by Warren Douglas
Auckland Mayor John Banks announced Tuesday the Auckland Festival of Sail – three major international regattas to be held on the Waitemata Harbour in March 2010.
The events will bring together leading professional international match racing skippers and teams and top-ranked amateurs for 23 days of quick-fire, top-level competition.
The events are:
The Omega Auckland Match Race Regatta, from March 1-6, will feature some of the biggest names in international match racing. Entry is by invitation.
The Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta, March 7 – 21, follows on from the successful Louis Vuitton Pacific Series sailed in Auckland last February. The action will take place over 14 days.
The BMW World Sailing Cup 2010 final, March 22 – 25. A leading international keel boat event for amateur sailors. New Zealand won the right to host the event by winning the 2009 world cup.
Mr Banks says the festival is a perfect opportunity to showcase Auckland and its spectacular waterfront. “Not only is this great news for Aucklanders with another festival added to the summer events calendar, it’s also great news for businesses, especially those in the hospitality, tourism and marine sectors.
“Major events are important economic drivers especially during the tough times that we are currently experiencing. Securing this festival in Auckland is another step on our road to establishing the city as a desirable international events destination and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best sailors to our shores next year.”The managing director of Emirates Team New Zealand Grant Dalton said the three regattas, combined with the Auckland International Boat Show at the Viaduct Harbour from March 10 -14, will provide three weeks of top-level action right in the city.
“When the idea of the Auckland Festival of Sail was first raised, many groups came together to really put on a show for Auckland and New Zealand.
“We have worked closely with Auckland City agencies, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Louis Vuitton, the World Sailing Teams Association and many other organisations and individuals to make it happen.
“In a few days we will be able to announce the names of the skippers who have accepted the invitation to take part in the Omega Auckland Match Race regatta.
“Emirates Team New Zealand looks forward to the top-level competition in March and thanks the sponsors, organisations and volunteers who will make it possible.”
Scott Colebrook, commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, says the Squadron is proud to be undertaking an integral role in the Auckland Festival of Sail.
“As the organizing authority of these three significant events, running back to back, we will be placing huge demands on our volunteer race and boat management personnel and resources.
“With assistance from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club we look forward to our contribution to this marvellous combination of high profile regattas featuring the world’s best yachtsmen and teams that will showcase our City of Sails to an international audience.”
The president of Omega Ltd, Stephen Urquhart, said: “There has been a strong link between sailing and timekeeping since sailors started to rely on high-precision marine chronometers for navigation. OMEGA is the only company ever to have produced a wristwatch that received marine chronometer certification and we are happy to maintain our long nautical tradition with our support of the OMEGA Auckland Match Race Regatta. The Auckland City Festival of Sail promises to be one of the highlights of the sailing year and we look forward to seeing our old friends from the world of sailing and to making new ones.”
Facts about events making up the Festival of Sail
Omega Auckland Match Race Regatta
Dates: March 2-6
Venue: Westhaven with race courses laid on the inner harbour bounded by the harbour bridge, Devonport and the CBD
Regatta format: This invitation only regatta will be raced in the world- renowned Auckland MRX match-racing fleet. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, and current world match racing champion Adam Minoprio will be competing. In coming days, invitations will go out to some of the other leading international match racers.
Race management: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland
Dates: March 9 - 21; Practice days March 7 & 8
Venue: Viaduct Harbour with race courses in the inner Waitemata Harbour.
Regatta format: Teams rotate through matched AC Class yachts in a round robin and knockout semi-finals and finals
Teams: Teams that competed at Nice - BMW ORACLE Racing (USA), TEAMORIGIN (UK), Artemis (Sweden), Synergy (Russia), Azzurra (Italy), ALL4ONE (France) and Team French Spirit have indicated that they intend to compete. Mascalzone Latino has also said it will be at Auckland
Race management: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and volunteers; international race officials and umpires
BMW World Sailing Cup final
Dates March 22 - 25
Regatta format: A mix of match and fleet racing, this event has become the leading international keel boat regatta for amateur sailors
New Zealand won the right to host the regatta by winning the 2009 world final. The New Zealand crew will meet the winners of the national competitions held in Germany, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Hong Kong.
Race management: Bucklands Beach Yacht Club and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Auckland International Boat Show
Dates: March 10 - 14
Venue: Viaduct Harbour
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Emirates Team New Zealand