They might not have the luxury of hoisting sails at the push of a button, but Royal New Zealand Navy recruits will definitely get a taste of teamwork and camaraderie in this years’ PIC Coastal Classic cruising rally division.
With not a roller furler or electric winch in sight aboard the three 40ft sloops representing the RNZN, the onboard set up will pose a stark contrast to fellow cruising vessels decked out with hydraulic systems to ease the manual load.
However the focus will also be a little different, as the experience is aimed at supporting leadership experience, provide a challenging experience, and push individuals out of their comfort zones.
The three dark blue hulls of the Chico 40's will be a familiar site in the event, with this year marking their 22nd year of participation in the iconic race. This year they are entered in the record 25-strong fleet for the 36° Brokers cruising division.
With eight new recruits and two sailing instructors aboard each boat, the 120 nautical mile stretch will mark the first sailing experience for many of the crew members who will be in their 6th week of training.
“It’s great to see this fleet expanding and growing, and reach it’s record number of entries this year. We’ve always envisaged this as an ‘open invite’ for all boats, whether they’re monohulls, multihulls, production boats or custom designs. We are stoked to have the Navy use it as part of their training schedule and wish all the new recruits well on the ride up the coast,” says 36° Brokers owner Conrad Gair.
New recruits are thrown together from all sorts of different backgrounds into a highly dynamic, cramped, and unfamiliar environment. Although they're in the cruising rally division, the competitive spirit of the crews will be evident with an inter sail training craft trophy up for grabs.
Using the training boats provide an opportunity for the recruits to train in a uniquely maritime environment. They are said to be an excellent platform to support and strengthen the leadership journey of today's military leaders.