They call them “flying boats” and the first of these arrived in New Zealand only six months ago. This class of WASZPs are small, single-man sailing vessels each with two foils attached to its underside. These lift the hull out of the water allowing it to “fly” at twice the speed of the wind.
This past weekend was New Zealand’s first national championship for this new class of flying boats. Lucky for me, it was close to home. I was glad we showed up early as even with my zoom lens there was little to see once the race began.
- The WASZP class of flying boats has been available since mid-2015, although they have only been in New Zealand for about half a year.
- This event was the first ever WASZP flying boats national championship in New Zealand. It’s a popular and enthusiastic class. Half of the 60 WASZPs in New Zealand competed over the weekend. According to one dad, the competitors ranged from kids as young as 10 to adults 60+.
- Manly Sailing Club in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand hosted the race.
- Yacht racing is popular in New Zealand. Auckland’s nickname is the City of Sails. Aside from these flying boats, my two favourite races were the when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge each helmed a former America’s Cup Yacht, and when the Volvo Around the World Race had a stop over in Auckland.
Did you make it to Big Manly Beach to see the flying boats? Given the opportunity, would you sail one?
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