Iit’ll take the wind out of your sails — a five-day regatta, starting on Queenstown’s Lake Whakatipu tomorrow, features some of the world’s best sailors.
Wakatipu Yacht Club’s (WYC) hosting, for the first time, the New Zealand International Moth champs.
Moth class boats are recognised as the fastest foiling dinghies in the world, reaching speeds of more than 60kmh.
‘‘It’s still classified as an experimental class but it’s spectacular racing in spectacularly-expensive boats,’’ WYC commodore John Stalker says.
‘‘To have these international guys here to do this event is just incredible.’’
Many of the 17 or so sailors have won world champs in various classes, with several here because they’re involved in SailGP’s third season.
The top names include:
● Australian Iain Jensen, an Olympic gold medallist and Great Britain SailGP team member;
● Swiss sailor Sebastien Schneiter, his country’s SailGP F50 team driver and GC32 world champ in 2018;
● Dutch Olympic Finn sailor Nic Heiner, men’s laser class world champ in 2014;
● Auckland’s Sam Barnett, who won a world match racing title in December;
● Mike Bullot, who’s represented NZ in four Olympics and won last year’s Queenstown event;
● Mattias Coutts, 17, son of America’s Cup legend Sir Russell Coutts, who’s had some great finishes over the past year including coming third out of 68 during ‘foiling week’ on Italy’s Lake Garda.
Stalker says these nationals follow two WYC-hosted South Island champs.
After last year’s event, ‘‘the boys went away to their nationals and voted they’d have their [next] nationals here’’.
‘‘They love sailing here because most of their sailing’s on salt water, and fresh water has a different density so it affects the way they sail and the way their foils work.’’
Stalker also pays credit to part-time local Sir Russell Coutts, who’s helping bring the boats here — ‘‘without him, we wouldn’t have it’’.
He says the sailors need winds of up towards 10 knots ‘‘before these things will foil, and you can’t race without them foiling’’.
If the conditions are right, racing will start about 2pm each day, most likely in the main body of the lake near Walter Peak.
The best viewing’s from a boat, or Queenstown-Glenorchy Road.