by Zoe Hawkins
Oceanbridge Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, Auckland New Zealand
The 2013 Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta is expected to be bigger than ever. Boats of different shapes and sizes will gather at the scenic harbour of New Zealand’s most prominent metropolis to spend a day of entertaining, but competitive, racing in celebration of the City’s birthday.
Sailors and spectators are invited to mark their diaries now for one of the world's oldest sailing regattas, incorporating events for all types of yachts big and small, dragon boats, tugboats remote controlled yachts, and more. Harking back to the days when sailing was a true national sport, Auckland Anniversary Regatta is a spectacle of a birthday present for a city that is encircled by water.
'If you grew up in Auckland, you may have memories of getting up early on Auckland Anniversary Day to get down to the water,' says regatta spokesperson, Eric Mahoney of the event that was founded 173 years ago to mark the city's birthday. 'If you weren't going sailing, you were probably looking for a picnic spot with a view of the harbour, so you could watch hundreds of sails moving around the racecourse.'
'The world has changed a lot over the decades, but Anniversary Regatta is still about one thing: boating. The classic yachts of yesterday are joined by grand prix race machines, children's dinghies, tug boats and dragon boats, and it all comes together for a fantastic spectacle.'
Eric urges anyone that owns a boat to get it out on the water for Auckland Anniversary Regatta, and for anyone that knows someone who owns a boat, to convince them to take part in the festivities.
'There are 16 events happening in different parts of the Hauraki Gulf, starting at 10am on Monday 28 January,' he says.
The regatta is designed for spectators, and times and places to watch from will be communicated closer to Anniversary Day.
Auckland Anniversary Regatta events include:
• Tugboat Race
• Waitemata Harbour Races (nine divisions for keelboats, tall ships and waka)
• Harbour Challenge from Orakei Wharf – M Class, Flying 15, Sports Boats, Trailer Yachts etc,
Trapeze/High Performance Dinghy, Skiffs, Foil Moths and all ‘Off the Beach’ multihulls
• The Mahurangi to Orakei Wharf H28 Passage Racecourse
• The Mahurangi to Princes Wharf Passage Race – for keelboats
• The Ponui to Princes Wharf Passage Race
• Centreboard racing
• Kohimarama Yacht Club (P Class; Starling; Arrow; NS14; 420: Splash: 29er; RS:X; Techno 293 Boards)
• Maraetai Sailing Club (Starlings)
• Narrowneck Beach (Sea Scout Cutters)
• Northcote-Birkenhead Yacht Club (Idle Along; Navy Crown; Y W Heron; X3; Optimist Green; 2.4 mR;
Access Liberty; Jolly Boats)
• Tamaki Yacht Club (Laser; Laser Radial; Laser 4.7; Mistral; Phase II)
• Wakatere Boating Club (Sunburst, Hobie 16, Optimists)
• Dragon Boat Racing at the Viaduct Harbour
• Waka ama Canoes – Okahu Bay to Princes Wharf
• Radio Controlled Yachts (Westhaven and Wattle Downs)
Full details of racing can be found at Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta Organisations supporting the event are the Royal New Zealand Navy, Classic Hits 97.4FM, the Spirit of Adventure Trust, The Southern Trust, The Lion Foundation, and Ports of Auckland Ltd.