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Solo Tasman Race

23 Jun 2008

June 23, 2008.


Solo Tasman Race Fleet Restricted


Organisers of the 2010 Solo Tasman Yacht Race, from New Plymouth to Mooloolaba, may be forced to limit the number of entrants, organizing committee chairman, Ron Scott said.


"There are plans afoot to build a 110 boat marina at Port Taranaki," he explained, " but meanwhile the lack of small vessel facilities at the port will force us to limit the number of boats in the race to 15."


Fifteen yachts contested the 2007 race, over the 1280 nautical mile course across the Tasman, which was the 10th time the race has been run and several thousand people turned out on the New Plymouth foreshore to watch them start.


Many of those sailors have already entered for the next race which is scheduled to start on April 8th, 2010.


"Other entries are also starting to come in," Mr Scott said, "we've already had two from across the Tasman which is particularly gratifying given the race?s great history with Australian sailors."


Last years event included a two handed division; for the first time in the 38 year history of the race, but only three of the fleet raced with two people aboard and the committee had discussed dropping that division. "A lot of the singlehanded guys in the last race felt that the two handed division diluted an otherwise great race , and it is the Solo Tasman Yacht race after all, " Mr Scott said.


"In the future, when we have a decent sheltered marina in Port Taranaki, I can envisage fleets of 20, 40 or even 40 boats lining up to start the race. We had over 20 entrants last year , but six withdrew for various reasons."


The Solo Tasman Yacht Race is the second oldest singlehanded offshore race in the world , after the trans Atlantic event, and is the only yacht race of it's kind in the Southern Hermisphere.


Many famous offshore sailors from New Zealand and Australia, have competed in the race including Kay Cottee, Andrew Fagan and Chris Sayer. The current record holder, Ian Johnston, who completed the course in 6d 8h sailing Bullfrog Sunblock during the 1986 race, has indicated that he's looking for a suitable yacht for the 2010 event.


Former stock car racing champion, Blondie Chamberlain, who withdrew from last years race after his ferro cement cutter Gypsy Rose was stalled by light winds, later lost the boat in a shipwreck off the Northland coast but has bought a new boat and is gearing up to be on the starting grid in 2010.






"The 2007 race generated a lot of media coverage, here and in Australia , we've already been approached by a well known television production company who want to make a documentary about someone preparing their boat and sailing the race," he said.


Satellite tracking technology would enable people to follow race progress and the Sunshine Coast Yacht Club has promised a warm and festive welcome to Mooloolaba.


"It looks like being another great race," Mr Scott said.