Wednesday before and after the regatta
Speaks volumes about the new principal Mahurangi Regatta sponsor.
Before the organisers and volunteers had had time to officially thank Teak Construction for the massive shot-in-the-arm, the company’s managing director had invited all the volunteers to wine and cheese in the Mahurangi West Hall, to thank them for their efforts, and to brainstorm on ideas for next year’s event.
Three ideas stood out and will be implemented, others will in time, but not necessarily in time for 28 January 2017, the Saturday of next Auckland Anniversary weekend, and therefore Mahurangi Regatta Day. (Some were perplexed this year that Auckland Anniversary Day was in February, an issue covered whimsically in Intricacies of the Gregorian Calendar and Fixing the Mahurangi Regatta.)
The idea that is bound to be the best innovation since the introduction of participation certificates to take the sting out of failing to win a place, is to provide a Mahurangi Regatta podium on which the place-getters, or anybody for that matter, can stand while proud parents and grandparents record the moment for posterity. And the fact that it will be painted Teak Construction orange and sport the sponsor’s logo will captured by a hundred happy snaps will be more than well-deserved exposure.
The next, and completely obvious, addition will be Mahurangi Regatta flags—or more properly, pennants—and again, white on orange, and with a discrete Teak Construction logo. They will fly from poles at the starting line, the finishing line, above the commentator’s platform, above the entries tent, and at the entrance to Mahurangi Regional Park. They will also be on sale, and given the propensity of sailors to fly flags, should provide some welcome additional regatta income. And speaking of the starting line, it is proposed to reverse the recent tradition and run the beach races away from the commentator’s platform rather than towards it. The direction that Mahurangi Regatta races are run seems to be a little like the planet’s magnetic field. For a number of years they run south-to-north, then, in a process as inexplicable as geomagnetic reversal, the ‘polarity’ changes to north-to-south. Having the starting line at the northern, boat-launching end will allow tighter communication between the commentator and the race starter, and will avoid concentrating the spectators in an already congested part of the beach.
Not all the volunteers made it to the post-regatta brainstorming wine-and-cheese, which, given the 34½-hour notice, was entirely understandable. As there had also been a call for a pre-regatta briefing, for which there had been insufficient time to organise, it was an easy decision to, from next year’s event onward, designate the evening of the Wednesday before and the Wednesday after the regatta for, respectively, a pre-regatta briefing and a post-regatta brainstorming session, wine-and-cheese, with, of course, non-alcoholic and dairy-free alternatives—the 2017 dates to calendarise being:
- 25 January 2017
- Wednesday evening pre-regatta briefing
- 28 January 2017
- Saturday Mahurangi Regatta
- 1 February 2017
- Wednesday evening post-regatta brainstorming
Which somehow brings to mind an issue that received enthusiastic discussion: Teak Construction’s ‘leftover’ gourmet sausages that were offered to hungry children in the middle of the afternoon—said children sufficiently hungry to quickly adjust to the challenging, to adults mouth-watering, Westmere Butchery blue cheese and walnut recipe. It is likely that pressure will build for the pre-regatta briefing to feature the award-winning barbecued Westmere Butchery sausages, as an irresistible added inducement to potential regatta volunteers.
Today’s wet weather and that forecast for next Saturday is a salutary reminder to organisers that the Mahurangi Regatta has to always be capable of being scaled back to, at best, a sailing regatta, or even, as was necessary in 2011, cancelled altogether. This just one of the reasons to adhere to the good old-fashioned leave-your-wallet-at-home picnic regatta format that committee members, many of who had lived from the Great Depression, were adamant about when reviving the event for 1977—they wanted it to be a day when hard-pressed parents were spared the heartache of refusing children tempted with all sorts of treats on offer. Aside from the hundreds of voluntary organiser-hours, and sponsor’s time and investment that is lost in the event of cancellation, there is a certain level of non-refundability that is difficult to avoid. Providing food would add to that headache, and set the organisers up with the responsibility of ensuring that no-one ever went hungry. This would pose a considerable challenge given how a particular combination of weather, including during the lead up to the regatta, and road congestion, can result in a dramatic variation in attendees—witness the washout of the Warkworth Agriculture and Pastoral Show the Saturday prior to this year’s regatta, thanks to one motorcycle crashing.
But the principal reason for not selling food at the regatta is to respect the regional parks’ pack-it-in, pack-it-out ethos. If the Mahurangi Regatta strayed too far outside its current inclusive, low-key format, Auckland Council would reconsider the $10 209 in fees it currently waives in respect of the event. And on the ground, hours were spent before, during and after the event by the rangers rostered on during Auckland Anniversary weekend, and their performance was exemplary, and the epitome of good-natured helpfulness. Other, differently inclined staff members could just as readily discharge their duties by-the-book, if they considered that the park’s policies were being flagrantly flouted and disrespected.
Organisers and sponsors, while keen to respond to the suggestions of the volunteers, are also keen to hear from regatta-goers, the real owners of the Mahurangi Regatta.
Mahurangi Regatta supporters and collaborators
Browns Bay Boating Club
Bucklands Beach Yacht Club
Citywide ElectricalClassic Yacht Association
Corporate AV Services
Devonport Yacht Club
Gulf Harbour Yacht Club
Mahurangi Action—principal organiser, revived regatta in 1977
Mahurangi Cruising Club—host club and sailing organiser
Mahurangi East Residents and Ratepayers Association—co-host of prize giving and dance
Mahurangi Oyster Farmers Association
Milford Cruising Club
Nautica Shipping & Logistics
New World Warkworth
Panmure Yacht and Boating Club
Pine Harbour Cruising Club
Richmond Yacht Club
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Sandspit Yacht Club
Teak Construction—principal regatta sponsor
Weiti Boating Club