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Idle Along 80th Anniversary and Moffat Cup Regatta this weekend

by Keith Salmon on 23 Feb 2010
The Idle Along class is celebrating it’’s 80th Anniversary SW

The Moffat Cup for Idle Alongs will be sailed at Birkenhead on the weekend of 27 and 28 February for the first time in over 40 years. This year also celebrates 80 years since Alf Harvey's first Idle-Along was launched in Wellington.

From 1936 until the mid 1960s some of the cream of NZ's yachties competed fiercely for this trophy in annual competition. Among the best known winners was Peter Mander who later went on to win Olympic gold.

On the weekend of 27 to 28 February, some of the old Moffat Cup hands will be at Birkenhead Wharf to watch a new generation compete for the cup over five races. Amongst them will be the last Aucklander to win the trophy, Don Barn of Mount Eden who won in 1965 for Auckland. Don still sails a boat of his own design and is to see the Moffat Cup revived and looks forward to watching the Moffat Cup revival regatta.

A key force behind the Idle Along revival regatta, is West Auckland boat builder Gary Matthews. Gary has many stories to tell of the Moffat Cup days in the 1960s. Over recent years Gary has built six new IAs, restored five and repaired countless others for enthusiasts. Gary will be racing Conspiracy for its owner Birkenhead yachtie Peter Money who retired recently from competition in his 80s. At 70, Gary will be one of the oldest competitors, but a new generation of keen IA skippers are coming through in their 30 to 50 year age group, some of them children of the past generation.

Recent Auckland championship winners Maree and Peter Sharp will be coming from the Bay of Islands and should be amongst the hot favourites to win the trophy. Another keen contender is Tony Smith from Kaitaia.

The event has been organized by the Idle-Along Association of NZ in association with the the Wellington Yachting Association who are custodians of the trophy. John Grace, W.Y.A. president has said that his association is keen to preserve the status of the Moffat Cup and to support the revival of the Idle Along Class.

The revival of the Moffat Cup was a big factor for two Auckland men deciding to buy an Idle-Along, Pilot Tom Logan of Milford is keen on classic boats and bought Diana from veteran skipper Ian Black. Tom hopes to form a group of IA owners who would like to sail with their sons and daughters. The IA is an ideal family boat for this as it can race with a crew of two or three and it can cruise with a family of children.

Like many IA enthusiasts, Tom used to sail IAs in his younger days around the gulf. Graham Rowe of Helensville has sailed in many dinghy classes and bought his IA from another veteran skipper Ron Maskell. Graham is keen to try his hand at the legendary Moffat Cup.

So far 15 boats have registered for the event but organisers are hopeful a few more will appear on the day. All old IA hands and fans are welcome to watch the race and to meet old faces at the Northcote & Birkenhead Yacht Club after the races.

Next year it is planned that the Moffat Cup will be held in the Bay of Islands. Plans and advice will be available for anyone who wants to build or restore an IA for the event.

For more information about the regatta, ring Idle-Along Association secretary Keith Salmon on 021 240 9414.
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