Organized and competitive sailing in the Mahurangi has been witnessed from as early as 1858. These events were often called the Mahurangi Regatta. But it was not until 1960 that a regular annual Auckland to Mahurangi Race was initiated by the Devenport Yacht Club. In 1977 two groups, the Friends of the Mahurangi and the Sandspit Yacht Club, joined Devonport as partners and co-organizers.
In 1988, the Mahurangi Cruising Club was created, but the gestation of a baby like this takes time. A key moment in its early development was Peter Bailey’s donation of the Mahurangi Cup for competition among pre-1955 wooden yachts. Peter was a co-founder of the club. This growing darling gained shape and grace once a “co-conspirator”, Peter Oxborough, came on board to have a significant say in the infant’s development. With a final push the Mahurangi Cruising Club was born, emerging in 1990, relaxed and playful as is the local mood, and just before that year’s regatta. With great determination, like an infant knowing what it wants, the Regatta became its property and remains so today, its greatest pride.
Kiwis in general, and the Mahurangi Cruising Club in particular, are fond of classic yachts. The dream of getting involved in “the ownership, use and restoration of classic wooden boats” (as the Club’s banner proclaims) has attracted sailors for over a quarter of a century, and has shaped the MCC as a sanctuary for the breeding, building and upbringing of floating beauties of all descriptions – an unofficial Department of Conservation for Classic Boats, with a show-stopping Field Day exhibition-regatta.
The Regatta is held in January every year on the weekend of the Auckland Anniversary regatta – Mahurangi’s on Saturday, Auckland’s on Monday. Many boats compete in both, but the races between classic yachts in the Mahurangi Harbour are the Club’s premier event and its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful setting attract more people and boats every year. With more than a hundred boats competing (and hundreds more looking on), our Regatta is thought to be the largest gathering of classic wooden boats in the Southern Hemisphere. Scotts Landing is a great venue for the after-match function; the prizegiving, the marquee, the jazz band and the barbeques.