The shipwrecked Rena continues to heap misery on Bay of Plenty boaties with the popular Auckland to Tauranga Yacht Race cancelled today due to safety fears.
Organised by the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club, the annual easter coastal race was due to take the gun on Friday. But debris from the Rena and a forecast for continuing south-easterly winds means wreckage is likely to be scattered through the race course area.
The writing was on the wall earlier today when race favourties TeamVodafoneSailing wihdrew from the International Paints-sponsored race with Simon Hull, skipper of the big red Orma 60 trimaran, citing safety concerns.
The Rena uncertainty and a forecast for continued strong easterly quarter gales and heavy seas forced organisers hands.
Said race chairman Ross Sheerin: "The race organising committee has been monitoring Rena developments throughout our planning. Unfortunately the events of the last few days equate to our worst case scenario in terms of holding the race.
"We have been in constant contact with Maritime NZ and the Tauranga Harbormaster, and have evaluated their input. Regretfully, and in respect for participant's safety, the only prudent option at this stage is to cancel this year's race."
Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club commodore Wayne Eaton added: "Our sailing season this year has been very challenging as a result of the Rena disaster. We have had several events affected throughout the summer. Like everyone, we look forward to when things return to normal, but until then, we will continue to be sensible in our decisions."
The Auckland to Tauranga Race was first sailed in 1921 and is TYPBC's premier annual event for coastal racers. The race attracts boats from throughout the North Island who come to Tauranga for the holiday weekend.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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