With less than five days until the start of the 2023 Evolution Sails Round North Island Race, we want to keep you updated with regards to the race and the situation regarding Cyclone Gabrielle and the continuing devastating impacts on many communities throughout New Zealand, particularly on the East Coast, Northland and Auckland’s western beaches. The thoughts of the SSANZ team and wider SSANZ community are with those who have been impacted, particularly those who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.

We at SSANZ love to run races. However the safety of our competitors, the ability to logistically support starts, finishes and stop-overs for each leg, and the impacts we may have on the communities we pass and visit are all also of critical importance. We are also conscious of trying to give competitors and their support teams as much time as possible to plan for the event including stop-overs, while trying to work with uncertainty and ensure that we do not distract the focus of authorities and essential services from their core tasks at this difficult time.

The key points of this update are:

  • We intend to start the race as planned on Saturday the 25thof Feb, heading to Mangonui. We ask that support crews follow the most recent guidance from the authorities about whether it is appropriate to visit Northland, and do their own due diligence on road closures/detours etc.
  • We intend to race to Waikawa as planned.
  • We are no longer able to have a stop-over in Napier.
  • Our strong preference is to have a three-leg race with the final leg up the EAST Coast of the North Island from Waikawa returning directly to Auckland. This is approx. 560nm.
  • A final call on the third leg will not be made until the Waikawa stopover.
  • If the preferred (East Coast) option is not possible e.g. due to no emergency services available to assist in case of distress or extensive debris in the water, SSANZ will look to continue the event by running a third leg returning to Auckland via the WEST coast.

We appreciate that this creates some uncertainty but want to be as transparent as possible. In these circumstances, we are conscious that 2 weeks is a long time, and we are keen to let you know our preference, but retaining the ability to deal with circumstances beyond our control is key to enabling us to continue with the event.

We also encourage all entries to consider how they will manage a longer third leg, and plan for suitable provisions to support this.

An update to the SI’s will be provided prior to the Briefing that reflects the above options.

A reminder that all Skippers are expected to attend the Evolution Sails RNI Welcome Function at the RNZYS Quarterdeck on Thursday from 6:00pm with formalities at 7:30pm. Dinner will be available for $25pp and is a Build your own Burger and Fries offer. Your friends, families and supporters are welcome to attend this event with you.

The briefing is at 1000 hours on Friday. This is in the RNZYS Dinghy Locker. All skippers should arrive by 9:30 wearing their RNI Shirts. All skippers will have their photo taken with their co-skipper during this time.

The SSANZ Team appreciate the support of our race fleet and support partners as we replan this race.


If you have any questions regarding this – please email media@ssanz.co.nz or contact Race Director – Jon Henry.


Kind Regards

The SSANZ Race Management Team


  1. Jon Henry – Race Director
  2. Garry Jolliffe – Race Officer
  3. Andrew Mackmurdie – Safety Officer and President of SSANZ
  4. Neil Hilder – Chairman of SSANZ
  5. Sarah Wiblin – Media and Comms
  6. Mike Grant
  7. Nico Henry
  8. Daniel Leach