Keen to get sailing or boating? Auckland’s own Westhaven Marina has three active yacht clubs, and a myriad of other boating associations and groups. Each club runs a range of sailing events throughout the year, including the famous Wednesday night races, for which Auckland is particularly famous.
“Sailing is a way of life in Auckland, but also a fairly well-kept secret,” says Ponsonby Cruising Club Commodore Dave Fredric.
“We want people to know that they can knock on our door and ask how to get involved,” he says.
Sail away with a club membership
Crew memberships with the Ponsonby Cruising Club are $135, and joining enables the club to introduce you to a boat to get started on.
The Richmond Yacht Club next door also runs a special programme on Friday evenings in summer that gives new comers an opportunity to get into the sport, over a series of eight races, on a different boat for each race.
Like the Ponsonby Cruising Club, it welcomes all that are enthusiastic and willing to learn, regardless of whether they have prior sailing experience or not, and provides opportunities to continue sailing in a wide range of events.
Choose a programme to suit
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is the biggest of the clubs and runs structured programmes, including a youth scheme, in its own fleet of purpose-built boats. It aims to deliver sailing skills at a high performance level - but like the other clubs, it is also open to helping new members get on-board a boat.
Sailability’s fleet of 22 boats is also based at Westhaven, and has made it possible for people with disabilities to get into sailing since the early 1990s.
Westhaven Marina, which is the biggest marina in the southern hemisphere, is owned by the council organisation Panuku Development Auckland on behalf of all Aucklanders.