by Zoe Hawkins
Thelma sailing in the 2013 Auckland Anniversary Regatta
Auckland's Anniversary Regatta on 28 January gave everything a sailor could want: A clean easterly breeze that provided plenty of speed for most of the course. A sea with just enough chop to keep it interesting. And a diverse and interesting fleet to race against.
For the spectators, participating on the sidelines of the Regatta that marks 173 years since the founding of Auckland City, it gave sunshine and the option of many places to go and things to see and do.
Nearly 500 boats and 2,000 participants took part in Monday's Anniversary Day Regatta and if it seemed like boats were coming from all directions, it is because they were: for keelboat divisions, races started from various parts of the Hauraki Gulf, including the Auckland CBD, to converge on the Waitemata Harbour. Dinghy racing happened in a number of Auckland locations, and other events that were part of the regatta included remote control sailing, Waka ama, and Dragon Boat Racing.
Twenty tug boats throttled down at the North Head startline; an astonishing sight, with Tamaki, Strathalian and Orion taking out handicap honours, and the workhorse Waka Kume winning on line. They circumnavigated a course inside Rangitoto Island, before returning to base for a firefighting demonstration, and parade.
Twelve Waka Ama, each named raced for a mountain that Iwi identify with, raced from Orakei to Princes Wharf, and the race was won by Te Atuanui (Kaipara) with Pukekaroro (Kaiwaka) second, and Tamahunga (Pakiri), third.
Spectators lined Princes Wharf and the seaward side of the Viaduct to see 21 classic yachts begin their race: Kiariki (K11) was the A Classic Handicap Winner, Ta'Aroa took the Modern Division, Jonquil the B division, and Paramour was the best of the B division Moderns, on handicap.
Nearly two dozen modern keeler designs also raced, in five separate divisions, including a number of Stewart 34s – a popular class that originated as the first match race fleet, now more than fifty years old and considered one of the true 'modern classics'. The handicap winners in the divisions were Dream, Perfect Alibi, Panacea, Boogie Flash, and Duty Free.
The Passage race is designed to allow anyone holiday mode aboard their boat for the first part of the long weekend, to join in the regatta while their boat is still in cruise mode – meaning it is carrying heavier equipment and supplies that it would probably not normally race with.
Six H28s raced from Mahurangi to Auckland, led in by Burda, with a fleet of Trackers and Open class keelers. Ten boats in all, including six Reactors began their journey at Rakino Island, and a Robemar won her own race, starting at the bottom end of Waiheke and finishing in Auckland. Honourable mentions for handicap wins in individual divisions go to Comfortabl Numb, Babylon, Gulf Ruler, Arbitrator and Mithrill.
Nick Egnot Johnson became the 2013 Auckland Optimist Champion, when racing came to a close at Wakatere Boating Club.
At Takapuna, Mike O'Brien was the best 3.7 sailor on the day, and Grant Beck was the top of the Zephyrs.
Greg Paul took out line honours in the Electron Fleet Radio Controlled racing at Westhaven, Grant Lane won the Marblehead Division in South Auckland, and Terry Valder was top of the IOM fleet.
Twenty Sea Scout boats raced, marking the encouraging revival of this breeding ground for future yachtsmen and women: the winners were Orewa, New Lynn, and Calliope.
About 400 dragon boaters faced off in the Viaduct. 'Auckland's Anniversary Day Regatta is a favourite of Pink Dragons Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team,' says Robin Gamble, Captain of the winning Pink Dragons Team. 'This year was probably the best ever, with a sparkling sunny day, crowds of spectators, fast races, and a festive atmosphere. The exhilaration of racing in the Viaduct Harbour, showcasing this exciting team sport, is an event not to be missed.'?
All up, 16 events were hosted throughout Auckland, including gaff riggers, sloops, racing keelers, multihulls, sailing dinghies, radio controlled boats, Waka ama, dragon boats, sea scout craft, classic yachts, and vintage tug boats.
One of the Navy’s two ANZAC Class frigates, HMNZS Te Mana was also part of the activities at sea.
Organisations that supported 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.
Full results are on the regatta website, www.regatta.org.nz