Crews prepare to battle it out all day long

18:11, Dec 19 2012
Wayne Holdt
STAYING POWER: Twenty-four hour race organiser Wayne Holdt with one of the club's 420 yachts that will be in action this weekend.

Twenty-four-hour sailing returns to Port Taranaki this weekend.

It's been more than 10 years since the New Plymouth Yacht Club last held an endurance event, with seven 420 yachts on the start line on Saturday afternoon.

"The last time we held a 24-hour race was in the late 90s," race organiser Wayne Holdt said yesterday. "The race will start at 3pm on Saturday, with six sailors for each boat. There will be two on board at a time. They'll race for two hours, then rest for four hours while the others race."

The boats will race over a course in the harbour.

"The team that has the most laps over the 24 hours will have bragging rights," he said. "We've juniors racing in teams, right up to sailors in the 50s and 60s. We'll have glow sticks on the yachts at night, so don't panic if you see lights bobbing up and down in the harbour."

Holdt said the teams had been "evened" up to make racing more competitive.


"Instead of having all the good guys in one boat, we've split them up and racing should be close throughout the whole race."

It's the start of a busy time for the New Plymouth club. It hosts the Hartley nationals from January 16-19 with 25 entries.

"We should get boats from all around the North Island. The racing should be really tight. We've got 10 or 11 New Plymouth crews, with experienced Kiwi yachtsman Ross Field returning home to race with his brother Colin."

From January 21-23, there's a "live-in" sailors' camp at the yacht club.

"It's called New Plymouth Optimist Sail and is for young sailors aged from eight to 14. Last year we had 35 and I'm expecting that number again."

Then on February 16 and 17, the club holds its annual regatta.

"That should be a big one. It's run in conjunction with the Western Districts champs and I'm expecting a big fleet . . . 150 boats wouldn't be unrealistic," Holdt said.

"We're getting 90 of our boats out on the water on a good weekend. We've got about 50 juniors and 40 seniors sailing."

Taranaki Daily News