by Zoe Hawkins
At least 500 boats are expected to grace Auckland's harbour for the city's Anniversary Regatta, and amongst them will be young sailors competing for two Auckland Championship titles.
Optimists will be one of the classes sailing their major championships as part of the Anniversary Day Regatta
These are the Auckland Championships for the Starling class, to be held at Maraetai Beach, and the Auckland Championships for the Optimist Class, to be held at Wakatere Boating Club, on the North Shore.
Both classes attract serious young sailors: The Optimist is one of the most popular sailing boats in the world, and is popular as a learn to sail boat for children, that is also raced up to world championship level. The Starling, designed by the late Des Townson, is unique to New Zealand, is fun and exciting to sail, and is a platform that launches many young sailors into Olympic classes and a lifetime as sailors.
For youth sailors, both events are prestigious and hard fought for, and sailors will attend that represent yacht clubs throughout Auckland.
Dinghy racing will also be hosted at five other yacht clubs, for over twenty different types of sailing boats, including skiffs and windsurfers, and classes specifically for sailors with disabilities.
Race start times and locations for dinghy sailing:
9.45am: Narrowneck Beach - Sea Scouts
10.00am: Maraetai Sailing Club - Starling - Auckland Championships
10.00am: Wakatere Boating Club (Optimist - Auckland Championships, Sunburst and Hobie 16’s)?
11.00am: Kohimarama Yacht Club – P Class, Starling, Arrow, NS 14, Splash, 29er, RS:X and Techno Boards?
11.00am: Northcote Birkenhead Yacht Club – Idle Along, Navy Crown, YW Heron, X3, 2.4mR, Access Liberty, Jolly Boats?
12.30pm: Tamaki Yacht Club – Laser, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Mistral and Phase II
Those interested in watching should arrive about an hour before the advertised start time, to see boats being rigged up and launched. Full details for spectators and competitors can be found at www.regatta.org.nz or by calling 0800 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.