NZ Super Maxi Konica Minolta takes line honours in Coastal Classic

With over 266 mono and multihulls entered in last Friday’s New Zealand HSBC Coastal Classic, the weather briefing the previous night, at the famous Loaded Hog bar in the America’s Cup Viaduct area, confirmed the talk around the local marina’s all week – the 119nm race was going to be one of the slowest on record.

With the trend all day for the breeze to remain light but for it to become more northerly it looked like the crews had their work cut out for them with a number of sail changes and some strong shifts throughout the race. It looked as though many of the entries may not reach Russell until late Saturday evening. As it turned out the last boat in was ‘Pott Black’, a 9.7m Townson-designed vintage yacht, in just under 40 hours. With 80 yachts retiring from the race due to time constraints, it was a race of tactics and patience.

Aboard Konica Minolta for the race I considered myself one of the lucky ones, she took line honours after 20 hours, 19 minutes, finishing at 6.19am on Saturday 23 October, the crew and I were able to have a well deserved breakfast of Mount Gay Rum and coke at the picturesque seaside town of Russell. Commenting on the light conditions of the race, owner/skipper of Konica Minolta Stewart Thwaites said: “It wasn’t the slowest race on record but it was certainly a pretty average run.”

Finishing 1 hour and 26 minutes after Konica was Harry Dodson’s 52 ft Bruce Nelson-designed Formula One, who this year competed with a new keel and 1800kg of water ballast on each side, followed closely by Ron Brittain’s Elliott 16, Hydroflow. With the competition fierce between the multi and monohulls all eyes were on Jon Vincent’s 55ft X-Factor. The conditions were not to suit the bright yellow multihull with her having an elapsed time of 27 hours, 56 minutes.

With the Coastal now complete all eyes are turning across the Tasman to Sydney, Australia. Konica Minolta will be heading across early November to compete in the two-day offshore FPD Savills Regatta held out of the Middle Harbour Yacht Club on the 27-28 November, followed by the Canon Big Boat Challenge and the commencement of the Rolex programme leading up to the much anticipated 60th Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, of which Konica was second across the line last year.

When asking Thwaites what modifications he will be making to Konica he stated: “I don’t know whether I should be telling the Aussie’s but we are making some modifications which have yet to be tested, including the addition of a bowsprit.” With a confirmed crew number of 24 for the Hobart race Thwaites confirmed he will have onboard for the Australian programme, including Hobart, BMW Oracle America’s Cup helmsman Gavin Brady.

Overall Results (on corrected time)










10th OKI MAX