In typical Kiwi fashion, sailors and marine industry experts alike, battled unpredictable conditions and braved the weather at the recent Auckland International Boat Show held in the bustling downtown metropolis of the Viaduct Basin.
Starlight Express (left) winter racing on the Waitemata
Royal Akarana Yacht Club (RAYC) was fortunate to be offered a space within the boat show to promote the category 1 offshore yacht race and cruise rally, Sail Noumea. With limited space available in the showcase tents, a space on a newly erected marina was provided and the Davidson 55 Starlight Express would act as the 'stand'.
Owned by RAYC Vice Commodore and seasoned offshore campaigner Mike Wilson, Starlight Express proved to be more than just your average display case. The famous ocean racer who has such titles as Sydney to Hobart and Admirals Cup under her belt drew the crowds with her classic beauty and distinct IOR style.
Whilst the main focus of the Auckland International Boat Show was to promote Sail Noumea and encourage potential competitors to enter, the four day event also enabled RAYC to introduce the new Sailing and Paddling Academies, club facilities, and other significant offshore races.
Considered to be New Zealand’s premier offshore racing club and home to the blue water sailing concept, RAYC is on the verge of a historical change and will once again have their fleets dominating the waters of Auckland Harbour and beyond. The club is enthusiastic to promote their new and improved learn to sail and learn to paddle board classes and put themselves back on the off-the-beach sailing map.
Laser start - under general recall with series leader Michael Bullot in the centre of the shot - Sail Auckland -2011 - Day 3
'RAYC has just been awarded the rights to host the ISAF Grade 1 event Sail Auckland which will see many local and international sailors take to the water in a four day high performance regatta,' said newly appointed Commodore Matthew Woodley.
'We are truly honoured by this and will work towards hosting the best event in February. We have an amazing team of qualified volunteers who are lining up to be a part of Sail Auckland. It’s going to be fantastic,' continued Woodley.
Established in 1895 RAYC is holding onto its historical past but embracing the future.
'We have just recently purchased a fleet of RS Fevas which will replace the old Cadets within our Sailing Academy fleet,' said Woodley. 'Kids want to go fast nowadays so it’s out with the old and in with the new to ensure we can keep these young sailors excited whilst on the water.'
Sail Noumea is a joint venture of RAYC, Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) and Cercle Nautique Caledonien (CNC). The unique event will see two separate start dates with the Kiwi fleet commencing the race at 1400 hours on Saturday 2 June 2012 and the Aussies set to sail off from the same time on Sunday 3 June. Both countries will also have a cruising division with these fleets given the opportunity to start within their desired weather window one week leading up to the official start time. Other divisions include Multihulls (NZ) and shorthanded.
RAYC offers some fantastic membership opportunities including a family value pack. With an array of club social activities, sensational sprawling views of Auckland city and the harbour, RAYC really is the place to be.
For more information on the club visit www.rayc.org.nz