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Friday 22nd – Tuesday 26th January 2021


Nelson Keelboat Regatta

Southern Sails New Zealand Trailer Yacht Association Nationals

and The Top of the South Championships

Results 2021

Don’t Miss Nelson’s Largest Regatta!

The 2021 Regatta – the biggest on water event in Nelson – is for everyone – keelers, trailer sailors and sports boats. A large fleet of trailer yachts will be competing for the Southern Sails New Zealand Trailer Yacht Association National Championships; keelers and sports boats will be competing to win not only the eVOLUTION Sails Nelson Regatta but, for the first time, the Top of the South Championships.  A full program of racing starts on Friday 22nd January and goes through to Tuesday 26th January 2021, show casing Tasman Bay with great sea breezes and a fantastic mountain backdrop.

Fleets include: 

  • Trailer Yachts
  • Sports Boats
  • Keelers
  • Cruising Boats

The event kicks off on the evening of 22 January with the Black Spot Rum rum race in the harbour for all entrants. This is followed by Day One of the Southern Sails NZTY National Championships on Saturday and round the buoys racing for keelers with a race for the cruisers – use this day as a practice with your crew. Also during Saturday the annual Wellington to Nelson race will bring visiting keelers to Nelson.  Sunday is Day Two of the National Championships and the start of the official eVOLUTION Sails Nelson Regatta which begins with three round the cans races for the Romeo and Juliet divisions, and a coastal race for the cruising boats. On Monday trailer yachts are welcome to join the keelers and cruisers as they set off across Tasman Bay for two days of coastal racing which will include a night and a beach party in Torrent Bay in the Able Tasman National Park. Tuesday sees the boats racing back to Nelson.

Feeders for the regatta include the RPNYC Wellington to Nelson Race (22nd Jan) and the Waikawa Regatta, (9th/10th Jan). Boats taking part in both the Nelson Regatta and the Waikawa Regatta will be able to compete in the inaugural Top of the South Championships. Then after celebrating in Nelson there is just enough time to fly out to join a boat for Bay Week.

About the Nelson Regatta

The inaugural Nelson Regatta was conceived in 2009 by a group of local sailors, with ambitions of placing the region back on the national sailing map. Over the years the format has evolved to create a competitive and social week of racing that showcases the beauty of Tasman Bay.

The warm pristine waters of Tasman Bay have been the playground of New Zealand Olympic and World Champion sailors for many years. This is your opportunity to join this tradition as the Tasman Bay Cruising Club welcomes sailors and supporters to the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which fleet for me?

The Trailer Yachts and Sports Boats will race separately on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The NZTYA National Championships will be held in conjunction with the Nelson Regatta.

Keel-boats will be in three divisions, Romeo for the higher handicaps, Juliet for the lower handicaps, and a cruising division for those who don’t wish to race round the buoys. The keel-boats will again race to, from, and within The Abel Tasman National Park on Monday and Tuesday.

Two Yachting Association categories will apply for keel-boats: for all inshore races YA Cat 5 will apply; and for the longer passage races to, from, and within Abel Tasman National Park (weather permitting) YA Cat 4 will apply.

Who sets the Handicaps?

The Nelson Regatta Race Committee has appointed a handicapping team to set handicaps in consultation with Waikawa and Port Nicholson Yacht Clubs handicaps. The Regatta will be run using club handicaps.

  • Handicapped on previous/known performance for the boat or the type of boat
  • Handicaps may be adjusted after each race.

When will I know my Handicap?

Provisional Handicaps for each Division :




Can I live aboard my yacht during the Regatta??

Yes, and Nelson Waterfront and the marina will be a busy place. There are showers and toilets ashore which you can use, and a number of good restaurants and accommodation facilities for those wanting a solid bed.

Do I need to book a marina berth?

We recommend you do book a berth. Please refer to our Marina Information page.

What are the Nelson tides for the period covering the regatta?

Reference New Zealand Hydrographic Authority tide predictions.

What if I have more questions?

If you as an entrant have any further questions you would like answered or have a request for further information, please contact the personnel listed on the Events Contact page or email to:


Also if boats need crew or crew need boats, contact Alister on the above email.

Regatta Sponsors

We wish to extend a huge THANK YOU to our principal sponsor, eVolution Sails and all of our other awesome sponsors!

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