“Auckland, 23 October 2020 – 2020 has been the year of uphill battles, and the 119nm PIC Coastal Classic (New Zealand) yacht race today will see no different.

“From 9:30am, 165 sailboats will quite literally begin an uphill battle from Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour to Russell in the Bay of Islands, sailing against the wind into light winds from the north.”

Dougall & Jaz Love, and crew, win the 2020 PIC Coastal Classic on corrected time.
Dougall & Jaz Love, and crew, win the 2020 PIC Coastal Classic on corrected time. Photo: PIC Coastal Classic.

That’s how Live Sail Die announced the beginning of the 2020 Coastal Classic Race in New Zealand, last Friday and not much was to change, for most entrants, for the duration of the race.

The official PIC Coastal Classic website noted that “races like this are often compared to the game, Snakes and Ladders, because no matter how confident you may be with your position, it’s easy to find yourself in an unexpected ‘hole’ of no wind – or bursting ahead with a lucky gust that pulls you forward”.

In the Multihull Division, Cation (catamaran) “made a smart strategic move late Friday evening to sail further out to sea where the boats closer to land have made big losses”, reported the PIC website. “Apache, who had a clear lead for most of the day, had to make a big tack out to slot in behind Cation (who would win line honours in the Multihull Divisiion) and Romanza, and has been neck-and-neck with Romanza since”.

The duelling between Romanza and Apache appears to have extended right to the finish line, climaxing in an agonisingly, but, excitingly slow finish to the race as ‘speeds’ dropped to 0.4kts, 0.1kts and yes, even 0.0kts!

Behind Apache, Cation was to drift over the line in 21 hours, 5 minutes and 22 seconds, just four minutes ahead of Romanza (given the conditions, four minutes was probably less than four boat lengths!).

Afterwards, Romanza’s skipper, Dougall Love, summed up the race with, “Stop, start. Stop, start. Arrraghhhh!” [If you can zoom in on Predict Wind Tracker (which seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties currently), watch the final stages of the race between Cation and Romanza].

On corrected time, Romanza won the Multihull Division (and from all reports, they also won the culinary stakes – check out these salmon and bacon wraps in this video prepared by Jaz for the crew during the race).

Congratulations to Dougall & Jaz Love, and their crew, for Romanza’s latest great performance.

Video at Cape Brett 

The organisers of the PIC Coastal Classic write that, “We have been told time and time again how beautiful it is to be off Cape Brett at daybreak, so we just had to get our camera guys from Flyuav out of bed at 4am to check it out. This is pretty magical… enjoy this special one”.

To view the video on PIC’s Facebook page, click on the pic below (which, unfortunately, does not have any footage of Romanza – but that doesn’t stop it from being a good video!).