A2B Ocean Race
A major new yacht race will set sail from Auckland on Waitangi Day 2014, head around Cape Reinga, down the West Coast and finish in Bluff. It will be known as the A2B –Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race and will be the longest ocean race ever to start and finish in New Zealand, taking place over an 1100 nautical mile course.
The A2B –Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race has been created as a major annual event which aims to reinforce New Zealand’s international status as a hub of sailing excellence and marine technology, highlight our maritime heritage and pristine environment, and be a vibrant spectator friendly event that kiwis can be part of.
The race has been eighteen months in the making, with race promoter Murray Francis working tirelessly on this exciting new event for New Zealand sailing.
In developing theA2B Ocean Race, Francis said - ‘we wanted to create an event which showcases New Zealand’s sailing abilities, and marine industry. An Auckland to Bluff ocean race will not only promote sailing, but will showcase our spectacular scenery to an international audience.
“It’s an initiative on our National Day to make Kiwis proud of our country, our seafaring traditions and our ability to compete internationally in the sport of sailing. Modern technology means the whole country will be able to follow the race and its inevitable dramas and excitement.”
The A2B Ocean Race will be run by an executive management team comprising of Murray Francis, Dave Mee and Craig Seuseu (SMC Events). This team will report to a Board of Directors chaired by Peter Ross. The board will comprise of Francis, Mee, the Chief Executive of Yachting NZ, and two further independent directors who are currently being sought.
The Royal Akarana Yacht Club will be the host club for the race, which is an ideal fit given that they have organised most of the ocean races that have left our shore in the last 55 years, and are considered the home of blue water racing in New Zealand. The Bluff Yacht Club have given their support to the event, and will welcome in the boats with a fine southern welcome.
The initial idea for the event started in Southland, with Francis then getting involved. Early support was obtained from interested parties in Southland and Sport New Zealand, and more recently Major Events and the NZ Government have come on board. Yachting New Zealand have given strong support as they see it as an event which will help develop New Zealand yachtsmen and women.
The event has received support from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) and it’s chief executive Mark Woolf. The CYCA have been running the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race for 67 years and when Murray Francis approached their Commodore Gary Linacre for support, his initial reaction was –“Why hasn’t anyone ever thought if this before?”. The Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race is recognised by the Australian Government as one of the five major events in Australia, and the departure of the yachts from Sydney is often referred to as having the largest live spectator numbers of any sporting event in the world.
The inaugural A2B Ocean Race will be take place on the 6th of February (Waitangi Day) 2014 and will embrace the latest in technology and communications to stimulate New Zealand’s passion and interest in all things nautical.