Govt funding expected for yacht race

The Government is expected to this afternoon announce it will invest $440,000 in the inaugural Auckland to Bluff yacht race in February 2014.

The race, called A2B, aims to become New Zealand's premier national boat race, attracting international participants including maxi yachts, with festivals being planned at the start line in Auckland and finish line in Bluff.

Organisers are hoping Northern hemisphere and Australian competitors in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which is run a month earlier, will then travel to New Zealand to compete in the Auckland to Bluff race.

The yachts will start in Auckland and head north before sailing around the tip of the North Island and heading down the west cost and around the bottom of the South Island before finishing out from Bluff.

The leading boats are expected to take a week to finish the event.

It is understood a mooring plan is being developed at Bluff to host the competing yachts after they finish, while community leaders in the port town are believed to be looking at events to hold when the yachts arrive.

Discussions about the funding of the moorings is understood to be ongoing.

Economic development Minister Steven Joyce is expected to make the funding announcement.

The Southland Times