ANZ SailFiji Auckland To Denarau Race Fleet Announced

The Royal Akarana Yacht Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in New Zealand, has announced that the 2016 Ocean Classic will this year be a race
02 Apr 2016 10:19
ANZ SailFiji Auckland To Denarau Race Fleet Announced
The Lawless yacht race crew

The Royal Akarana Yacht Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in New Zealand, has announced that the 2016 Ocean Classic will this year be a race from Auckland to Port Denarau, Nadi.

The race is named ANZ Sail Fiji as the major sponsor out of Fiji will be the ANZ Banking Group.

ANZ have been involved in yacht racing sponsorships over a long period in Fiji, and they have again committed to supporting the event and Fiji.

This is a race with a great deal of tradition and is a true test of both the vessel and the crew.

The race organiser is the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland and this is the 51st time the club has organised a long ocean race at this time of the year.

The course covers the South Pacific Ocean between Auckland and Port Denarau and is rated at 1200 nautical miles, but depending on the weather conditions and the wind direction the competing yachts will actually sail a greater distance.

The race is regarded as one of the most challenging in the southern hemisphere and attracts the best yachts and the most experienced racing crews.

Entry requirements for the race are extremely strict to ensure that both the boat and the crew are capable of meeting the challenges they will face on the way.

The race will start in Auckland Harbour and proceed roughly NE to arrive at the entrance to Momi Bay, the official finishing line at the Fiji end.

However, they will be met by the finishing boat and vessels from Port Denarau will provide them with a gift of nicely chilled beer and then they will proceed to the Port Denarau Marina.

The yachts will race using a handicap system that gives all yachts an equal chance of being the winner of this internationally recognised race.


The lineup

The fastest yachts, generally the biggest mono-hulls or the catamarans, will also be racing for the honour of being first yacht to cross the finish line.

The slower, smaller races such as this, competing is a major decision based on the cost, the current standard of the yacht and the availability of a highly qualified crew, and you always have to wait till the last minute to be sure of competing numbers.

The lineup currently includes ocean racers from New Zealand and Australia, but race officials believe that more countries could be in the final fleet, as the race is recognised on the international yacht racing calendar.

To date there are no entries from Fiji.


Award ceremony

After the yachts have completed the race and are moored at the Port Denarau Marina, there will be a full program of events including the Prize Giving Dinner and several cocktail parties for the crews and owners.

It is expected that over six hundred people directly related to the race will come to Fiji.

This includes the racing crews, maintenance and return delivery crews and family and supporters.

This is a significant boost in tourism numbers and a welcome source of activity for the hotels and resorts on Denarau.

As well, the race will attract wide media coverage internationally and Fiji tourism will benefit from the exposure in the yachting media, boosting a segment of the tourism market that is already proving very lucrative for the economy.


Port Denarau Marina plans

As the organiser of the event in Fiji in Fiji, Port Denarau Marina has developed extensive plans to ensure that the Fiji end of the event will be memorable.

Nigel Skeggs, Port Denarau Marina chief executive, said: “We are very happy to be involved with the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in holding this Auckland to Fiji race and this is a culmination of many months of hard work.

“We aim to ensure that the Fiji destination provides everything an event of this magnitude requires and we hope to encourage further international events to come to Fiji”.

The arrival of the leading ocean racing yachts will coincide with the regatta planned for the world famous Sydney eighteen foot skiffs, which will race on Nadi Bay during the period.

It is planned that the eighteen footers will be covered as part of a documentary which will be exposed on many channels worldwide, and if the ocean arrives at the right time they will add to the excitement.

nJohn Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him:

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