Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race organiser Murray Francis
says it was ''personally crushing'' to have to postpone next
year's inaugural race.
The A2B race was supposed to begin in Auckland on February 9,
with the first boats reaching Bluff five days later.
While there had been ''considerable interest'' in the race
and several expressions of interest, only two confirmed
entries were received.
Mr Francis said yesterday it emerged boat skippers needed
more time to prepare their boats and find their crews.
''We announced the race in December last year, but it seems
skippers need at least a year to get their teams together and
it just wasn't long enough.''
The Government said it would contribute $440,000 from its
Major Events New Zealand fund because of the event's economic
Mr Francis said the grant had been ''parked up'' and he
expected the money would be made available next year after he
went back with a new business plan.
The Invercargill City Council agreed to contribute $280,000.
Chief executive Richard King did not return calls yesterday,
but told The Southland Times on Thursday $100,000 of the
money had already been spent on race planning and the
remainder was on hold until further discussions next year.
Mr Francis said the race had been ''postponed, not
''I am pretty confident for 2015. We have good support from
the yachting fraternity ... All the good feelings people had
about the race are still there.''
He said he had a ''wonderful'' email from international
yachtsman Grant Dalton in response to news of the
''He said to take heart in the fact we had stepped up to the
plate in the first place, and said: `You'll get there
Race organisers were working with the Bluff Oyster Festival
committee on a marine-themed festival at Bluff over the
weekend of February 14-16.
Committee chairman John Edminstin yesterday said while he was
''disappointed for Bluff'' the race was not going ahead next
year, he and his committee had lost nothing but a little
''When Murray rang to tell us, he was very, very grateful for
the small amount of work we had done already and said he was
looking forward to working with us again.''
The Invercargill Rotary Club announced plans for a Southern
Wild Foods Festival in Invercargill on February 15.
Co-ordinator Alice Pottinger said yesterday the food festival
would still be going ahead.