Organisers of the Mahurangi Regatta on Auckland Anniversary Weekend are grappling with how to accommodate spectators under Covid-19 restrictions.
Mahurangi Cruising Club captain Martin Howson is expecting around 150 boats to enter the regatta and Mahurangi Action’s Cimino Cole is anticipating “thousands” will watch from the beach.
Events at Sullivans Bay and Scotts Landing for spectators have been cancelled, as organisers say it would be impossible to comply with requirements to check vaccine passports in an open park, and Auckland Council would not provide permission.
Cimino is encouraging people to make use of the extensive coastline at Mahurangi Regional Park and Mahurangi Scenic Reserve to have socially distanced picnics to watch the sailing.
He says there will be spot prizes for the best-chosen picnic spots, which can be photographed and sent to Mahurangi Action.
Scotts Landing will likely prove a logistical challenge for picnickers as Council security will be placing cones on the side of the road to prevent parking. There will also be no shuttles.
Cimino says a council grant will likely be spent on providing toilets at different locations around the parks to encourage picnickers to spread out.
will be the 45th regatta since the event was revived by Mahurangi Action. The full history of the regatta goes back more than 150 years.
A huge weekend of sailing
Mahurangi Regatta festivities will start with a parade of classic launches from Scotts Landing to Sullivans Bay on Saturday, January 29, at 10.30am. The regatta itself will then take place from 12.40pm to 2pm with seven different divisions this year.
Each of the division’s races will start at Sullivans Bay, where the Jane Gifford will be anchored as a start boat. The exact course will be announced on the day on the race sheet and will depend on wind direction.
One sure highlight will be the A-class division with vessels over 12.2 meters (40 foot). Most were built before 1985 and some date back to the 1890s. They will race from Sullivans Bay, around Te Haupa Saddle Island and out to Blanche Channel, past Moturekareka Island, and back.
The prizegiving will be at Scotts Landing, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
On Sunday morning, there will be a clean-up of the beach and helpers are treated to breakfast.
While the Classic Yacht Association hosts a race back to Auckland for returning boats, locally there will be a race from the Sandspit Yacht Club to Kawau Island, and celebrations afterwards at the Kawau Boating Club. Timing is still to be announced.
Finally, on Monday there will be another race from Kawau Island to Auckland. The Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta will also be held from Westhaven.