Next year’s regatta, which is the premier event for youth and Olympic classes on New Zealand’s sailing calendar, had originally been set down for Worser Bay in Wellington. But it was decided it needed to stay in Auckland after an agreement was reached with Australian Sailing for the best sailors to compete in each other’s premier regatta.

That will see some of New Zealand’s top sailors compete across the Tasman in December and, in return, some of Australia’s top sailors competing at the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, which will now be held at Murrays Bay from February 3-5.

“We have to make it attractive for Australian and other international sailors to come to New Zealand,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “There will also be other regattas in Auckland around the time of the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta to give them more reason to come here.”

A four-day coaches regatta will be held at Murrays Bay from January 29-February 1 and a number of other Olympic and youth classes will have national and regional competitions on at a similar time.

Sailors from seven countries competed in the inaugural Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta over Waitangi weekend this year and there are hopes more international sailors will be attracted by high quality racing during the New Zealand summer.

All of the youth and Olympic classes will be catered for, with a Nacra 15 fleet added to this year’s programme.

“This is a great opportunity to develop a world-class event in New Zealand with guaranteed support from Australia,” Abercrombie said. “It needs to be in Auckland in 2018 to ensure the attractiveness of the event to international sailors.

“This year’s Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta was hugely successful at Murrays Bay and we will be looking to build on that.”