Monday, 27 September 2010

HSBC Premier Coastal Classic: Split Enz to defend record honour against giant red tri

Split Enz. Image copyright Zoe Hawkins.

by Zoe Hawkins

Split Enz has held the race record in the HSBC Premier Coastal Classic for 14 years, and for the second year in a row will make the journey from Noumea to New Zealand to defend its honour.

The vintage pink boat, dubbed the ‘Pink Pig’ was dogged by a rudder problem in 2009 that prevented its crew from pushing it beyond cruising pace, but is back better than ever for 2010.

And it will have to be, because racing for the first time ever is Simon Hull’s giant Orma 60, TeamVodafoneSailing, which aims to be the first boat ever to break the six hour barrier, to beat Split Enz’s standing record for multihulls of 7 hours and 20 minutes, and to beat the overall race record set in 2009 by Alfa Romeo of 6 hours and 43 minutes.

Apart from some tweaking to the sails and strengthening work, Split Enz remains in nearly identical configuration as its 1996 record blitz.

Owner Georges Auteret says from Noumea, that he secured a shipping sponsor to help him bring the boat to New Zealand and is determined to prove the boat still has the ability to perform very well. He also enjoys the opportunity to race the boat against other top multihulls.

TeamVodafoneSailing is not the only competition for the sleek pink boat – Roger Pagani’s new fifty foot catamaran Tripe 8 is out to make a splash, as are reworked multihulls Frantic Drift (owned by Olympian Dan Slater), Dragon and Timberwolf, all sporting new America’s Cup style technologies, and twice line honours winner, Taeping.

Joining HSBC Premier, which is also sponsor of Division 1, are eight divisional sponsors, each contributing prizes to its line honours winners and handicap placegetters: Musto (Division 2), Safety at Sea (Division 3), Mt Gay Rum (Division 4), Steinlager (Division 5), Duke of Marlborough Hotel (Division 6), RAILBLAZA Ltd (Division 7), Jucy Rentals (Division 8), (IRC), and SailNZ (Classic Division).

Snitch GPS will provide real-time GPS tracking of ten members of the race fleet, and Sunday Star Times and Trade-A-Boat Magazine are official media partners to the race. will issue an official, detailed race forecast on the eve of the race.

The supermaxi Alfa Romeo broke a thirteen-year record drought when it set a new overall record last year, completing the race in 6 hours and 43 minutes, but Split Enz remains the fastest multihull to ever finish the race with a record set in 1996 of 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The HSBC Premier Coastal Classic starts from 10am on Friday 22 October off Devonport Wharf in Auckland, and finishes off Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands.

HSBC Premier Coastal Classic