Longest ocean race in New Zealand sets sail in 2014

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Auckland, New Zealand (4E Sports) – The Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race, the longest ocean race ever to start and finish in New Zealand, will sail off February 6, 2014, promoters announced Tuesday.

The race, which will be held on Waitangi Day or New Zealand’s national day, will set sail from Auckland head around Cape Reinga, down the West Coast and finish in Bluff.

“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,” race promoter Murray Francis said.

It will cover a distance of 1100 nautical mile or almost twice the length of a Sydney Hobart race, and longer than the final leg of the last Volvo Ocean Race.

Promoters said the race will evolve into a major annual event that aims to reinforce New Zealand’s international status as a hub of sailing excellence and marine technology and highlight its maritime heritage and pristine environment.

“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,” organizers said in a press release.

The organizers added that through modern technology, 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, comprised of Francis, , Yachting NZ Chief Executive Dave Mee and Craig Seuseu of SMC Events.

The team will report to a Board of Directors chaired by Peter Ross. The board will be comprised of Francis, Mee and two further independent directors who are currently being sought.

According to initial details provided by organizers, the number of entries for the first race will be capped at 30 yachts, with a bottom entry length limit of 8.5 or 9 meters.

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