Known as the Bay of Islands or BOI, the sailing waters off Waitangi and Russell include over 150 islands and some of the most picturesque sailing waters in New Zealand. With a hole in the rock, clear waters and a rich history (including a flag pole chopped down 3 times by a rebellious Maori Chief Hone Heke in the 19th century), tourists flock to BOI for pictures and tours. Sailors tend to head up there as part of the Coastal Classic in October or Bay of Islands Sailing Week Regatta, one of New Zealand’s most popular raceweeks www.bayofislandssailingweek.org.nz) running over January 19-21, 2011. The 3 day regatta features plenty of smaller boats including A Cats, flying 15s as well as the cream of New Zealand’s racers such as ORMA tri Vodafone, Georgia One, Wired, and the Shaw canters Deep Throttle, Orbit and Karma Police up lining up for the first time against New Zealand’s first Melges 32 called Tirade.
Over on the multihull race course, there was a bit of carnage, with a nasty collision between a multi and mono knocking out a very quick 9 meter cat called This Way Up. Fortunately the boat stayed afloat long enough to make it ashore in one piece. "Bugger".
Racing in the sportboat division, the Moneyshot and 3 other 650s were part of a 9 boat fleet ranging up to the very quick but unforgiving Shaw 7m Orange Peeler (a fairly out there sportsboat which meets the requirements of the NZSBA). A variety of conditions ranged from light sub planing all the way up to 20+ knots, with 12 races run over the 3 days. At the end of race 11, Moneyshot had already done enough to take the handicap win with a pretty consistent performance across all wind ranges, leaving the rest of the fleet battling the final race with Vickers 7m High n Fibre taking 2nd and a modified 6.5 Magic Trick in 3rd followed by another Shaw 650 Monkey Business in 4th.
Over 2011, a couple more Shaw 650s are expected to join the fray in NZ. Across the ditch (as Kiwis and Aussies called the Tasman Sea separating the two countries) the Aussie Shaw 650 fleet now stands at 2 boats in Brisbane launched late 2010, with another 2 already under construction. Adding to this, 2 wooden Shaw 650s have been shipped across to Australia in the last month ("Whaka" looks like it just made it for Geelong – pronounced Far-Ker it means boat in Maori, not sure what Farker means in Australian, "Barely Legal" the other woodie is still not yet legal in Australia), and 2 more fibreglass boats are leaving in the next 10 days, reflecting the renewed growth in interest in quick little boats. Or dodgy boat names. Many of the owners and a couple of home builders can all be found easily enough in the sportboat forum of Sailing Anarchy including a couple of Shaw 650 threads.
More info on the Shaw 650s can be found here Reports from other divisions should be making their way across to sailing anarchy in the next few days, with a very quick tri, the long awaited showdown between the 9m canters and the M32 plus IRC reports hopefully included.