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‘Ultimate water sport’ hits the harbour

1 March 2004

‘Ultimate water sport’ hits the harbour this weekend

Wellington Harbour hosts one of the fastest and most exhilarating water sports this Saturday 5 March. More than 20 boats will compete on a high-speed course around the harbour in Round 3 of the National Offshore Power Boat Racing Championship.

The sport – with some competitors bringing boats from overseas - has been described as the water equivalent of the Formula 1 motor racing.

“This is a high-octane spectator event,” says race organiser Grant Smith. “All the racing is on the inner harbour so a spot along Oriental Bay, Point Jerningham or Evans Bay will give viewers a great taste of the action. Laps are run close to the shore for spectator appeal.”

The race starts at 2pm and will run for 60-80 minutes. The championship is made up of several classes of boat, all of which start and race together. The larger boats complete 100 miles, while the smaller boats run fewer laps, over about 60 miles.

Boats competing in the 100-mile classes are fully-fledged racers, fitted with advanced safety features not found on normal family boats. The streamlined vessels are up to 11 metres in length, generate up to 1300 horsepower and are capable of up to 120MPH. Vessels that compete in the 60-mile events are less radical – and more like ski boats.

Freyberg Carpark on Oriental Parade will be closed to the public from midday Friday 4 March as large boats arrive from around the country and overseas. The boats will then be craned into the water ready for the race start at 2pm. The public are welcome to come and inspect the boats any time Saturday morning.


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