Organizers of the Auckland to Taurange Race have been forced to cancel this year’s race at the last minute because of the debris from the cargo ship Rena which crashed onto a reef and began breaking apart several months ago.
The doubt created by the possibility of debris from the Rena as a result of recent gales has led to the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club canceling this annual Easter Weekend event. Given the forecast for continuing south-easterly winds any wreckage is likely to be scattered through the area that the racing yachts will be sailing through during the latter part of the Race. The forecast for continued strong easterly quarter gales and heavy seas was also a factor in the decision.
Race Chairman Ross Sheerin said, “The race organizing committee has been monitoring Rena developments throughout our planning. Unfortunately the events of the last few days equate to our worst case scenario in terms of holding the race. We have been in constant contact with Maritime NZ and the Tauranga Harbormaster, and have evaluated their input. Regretfully, and in respect for participants’ safety, the only prudent option at this stage is to cancel this year’s race.”
Club Commodore Wayne Eaton added, “Our sailing season this year have been very challenging as a result of the Rena disaster. We have had several events affected throughout the summer. Like everyone, we look forward to when things return to normal, but until then, we will continue to be sensible in our decisions.”
The Auckland to Tauranga Race was first sailed in 1921 and is TYPBC’s premier annual event for coastal racers. The race attracts boats from throughout the North Island who come to Tauranga for the holiday weekend.
During this year’s race, Team Vodaphone had planned to attempt to set a race record for the third time.
For more information, go to www.yacht.org.nz.