“Come for the racing, stay for the cruising.”
That’s the message being sent to international sailors by the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta in New Zealand.
Bay of Islands Sailing Week is NZ’s biggest keelboat regatta, and one of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier sailing events. It boasts a unique combination of top class yacht racing, and one of the most spectacular sailing destinations in the world.
While international entrants have featured at the event in the past, organisers want to see more overseas boats join in, and stay on to cruise the Bay of Islands.
Committee Chair, Manuela Gmuer-Hornell, says: “I’d like to see more international entries, which I think we can achieve. All the international entries we’ve had so far have loved it.”
Manuela is no stranger to the international sailing scene, having just returned from Bermuda where she worked on the Americas Cup event. But she also believes there’s no place like home.
“Where else can you go and have this?” she says about the Bay of Islands. “I’ve been to so many places now and we come back every time and say: it’s not like the Bay.”
Australian Bruce Mackay entered his boat Wasabi in last year’s event, and was surprised by the standard of racing. “The boats up here, there are some genuinely fast boats,” he said. “We didn’t realise – the first day we were like ‘where did everybody go?!’”
Bruce was also impressed with the experience of sailing in the Bay of Islands, saying: “We’ve been blown away by how nice the sailing is here. The Bay of Islands is such a great place, I would rate it better than the Whitsundays.”
Bay of Islands Sailing Week takes place from 23 to 26 January, 2018, when good sailing conditions, with fine weather and sea breezes, can generally be expected. The newly extended Bay of Islands Marina now boasts an additional 160 berths, and the cruising grounds of the Bay of Islands offer a wealth of scenic anchorages and shelter from any wind direction.
“If you’re thinking of bringing your boat to New Zealand for the regatta, we’d love to welcome you,” says Manuela. “Just get in touch and we’ll do whatever we can to make it easier for you.”