More than 20 yachts are expected to race to Denarau in May in an exciting continuation of New Zealand-Fiji ocean sailing.
Some of the fastest yachts in New Zealand will vie for Auckland-Denarau line honours and the President’s Cup.
They include such famous racers as G3, Ran Tan and Wired.
An entry from the Royal Suva Yacht Club will also hopefully take part and fly the Fiji flag.
The race will receive worldwide yachting media coverage and will be a fantastic marketing boost for the yachting tourism industry in Fiji.
The famous Royal Akarana Yacht Club of Auckland is staging it, with support from the new Denarau Yacht Club in association with the Port Denarau Marina.
Royal Akarana has been conducting off shore ocean races since 1895 and this race is the premier long distance Pacific Ocean race from New Zealand. The Auckland to Suva race was first run in 1956 and has been a feature of the New Zealand ocean racing calendar.
Royal Akarana expects that the final entries will be well above the current estimate when entries close on April 30.
The line honours winner (the first yacht to cross the line) will be awarded the President’s Cup, a trophy that has been competed for over a number of years in Fiji.
The race will start in Auckland on 19 May when the Corinthian class leaves Auckland. The cruising racers in this class are slower than the outright racing yachts and will take longer to complete the race.
So the race start has been staggered so that competitors finish in Fiji in a tight pattern.
On 22 May the racing yachts leave Auckland.
One of these is expected to be the line honours winner, arriving some four days later if weather conditions are right for a fast race.
People in Fiji can follow the progress of the race using an innovative real time tracking system that can be accessed through the internet.
From 2 May until Saturday 29 May a number of events have been arranged by the Denarau Yacht Club.
For the first time in Fiji all the fleet will be moored on the one pontoon. This is at the Denarau marina facilities and will provide a spectacular sight for visitors.
On the evening of 30 May a prizegiving will be held at the Denarau Yacht Club to celebrate the event.
A 30 minute documentary will be made of the event. It will be shown worldwide with an expected audience of over 400 million viewers.
The Fiji Sun has been named the official newspaper for the race.
SUN FIJI SPORTSDESK