Paul Dickinson, lead consultant at Naviatus, crewed aboard the yacht ‘Infarred’ in the 2017 Coastal Classic yacht race. This race is one of the biggest in New Zealand, attracting some 140 entrants for the 119 nautical mile blast along the coast from Auckland Harbour to Russell in the Bay of Islands. Entering in Division 8, the ‘no extras’ fleet, Infarred was not allowed to use the big colourful downwind sails seen on the other fleets. As a result it was a real fight to keep with the main fleets. Key considerations were where would the wind be strongest and in the best direction, where were the various headlands, rocks and reefs up the coast (areas best kept clear of), and where were the other boats (to avoid collision and to get an idea of the conditions). In addition, as the race extended into the night visibility and maintaining situational awareness became a challenge as did battling the effects of fatigue.

The wind was only light to moderate so it took Infarred 19 hours, 36 minutes to complete the course. This placed her 116th overall in the race. However she finished 3rd in Division 8 (which had a total of 8 entries) and, most importantly, won the division on handicap. The photo shows the happy crew with their prize (a large box of useful boating accessories) at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell (Known for ‘Refreshing Rascals and Reprobates since 1827.’!).

Coastal Classic 2017 Prize Photo