The Royal Akarana Yacht Club ANZ Auckland to Port Denarau race has created a lot of excitement already, not the least because of one brand new yacht.
The race will be the debut for General Lee, which was launched just in time for this Saturday’s start of the premier division.
Busy efforts have been underway to get General Lee race ready.
The slower cruising yachts of the Corinthian division headed for Suva yesterday.
The racing yachts leave on Saturday and this is designed to ensure all the 17-yacht fleet arrive about the same time.
General Lee is one of the boats to watch in this premier division.
She is a state-of-the-art flyer with the hull built out of the latest exotic fibres. This makes the boat extremely strong while at the same time holding weight to a minimum.
She is a Bakewell-White design of 36 feet length.
General Lee is fitted with racing sails from Evolution Sails, one of the new owners’ companies.
The yacht is co-owner by two Australian sailors.
They are Paul Eldridge who runs Evolution Sails in Perth, and Scott Disley.
General Lee is specifically designed for off-shore racing.
Her spars and rigging were designed and built by New Zealand Rigging.
She was built by Davie Norris Boatbuilders in Christchurch and according to the designer she is similar to an earlier yacht, Alfresco. But she is a foot longer and much more focused on ocean racing.
She was produced from the same mould as Alfresco.
The plans are for General Lee to compete in the Auckland to Port Denarau race. Then she will go to Hamilton Island for a regatta before finally travelling to Perth, Western Australia.
Fiji Sun – JOHN ROSS