by Mark Orams
In Sir Peter Blake’s memory the Torbay Sailing Club hosts the largest small yacht regatta in the southern hemisphere on the first weekend in December each year. This year’s edition of the Sir Peter Blake Torbay Regatta is on the weekend of seventh and eighth December.
29er Fleet at the 2012 Sir Peter Blake Torbay Regatta
Around 400 competitors are expected from all over New Zealand and a major theme for this year’s regatta will be based around integrity and sportsmanship.
These are values that were lived by Sir Peter Blake and also shown by Emirates Team New Zealand during this years America’s Cup. Skipper Dean Barker will speak with competitors and award prizes from around 4:00pm on Sunday at the regatta marquee.
Peter Burling, a previous winner of the Sir Peter Blake Memorial Trophy (in 2005) for the most outstanding performance by a young sailor at the regatta will also speak with the sailors and present prizes. Peter was the skipper of the New Zealand team which won this years Youth America’s Cup, and with crewmate Blair Tuke won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games and gold at this years 49er World Championships.
The regatta is a major fixture on the sailing calendar and the Torbay Sailing Club is assisted by Yachting New Zealand, other sailing clubs, local volunteers and helpers. This year’s gold sponsor is Volvo Cars, additional support is provided by Harcourts Cooper and Co, Auckland Council, Oceanbridge Shipping, Harken, Zhik, Pub Charity, Altura Coffee and Design Managers.
Even though it is re-known as a youth regatta, competitors often range from seven to 70 years old. The regatta is open to all centre board classes but it has particular strengths in the youth classes. Optimist Green Fleet (first two years of racing), Optimist Open, P Class, Open Bic, Starling, Splash, Techno Boards, Laser 4.7 (Youth), 420s and 29ers. Other (mixed youth and senior) classes include Laser radial and standard rig, RSX boards, Zephyrs, Jolly Boats, Javelins, 3.7s, Paper Tigers, 470's, Wetas and more.
Racing is spread over three separate race courses positioned offshore from Waiake Beach in Auckland. The event features a large beach village area with a massive central event marquee. The road is closed during the event allowing safe access and also storage of the many RIBs required to run the courses and serve as safety boats. There is also a separate reserve area across the road for parking of boat trailers.
All members of the sailing community, friends and family are welcome to attend the regatta festivities. This is a fantastic sailing event, created and hosted by a local family sailing club which has been based at Waiake Beach for over 50 years.
For more information on the regatta and to enter online see Event Website