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PIC Coastal Classic: Lockdown race looming - organisers ask for early entries

by PIC Coastal Classic Media 28 Sep 08:33 BST 28 September 2021
Arwen - PIC Coastal Classic 2019 - Start - Waitemata Harbour - October 25, 2019 © Richard Gladwell /

"Take the plunge and get your entries in," say organisers of the PIC Coastal Classic, the world-famous Auckland to Russell yacht race that traditionally takes place at Labour Weekend.

“We need to know how many boats to cater for. We will refund you if you can’t race for any reason.”

In 2020 the race had an epic 180 entries – but Covid-19 lockdowns have cast clouds on the fleet this year.

“We know it’s more challenging than ever to get your boat and crew ready, but if we are in Level 1 or 2, we will be racing,” says Greer Houston of the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, which has introduced a 100% refund policy to encourage boaties to put their names down.

88 entries are in to date with the usual mix of boat types and sizes from the tiny Pied Piper at 6.7m, upwards.

“We really want to see the race go ahead. We are waiting on each government announcement with a mix of anxiety and anticipation,” says Daniel Garner of PIC Insurance Brokers. “We’ll make the most of whatever opportunities there are to be part of the action, and we’ll do it safely,” he affirms.

Under Level 2 protocols there are no restrictions on crew numbers aboard each boat that affect sailing activities.

But instead of the traditional party in Russell on race weekend, a prizegiving will be held in Auckland, when Covid alert levels allow. Briefings and Race Clinics will be held by Zoom if they cannot be held in person – and potentially both to accommodate gathering sizes.

Boaties will be able to enjoy the hospitality that Russell traditionally supplies, so long as they do so within the relevant guidelines. At Level 2, this means restrictions on gathering numbers, contact tracing and mask wearing. So while informal gatherings will be out, participants will likely able to dine at and enjoy Russell’s pubs and restaurants before returning home.

The New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club and PIC Insurance Brokers have also organised a new service called ‘Coastal Cargo’ – a delivery service for food and supplies to help boaties navigate the return voyage on their boat.

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