With just one month until the 2020 Evolution Sails Round North Island Yacht Race, anticipation is starting to build for the 38 boats entered in the fleet with the official release of the provisional divisions for this shorthanded race.
Division One will include Wired (Bakewell-White 15.85), Kia Kaha (TP52), Miss Scarlet, (Reichel Pugh IRC52), our very own Blink (Shaw 12), Mr Kite (Cape 40), Anarchy (Bakewell White 40), and Relapse (Young 50). We expect some fierce racing in this all-star division that’s heavily represented by family combinations including father and daughter Chris Hornell and Rebecca Gmuer-Hornell on Kia Kaha, father and son combinations AJ and Will Reid on Anarchy as well as Mark and Ash Edwards on Relapse. Blink will be co-skippered by RPNYC members Tony Wells and Craig Shearer.
In Division Two we have Clockwork (Bakewell-White 37), and Titanium and Serena, both Thompson 38’s, Deep Throttle (Shaw 9), Krakatoa II, (Pogo 40), ex-Wellington boat Higher Ground (Ross 10.66), Activator (Hauraki 45), Laissez-Faire II (Beneteau First 47.7), and Satellite Spy & Urban Cowboy, both Ross 40’s. The battle of the Ross 40s should be competitive with Waikawa and Port Nic’s Matt Kerr once again teaming up with Craig Smith for another lap. For this division, conditions will play a massive role in finishing order both on line and handicap with Krakatoa II skippered by Matt Flynn and Scott Wilson favoured if conditions deliver decent reaching and running legs. Clockwork, Titanium and Serena will be fighting hard for divisional line honours. Major sponsor Rodney Keenan on Laissez-Faire II and repeat competitors Andrew Peat and Rob Neeley on Activator are likely to perform well on handicap if the conditions are predominantly upwind.
Division Three is mostly a battle of the 35 footers. We have Motorboat II, an Elliott 10.5 with race favourites Josh Tucker and Damon Jolliffe, Atamai (Beneteau First 44.7), Odyssey V (Young 12), The Guarantee (Ross 1066 with Port Nic’s own Geoff Herd and Phil Gurnsey), Katana (Sunfast 3600), Truxton (Tiller 35), and Waka (Thompson 850). Then we have the massive Elliott 1050 representation rounding out this division with Gale Force (crewed by ex-Wellingtonian Ken Ormandy and Sam Tucker), High Voltage with Victoria Murdoch and Emily Riley (our only all female crew), Sniper and Kick. This division is likely to have the closest racing in the whole fleet.
Lastly, in Division Four we have solid representation of Bruce Farr Designs including Coppelia and Arbitare (another Wellington boat), both Farr 38s, Duty Free (Farr 1220), Fifth Dimension (Beneteau First 36.7 from Nelson) and Distraction, (ex-Wellington Farr 1020 sailed by Guy Mannering and Matt Perry). Also, in this division, we have Am Meer (Lowry Bay’s Bavaria 38), Start Me Up (Ross 930), Pelagian II (Stewart 34) and the fleets two smallest boats, C U Later, (the well known ex-Wellington Ross 8m) and Moving Violation (Elliott 7.9). With such a diverse division from throughout New Zealand, the conditions will also play a significant role in determining the line and handicap results in this division.
Family also plays an interesting dynamic across the divisions with brother against brother (Damon on Motorboat II vs Gary on Urban Cowboy, and Sam on Gale Force vs brother Josh on Motorboat 11) as well as father and son – Dave on Arbitare and Ken on Gale Force – lining up against each other again.
The boats are due into Wellington at the end of February, after starting in Auckland on Saturday 22 February. If you’re keen to help out with the stopover contact Rear Commodore Katie Hakes, and keep an eye on the SSANZ website ssanz.co.nz as well as RPNYC and SSANZ Facebook pages for updates. Otherwise make sure you come down to the club to see the boats, meet up with the crews and support the event. Boats will be berthed at both Chaffers Marina and Queens Wharf – look for the battle flags!