The youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe singlehanded, Laura Dekker, will be a star
attraction in this year's Coastal Classic race from Auckland to Russell.
The Dutch teenager, now living in New Zealand, will team up with another 16-year-old sailor,
Edwin Delaat, for a two-handed effort on Delaat's Farr 727, Crac-a-Jac.
It's only nine months since Dekker completed her circumnavigation on her ketch, Guppy, flying a
New Zealand flag.
Delaat is also a child prodigy yachtie - in 2008 he was the youngest entrant in the Coastal
Classic, crewing on Starlight Express, and the following year became the youngest skipper to
ever do the race, helming Crac-A-Jac.
Over 160 entries have been received for this year's Coastal, on October 19, which is already
ahead of last year's starting fleet. Organisers have extended the earlybird period for late entrants
in the hope of attracting 200 starters.
Jim Farmer's TP52, Georgia, has returned to New Zealand and is one of the favourites to take
out Division 1, along with past winner V5.
It will be the first Coastal Classic for two Northland boats: Ray Haslar's new Reichel Pugh 42,
Rikki, and Chris Hornell's Kia Kaha. Of the round-the-world veterans, Steinlager II - undergoing
a refit - won't make the startline in time, but the stalwart Lion New Zealand will.
Race record holder Orma60 trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing will have some competition from
sistership Titi Nui. The record for the 119 nautical mile race stands at six hours and 43 minutes.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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