Regatta revival looks at forty
This month’s Mahurangi Regatta marks the 40th anniversary of the venerable event’s revival.
Founded as Friends of the Mahurangi three years earlier, Mahurangi Action revived the regatta in 1977—the event had lapsed during World War II.
Planned as a one-off, the response, however, was unequivocal. There was no question that the regatta could be other than an annual—the Mahurangi Harbour community’s only—event. Mahurangi Action ran the event in conjunction with the Sandspit Yacht Club until 1989, after which the then newly formed Mahurangi Cruising Club took over as regatta race organiser. Mahurangi Action continues to be the shoreside regatta organiser, which includes organising the after-match prize giving and dance at Scotts Landing.
Regatta day, which, since 1979, has been the Saturday of Auckland Anniversary weekend, kicks off at 11 am at Sullivans Bay. In addition to the gamut of perennial, picnic-day, running, three-legged, sack, spud-spoon etc. beach events. Dinghy races were once the first and most popular evet of the day, but now so few are used as tenders, having been replaced by inflatables, the void, this regatta, will be filled by a stand-up paddleboard relay race, thanks to a local paddleboard builder supplying half a dozen for shared use.
Yacht races get underway at 1 pm, with the Jane Gifford as flagship, and the course—twice around Saddle Island and back up the harbour to Scotts Landing—provides an unparalleled spectacle, particularly for those who take the picnic lunch to Tungutu Point for the most panoramic vantage from which to appreciate the more than a hundred classic wooden boats competing. So many fleetfooted A-class keel boats attend, that they are judged separately. For those who don’t move from their beachside picnic places, Waitematā Woodies provides a parade, threading their way through the hundreds of anchored craft in the bay.
Prize giving is at Scotts Landing, and, since 2004, when Mahurangi Action revived the traditional after-match function, the 18-piece West City Jazz Orchestrauntil last year’s regatta, known as the Prohibition Big Band 1940s swing-era music, which, by 11 pm, has everybody dancing.
Although it is one of New Zealand’s oldest—almost certainly earlier than the first written record, of the 1858 event—the Mahurangi Regatta is not standing still. This summer will be the second held with the help of a major, in-it-for-the-long-haul sponsor, Teak Construction. With Teak Construction’s money, and manpower on the day, the event is sustainable for the first time in 40 years. And with 22-year-old Tessa Berger as its president, and 21-year-old Caitlin Owston-Doyle its shoreside regatta organiser, the future of Mahurangi Action and the Mahurangi Regatta has never looked stronger.
But while Teak Construction’s manpower is a shot in the arm, the Mahurangi Regatta couldn’t function without its small army of volunteers, mostly Mahurangi West residents. Those volunteers are now a little more visible thanks to bright Teak Construction-orange regatta t-shirts. The volunteers are also better sustained now, with gourmet sausages barbecued by a Teak Construction company director. The job of rounding up sufficient volunteers is no small matter.
This year corralling the volunteers is Caitlin’s responsibility—hopefully some readers will help make her task easier by proactively making contact, via the comment form below.
Mahurangi Regatta supporters
Browns Bay Boating Club
Bucklands Beach Yacht Club
Classic Yacht Association
Corporate AV Services
Devonport Yacht Club
Gulf Harbour Yacht Club
Mahurangi Cruising Club—host club and race organiser
Mahurangi East Residents and Ratepayers Association—co-host of prize giving and dance
Mahurangi Oyster Farmers Association
Milford Cruising Club
New World Warkworth
Panmure Yacht and Boating Club
Pine Harbour Cruising Club
pūhoi net +64 27 488 8124
Richmond Yacht Club
Rob Campbell Sound
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Sandspit Yacht Club
Teak Construction—principal regatta sponsor
Weiti Boating Club