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January 2011 to see four regatta firsts

by 15 Aug 2010Regatta 20110 comments

Event date Saturday 29 January 2011
High tide 16:02 (0.95 m from mean level of sea)

Sailing events Mahurangi Cruising Club
Shoreside events Friends of the Mahurangi

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It doesn’t get much better.

Prize-Giving Crowd Assembles

Former Glory of Sail: The scow Jane Gifford under sail on Manukau Harbour prior to her disintegration, and subsequent rebuilding at Warkworth. photograph Subritzky family album

The Friday night race to Mahurangi. The old-style leave-your-wallet-at-home regatta picnic at Sullivan Bay. The visual delight of Aotearoa’s biggest assembly of classic yachts. The prize-giving dance at Scotts Landing Saturday night, and the races back to join the Auckland Anniversary Regatta, on the Monday.

But the brilliant can become the sublime; with the re-built Jane Gifford set to attend for the second year, but for the first time under sail.

Centreboard sailing will see a revival. Historically, small boats were an important part of the regatta, and a decade back scores of centreboard yachts sailing from Manly to join the regatta were part of the spectacle.

And 2011 will be the first Mahurangi Regatta that enjoys official recognition, by being included in the Mahurangi Action Plan. The action plan attacks the sedimentation that is plaguing the harbour, and seeks to protect the outstanding natural beauty of the harbourscape. The regatta is the one natural Mahurangi event where the work being done, and being planned, can reach the regional audience.

The fourth first: The complementary Mahurangi and Auckland regattas will take place under the one local council. This will provide the new council an opportunity to demonstrate its support for events hosted in the region’s hinterland.

Such additional support is certainly needed.

At the last regatta, the Mahurangi Cruising Club reached the realisation that professional help was needed to ensure an enjoyable days sailing, without swamping long-serving volunteers. Similarly, it proved a struggle to recruit sufficient volunteers to churn out 500 venison hamburgers for revellers at the prize-giving and dance. And while 500 burgers proved too few, Stubbs Village Butchery is onboard guaranteeing that lack of patties won’t be a limiting factor.

Since it was revived by Friends of the Mahurangi in 1977, the regatta steadily attracted more and more boats, mainly from the Waitematā. Meantime, the strength of the organising body, bodies since 1990, has ebbed and flowed.

Now moves are underway to more closely involve the participating yacht clubs and city hall, to relieve regatta stalwarts of unfair burdens.

As naval architect Philip Bolger (1927‍–‍2009) once reminded his readers

We are supposed to be having fun, aren’t we?


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