The Quantum Sails Auckland to Tauranga Yacht Race, described as possibly the most challenging race on the New Zealand annual yachting calendar, will commence next Thursday, 5 April.

Around 60 boats are expected to take part. Favourites for line honours are undoubtedly last year’s overall winner, X-Factor and the rival catamaran Sundreamer.

The new hot-rod division, designed for boats of approximately 30 feet in length sporting asymmetric sail designs, is hotly contested by the new generation Thompson designs, such as Waka and Underworld. However it’s an older boat that will be most closely watched: Positive Touch, campaigned by designer Jim Young in the 1980s, is now owned by Jim’s grandson, Aaron Young.

Pussy Galore, the Cookson 50 owned by Sailor of the Year nominee Anatole Masfen, is on a winning streak this year, will be hoping to lead the monohulls into Tauranga Harbour.

The outright record of 9 hrs 35 mins is held by the 30m supermaxi Zana, and was set in the 2004 race. Maximus missed setting a new record in 2005 by only a few minutes. Sundreamer holds the multihull record of 9:55:23.

The race starts at 10 am on Thursday 5 April from Westhaven Marina in Auckland and finishes in Tauranga Harbour.

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