• Competitors as young as 7 or 8 years old are expected to take part in the Optimist Green fleet at Maraetai.
    Competitors as young as 7 or 8 years old are expected to take part in the Optimist Green fleet at Maraetai.
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They may be small in size, but the centreboard fleets taking part in the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta represent by far the largest portion of participants. Hundreds of sailors are expected to take to water in dinghies all over Auckland on Monday 28 January 2019 as part of the event.

The bulk of them will be located at Maraetai Sailing Club, where around 300 boats and 350 youth sailors are expected to take part in the Barfoot & Thompson Beachlands Auckland Championships, the final day of which coincides with the Anniversary Day Regatta.

Sean McRae from Maraetai Sailing Club says the idea to combine the two events came about in 2016, when Maraetai last hosted the Optimist and Starling Auckland Championships. Rather than having two separate events vying for participant numbers, the two regattas were incorporated so competitors could race in both, with their results from Monday counting towards both the three-day Auckland Championships, and the Anniversary Day Regatta.

Over Anniversary Weekend in 2019, Maraetai will host the Optimist, Starling, RS Feva, 420 and 29er fleets. With five different classes taking part, it will be by far the biggest component of the Anniversary Regatta in terms of participant numbers, and one of the biggest events on the Auckland racing calendar, second only to the Sir Peter Blake Regatta.

Sean says incorporating the Anniversary Day Regatta adds another dimension for the youth sailors taking part, giving them even more motivation to join in and compete.

“For the sailors, being part of the Anniversary Regatta means they’re participating in one of the oldest regattas in the world, which predates the America’s Cup, so there’s the prestige of winning.” Sean says. “Plus it’s another event where they’re up for awards and recognition, and it’s one of the only amateur sailing events I know of with cash prizes, so that’s something nice for the kids taking part.”

It’s likely Maraetai will also play host to the youngest competitors taking part in the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. Sean says children as young as 7 or 8 years old could compete in the Optimist Green class, which is designed to give novice sailors the opportunity to take part in their first regatta.

A further three clubs around Auckland will also host centreboard sailing events as part of the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. Takapuna Boating Club is expecting a large fleet for the Anniversary Weekend Championships, with 11 separate dinghy and board sailing classes taking part. The Sea Scouts, Navy Crowns and Sunburst fleets will race at Wakatere Boating Club at Narrow Neck Beach. The Tamaki Yacht Club will host the Laser, Mistral and Phase II fleets.

Centreboard classes can enter the Anniversary Day Regatta via their host club. Full details of clubs and classes taking part can be found on the regatta website at www.regatta.org.nz.

The classics, keelboats and tugboats will compete in the inner Waitemata as usual, and there will be passage races from Mahurangi, Kawau and Rakino, all finishing at Westhaven. Entries for these events can be made online now via the website at www.regatta.org.nz/enter.

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