Some of New Zealand's top A Class sailors blew into Rotorua this week.
The 2019 New Zealand A Class National Championships are being held on Lake Rotorua. The event started on Wednesday and, after four days of full-speed action, a national champion will be crowned tomorrow.
New Zealand A Class Association president Brent Harsant said there were 16 competitors entered in this week's event and there had been a high calibre of racing throughout.
"We use A Class Catamarans which weigh 75kg all up, they're made of carbon fibre. Speed wise they can get up to 30 knots, so about 50kph," Harsant said.
Leading the way after the first two days was Nelson's Dave Shaw, who won five of the first six races.
Shaw represented New Zealand at the A Class World Championships last year and finished seventh. Team New Zealand stars and America's Cup winners Glenn Ashby, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke all competed at the same event. Ashby won the world title while Tuke and Burling finished third and fourth respectively.
Also competing during the second half of the National Championships is Micah Wilkinson, who won the Red Bull Foiling Generation 2016 and the pair went on to win the 2017 Flying Phantom series of the Extreme Sailing Series with his partner Olivia Mackay. He is currently pursuing qualification for the 2020 Olympics.
"We're trying to get 12 races in during the four day regatta, but it is weather-dependent," Harsant said.
"It has been a really high calibre of competition, it's fantastic.
"From Rotorua we've got Ben Davy, he's sailing his father's boat, he'd be one of the youngest. It's really exciting to see the young ones coming through. The oldest is Ken [Urquhart], he's in his early 60s, we've got the whole range."
He said Rotorua was ideal for holding the championships and Bruce and Sue Davy, of the Rotorua Yacht Club, had been great hosts.
"We come down here every year to do the Rotorua sprint regatta and they let us keep our boats on the lawn each year, they're fantastic hosts. Rotorua Yacht Club is such a great place to sail at, we really enjoy it.
"Lake conditions are totally different to sea conditions, just being so shifty and gusty, so it's been a good workout for all of us."