The Bay of Islands is gearing up to welcome over 100 boats and some big names at the annual CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta.

Organisers are expecting one of the largest fleets ever recorded in the event's 16 year history. To date 99 boats have entered, with more expected to sign up before racing gets under way next Wednesday morning.

"It looks like this will be our biggest year in nearly a decade, and probably the second biggest year ever, which is amazing", said Regatta Chairperson Manuela Gmuer-Hornell.

"It just goes to show that what we're doing at Bay Week is something people really love."


Among those hitting the water in boats of all shapes and sizes will be some well known stars of New Zealand sailing.

Aiming to be at the front of the Formula One division will be Kerikeri-based Paralympic sailor Chris Sharp, who claimed bronze in the single-handed Weta class at last year's World Masters Games.

Racing competitively against able-bodied sailors is a big part of the attraction for Chris, who was left paraplegic after a motorbike accident.

"The Wetas are a boat that are a handful for para-people to sail, but it's possible, and the performance is fantastic," he said.

"The beauty of it is we're not restricted to racing against para-people. We just sail with the intent of winning because it feels natural to do so."

This will be Sharp's first CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week, despite living locally, and he says he's "super excited" about it.