by Mike Rose
MIA Apprentice (1) - 2012 Marine Trades Challenge
The designing, boatbuilding and sailing talents of New Zealand’s future boatbuilders and other marine trades will again be on display on Saturday, February 16, at the Marine Trades Challenge in Westhaven.
The annual Marine Trades Challenge is open to the public (there is no entry fee) and traditionally attracts a big crowd to St Mary’s Bay Beach, off Westhaven Drive.
This year, teams of marine industry apprentices from 11 company teams will take part in the challenge. So, too, will four secondary schools teams, including the competition’s first team from Auckland Boys Grammar School. The Grammar boys will join two teams from Napier’s Tamatea High School and the 2012 school winners, Mercury Bay School from the Coromandel.
All of the teams will have just two hours to build a boat capable of being sailed, paddled and motored around the short downtown Auckland course. Their boat can either be built to their own design or to plans supplied by the organisers.
Coordinator Mike Birdsall, from the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation, says the Challenge is always fiercely contested and highly entertaining.
'It is a great day out for the whole family,' he says. 'Not only can people get to see a variety of boats built right before their eyes, they can also watch as the designs are put to the test close to shore.
'This is an often one of the most entertaining parts of the day. While most of the boats prove very seaworthy there are always a few that don’t quite make it, and that’s when the fun begins!'
The teams will start building their boats at 10am and racing will begin at 1pm. Members of the public are welcome to come along and watch, there is no entry fee and free parking is available in the white spaces in the Westhaven marina car park.