sailing within NZ, and to provide opportunity for international competition without the expense of travel.
The Royal Akarana Yacht Club has stepped up to the challenge of running this event for the first time in 2012. The club is accustomed to running trailer yacht and keelboat and offshore events such as the Nexus Cup inshore series, Platu 25 fleet racing, and the Sail Noumea Yacht Race. This is relatively unchartered waters for the club to host such a large scale Olympic class regatta, and they are well prepared with assistance from other local clubs such as last year's host Takapuna Boating Club and Kohimarma Yacht Club who created and ran the event for nearly fifteen years.
The Royal Akarana Yacht Club is also preparing to host the 2012 New Zealand Open Keelboat Championships in early March.
Getting in behind Sail Auckland 2012 is a team of dedicated sponsors including Te Waihou Reserve New Zealand Spring Water and the Lion Foundation.
Daily results can be found online the event website www.sailauckland.org.nz