Cats might fly at Bay of Islands Sailing Week

Forget pigs – it’ll be flying cats that take centre stage at the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta during the last week of January 2016. A new generation of super-fast flying catamarans is expected to launch the popular annual regatta into a new era of yacht racing.

In a competition that’s tipped to have all the thrills, spills and spectacular racing of an Americas Cup duel, two high-speed, 10-metre GC32 Class foiling catamarans will face off in a series of races over three days, as they take part in one of New Zealand’s premier yachting events.

The ultra-light carbon fibre boats need a breeze of just 7 knots (13 kilometres per hour) to enable them to start foiling – where the hulls lift entirely out of the water, allowing the vessels to effectively ‘fly’ above the water at speeds of up to 40 knots (74 kilometres per hour).

One of the vessels, Marwin, was brought in to New Zealand in December from Europe by its Swiss owner, Flavio Marazzi. Joining forces with Bay of Islands sailor and two-time Olympian Sharon Ferris-Choat, Marazzi is seeking talented young Kiwi sailors to join the team. The Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta will be the first competitive racing for Team Marwin in New Zealand.

Marwin will be facing off against a New Zealand local boat, recently brought to New Zealand by Team Vodafone Sailing owner and skipper, Simon Hull, who launched his new GC32 in Auckland on 11 November last year.

Regatta spokesman John Grant said: “It’s really exciting to have the next generation of racing yachts at Bay of Islands Sailing Week. Foiling multihulls are getting a lot of attention since the Americas Cup, so it’s great to have that attention focused on our regatta – it really helps put the Bay of Islands on the map as a world-class destination for yacht racing.”

Around 80 yachts are expected to take part in the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta, which is the biggest event of its kind in New Zealand. Among them are boats of all shapes and sizes, from 6-metre long trailered sports boats, to spectacular superyachts as big as 39 metres in length.

The Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta begins with Registration on 26 January 2016, with racing taking place over three days from 27 to 29 January.

More information about the regatta can be found at

For information about the GC32 Class, visit