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Classic Yachts: Images from Mahurangi Regatta - 'A' Classic division

by Richard Gladwell 26 Jan 01:18 PST 26 January 2020
Ariki crosses ahead of Rainbow - 2020 Mahurangi Regatta - Mahurangi Cruising Club - January 25, 2020 © Richard Gladwell /

The Classic Yacht Association staged the annual Mahurangi Regatta on the picturesque Mahurangi Harbour, about 25nm north of Auckland.

One of the earliest settled areas of Auckland, the harbour has changed little over the last 50 years, making a perfect backdrop for the fleet. It is one of several 'gunk-holes' in the Hauraki Gulf that offer an all weather haven.

The yachts usually race or sail up on the Friday night, race on the Saturday, enjoy a prizegiving and post race party at historic Scotts Landing. Some of the boats return to Auckland for further racing on Monday, the remainder stay on and cruise in the area and nearby Kawau Island with many returning in a cruising race - also part of the Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

Acceptance as a Classic yacht on the register is strictly controlled. Most of the 'A Classic' fleet have been faithfully restored to their original plans, the use of carbon spars, and sails, for instance are not acceptable.

The course for the Classics is always the same - two laps of Saddle Island at the entrance to the Mahurangi and around a mark in the upper harbour, twice around. The restored trading scow, Jane Gifford, is one of two scows still sailing in Auckland. The flat bottomed sailing craft were used for transport around the Hauraki Gulf - able to be sailed into a a flat tidal area in a harbour or bay - loaded with farm animals, produce or logs - and then refloated on the rising tide and sailed back to Auckland. Jane Gifford is now permanently berthed in Warkworth - the historic trading town on the Mahurangi estuary, and now a popular tourist destination.

Entries were 20% up this year with 120 yachts entered with the racing being conducted in a light to moderate SE wind that only settled in late afternoon.

As is usual for the regatta the Mahurangi turned on a brilliant day.

Next year the regatta will take place during the Challenger Selection Series for the Prada Cup, and for those in Auckland for the event, the Mahurangi Regatta is not to be missed.

Here's a gallery of images from the day of the 'A Classic' yachts who make up the Auckland fleet, and will again be racing tomorrow, Monday in the Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

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