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Classic fleet comes together for two major regattas in Auckland    
Tue, 15 Jan 2013

They do things a bit differently in the world of classic sailing and with two major regatta weekends nearing, including Auckland Anniversary Weekend activities in Mahurangi and Auckland in January, and Southern Trust Classic Yacht Regatta in February.

Preparations are in full swing to make sure that everything is well and truly ready, boats included.

'Classic yacht events involve a very interesting and fun bunch of characters,' says Steve Cranch of the Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand. 'We are passionate about our craft, and the owners, like their boats, have diverse and fascinating stories to tell'.

The Classic Yacht Association was formed in 1995 to look after the interests of the hundreds of classic craft that exist in New Zealand, and to encourage the spirit of fellowship between sailors who take delight in these yachts. This means that, for many reasons, any event on the Association's calendar tends to be that bit extra adventurous, spontaneous and fun.

On Friday 25 January – the weekend of Auckland Anniversary Regatta – the CYANZ Night Race to Mahurangi will see a fleet of nearly 50 classics race north. Once there, they will be joined by many vessels, of all shapes and sizes, new and vintage, taking part in festivities during Saturday.

All up, the enticing sight of classic sails on the picturesque Mahurangi Harbour, the summer weather, the social activities and fun beachside dinghy racing, attracts an estimated 1,000 boats to the area.

'It becomes a massive gathering point, and it works because it is relaxed. If it was more organised, it probably wouldn't work,' says Steve.

The classics participate in the Mahurangi Cruising Club Regatta on Saturday, and race back to Auckland on Sunday, where they are lit up and berthed in the Viaduct Harbour, spending the night and being available for visitors to check out and admire, before taking part in Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations on Monday, including a harbour race that starts and finishes off Princes Wharf in Downtown Auckland.

From there, things take a more serious turn, and the three-day Classic Yacht Regatta, on 8, 9 and 10 February, is the competitive calendar highlight for many of the big names of classic sailing, including Thelma, Rawhiti, Waitangi, Rainbow, Little Jim, Prize, Jessie Logan, Wairiki, Katrina II as well as for dozens of other well loved boats.

The 2013 event will have a similar format to that of 2012: race HQ will be a marquee in front of the Viaduct Events Centre, where the fleet will be berthed and where spectators are welcome to watch from the sidelines, and here will be a shore based collection of smaller classics and dayboats to view.

Three days of challenging harbour racing are designed to allow for early finishes and plenty of socialising at daily prizegivings, and spot prizes include a holiday in Noumea, staying at the Ramada Plaza, and with flights courtesy Aircalin. Sponsors are: Altex Coatings, Beacon Sails, Lombardini, Coast NZ, Mt Gay Rum, Events Clothing, Explore NZ and Yamaha Outboards.

'This regatta has a long history. It has been held at Kawau, Motuihe, and other locations, but we settled at the Viaduct after 2000, when the yacht Waitangi arrived in Auckland for the Millennium celebrations,' says Steve Cranch.

Visit to find out more about the Classic Yacht Association, its boats and the people that love them.

by Zoe Wilde

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