Yachting: NZ's biggest ocean race planned

A major new yacht race from Auckland to Bluff will start on Waitangi Day in 2014.

The race, known as the A2B, will be the longest ocean race to start and finish in New Zealand, taking place over an 1100 nautical mile course. The annual race will start in Auckland, head north to round Cape Reinga and travel south along the west coast of New Zealand.

It has received support from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, an organisation which has been running the Sydney to Hobart race for 67 years.

It is hoped that competitors in the Sydney to Hobart race will also compete in the A2B.

The Government has backed the event, contributing $440,000. Economic Development minister Steven Joyce said it was an excellent opportunity to show why New Zealand's marine sector was among the best in the world.

"It will help foster business connections and provide extensive broadcast opportunities to promote New Zealand as a premier sailing destination across our key tourism and trade markets," he said.

"This Government investment will help this new concept become an iconic, home-grown sailing event."

The first race, held on February 6, 2014, will be capped to 30 boats, due to limited space at Bluff, but that number could be increased to 50 for following years.

It will be run by Auckland's Royal Akarana Yacht Club.