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Up with the running sand sculpture rules

by 19 Jan 2011Regatta 20110 comments

It’s right up there with running.

Dog Watch

Living at Mahurangi West: When J Barry Ferguson decided it was time to leave Oyster Bay, Long Island, he became a passionate champion of the Mahurangi landscape. image Rizzoli Publications

Of the perennially popular shoreside events at the Mahurangi Regatta, sand sculpture accounts for nearly as many certificates as the running races—33 were awarded in 2010.

Inspired by the creativity of year’s last sculptures, sand-sculpture judge J Barry Ferguson is about to going shopping for some stylish prizes, including for a section for adults—as opposed to an adult section. A prize will also be awarded for a Mahurangi Action Plan ‍–‍themed sculpture. As usual, certificates will be awarded for both place-getters and participants—all participants, this time.

Mr Ferguson is well qualified for his regatta role. Before he forsook New York to become a Mahurangi West resident a little more than a decade ago, events were a large part of his life. His enthusiasm for the relatively low-key, local regatta is infectious:

Sand castles, fun with bucket and spade, oh yeah!—but in previous years, the sand of Sullivan Bay has produced wonderful sea creatures, large sharks, sexy mermaids and starfish, along with rowboats, forts, and yes, even some castles.

Plan to bring all the family to the beach to encourage our native talent. As in past years there will be three classes: Under 7 years, 7‍–‍11 years and 12‍–‍16 years.

But wait, this year we introduce a class for adults—parents, aunts, uncles and grandies. Within designated areas, diggers can begin from 1‍ ‍pm, work to finish by 2.30‍ ‍pm, when judging takes place.

Prizes awarded for first, second, and third place winners plus certificates for all competitors.

The dark cloud on the northeastern horizon is the possibility that the La Niña ‍–‍charged cyclone season could cause the shoreside events to be cancelled. This has only happened three or four times since Friends of the Mahurangi revived the regatta in 1977, but meteorologists have consistently forecast a wet and wild mid to late January.

Dog Watch

The Long Way Home: The account of J Barry Ferguson’s journey back to New York was screened in the Mahurangi West Hall as a hall fund-raiser. DVD design Cimino Cole

In 2005, in response to an easterly forecast, the regatta picnic was transferred to Scotts Landing. The regional council had picked up the tag for a marquee and activities to launch the Mahurangi Action Plan. If the marquee had gone up at Sullivan Bay, as planned, the catering and Prohibition Big Band would have gone to waste, with yachtsmen reluctant anchor off a lee shore.

Prior to the regatta lapsing, during World War Two, the regatta picnic went to the sheltered side of the harbour, i.e. stayed at Scotts Landing in easterly weather. This year, however, regatta resources are not up to the task of transferring to Scotts Landing, was strong easterly weather to develop.

Much can, and in fact needs to, happen between now and Saturday week.

Sand sculpture prize divisions

  • Under 7 years
  • 7 to 11 years
  • 12 to 16 years
  • Adults
  • Mahurangi Action Plan theme: Weaving science and community

Entrants can be individuals or teams.

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