Entry list nears 100 with great sailing conditions predicted

The event Peter Montgomery called “NZ’s best big boat regatta” kicks off today, Tuesday 23 January, with registration and a safety briefing at the Bay of Islands Sailing Week Regatta HQ in Opua this afternoon. With just a few hours remaining until entries close, the entry list continues to swell with latecomers, as great sailing conditions are predicted for the three days of racing from Wednesday to Friday.

“We’re currently sitting at 94 entries, and we hope to pick up a few more by the end of registration at 5pm when entries close,” says regatta Chair and Principal Race Officer Ian Clouston. “It would be nice to get over the 100 mark, and with this forecast there’s a good chance we will.”

Conditions at the regatta are often very light, as high pressure systems tend to dominate the weather at this time of year. Regular competitors are used to waiting long spells for the sea breeze to fill in before racing can get underway. However last year’s regatta was called off a day early in unseasonably bad weather. Organisers say they don’t expect a repeat of that this year though, and conditions are expected to be perfect for sailing, with good breeze throughout the day on at least two of the race days.

“In the past we’ve often had to wait for a sea breeze to kick in from late morning, but the forecast at the moment is showing 10 to 15 knots southerly in the mornings on Wednesday and Thursday, and maybe a bit less on Friday as a high moves over,” Ian says.

Entrants in this year’s regatta hail from around the North Island, with many boats coming from Auckland, as well as Tauranga, Napier and Wellington. The regatta is also well supported by local boats, which usually represent at least a third of the entries each year.

The event is almost entirely run by volunteers, and a team of over 60 people commit their time on the water and on shore to make the event happen each year. Financial support is provided by the event’s sponsors – North Sails, Explore Bay of Islands, Bay of Islands Marina, Gurit, Mount Gay Rum and Yachting New Zealand. Funding is also received from Pub Charity and Grassroots Trust, along with many donations in kind from local businesses.

All you need to know about Bay of Islands Sailing Week 2024

What’s Happening?

Three days of competitive and fun racing for yachts of all shapes and sizes, with plus evening entertainment. This year’s event will be the 21st edition of the regatta.


Racing starts tomorrow, Wednesday 24th January, and continues through Thursday 25th, concluding Friday 26th January.


Racing takes place throughout the Bay of Islands, with smaller boats racing inshore, and larger, faster boats racing in the outer Bay. The ‘Island Racing’ divisions sail longer courses using the area’s spectacular natural features and islands as race marks.

Evening entertainment is provided at the North Sails & Explore Marquee, in a new location this year at the southern end of the Bay of Islands Marina in Opua, with spot prize draws every evening. A Beach Party on Thursday evening will be hosted by Otehei Bay Resort on Urupukapuka Island, with ferry transport provided by Explore Bay of Islands. The Prizegiving ceremony is in Opua on Friday, with live music from Ngati Soul Music.