Solo round the world race will stop in Bay of Plenty

Clipper Ventures, organisers of the single-handed Around Alone race, announced today that Tauranga, New Zealand, will be their stop ‘down under’. The race, which currently has 19 entries, starts in Newport, Rhode Island on 15 September and stops at Torbay, Cape Town, Tauranga and Salvador da Bahia in Brazil before returning to Newport.

Choosing Tauranga is a surprise departure from the usual New Zealand race route to either Auckland or the capital, Wellington. The town is on the Pacific side, in the Bay of Plenty, and is a big commercial port. Its good, economical yacht facilities have also made it very popular with foreign cruisers, increasing numbers of whom are choosing to refit here halfway through a circumnavigation.

In common with other ports, Tauranga had to bid to become a stop on the Around Alone route. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, race chairman, said: “The reason for this choice is that we were very impressed by the enormous enthusiasm, commitment and excitement from the local community, business and government shown in Tauranga’s bid.”

Another consideration in choosing a port in New Zealand is that the stop there, estimated to be from 28 December, coincides with the America’s Cup. Had the stop been in Auckland, the round the world race would unquestionnably have been overshadowed. Tauranga will give the race a separate focus, 250km away from Cup fever.