Organisers of the popular Lawson's Dry Hills New Year Regatta are predicting big things in 2014 with the event being staged a week earlier than in previous years, offering a chance for boaties who are holidaying in the Sounds to compete.
The Waikawa Boating Club, which runs the event, expects more than 30 yachts will be on the water when racing begins today. Short-form round-the-marker races provide thrilling viewing while longer round-the-harbour races will take the yachts and their crews to the outer Sounds and back.
The faster boats will compete in division one and two, on the shorter courses. Division three involves white-sails-only racing, meaning no spinnakers and gennakers. They sail on the longer courses, along with the division-four craft.
Yachts to watch in division one are Jive Talkin', sailed by Dave Anderson from Lyttelton, Testarossa sailed by Grant Reid of Wellington, and local hopefuls Oldsmobile (Aaron Blackmore) and Slingshot, with Waikawa vice-commodore Clive Ballett aboard.
The best place to view the racing is at Karaka Point. Up for grabs are cash prizes to the value of $1500 and plenty of the sponsor's wine.
There's plenty of action off the water as well. For the first time, partners and supporters not racing are invited to enjoy some of Marlborough's top holiday attractions - including a wine tour and a day at Lochmara Lodge in the Sounds. But the heart of the weekend regatta will be the clubhouse. Here, returning skippers and crews will join Waikawa locals every evening through to Sunday's prizegiving party.
Non-club members can also enjoy the hospitality by signing in at the door. Racing is scheduled to begin at 10.30am on all three days.
- The Marlborough Express