28 Jan 2013

Hundreds take to water for Auckland regatta

7:28 pm on 28 January 2013

Hundreds of yachties and boaties took to Auckland's Waitemata Harbour on Monday to race and perform for crowds as part of an annual regatta.

The sunny weather drew thousands of spectators to various vantage points to watch tugboats, tall ships, vintage vessels, yachts and waka (canoe).

The Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta is one of the world's oldest sailing regattas and is celebrating its 173rd year.

A race of about 20 tug boats marked the start of the event on Monday, after which several drew in close to the wharf at Viaduct Harbour, performing 360 degree turns and showering the crowd with water balloons.

Regatta chair Eric Mahoney said the oldest yacht sailing in the event is the more than 130-year-old Jessie Logan.

The yacht was designed and built in Devonport 1878 and sailed in the first regatta the following year, he said.

"That's quite a remarkable achievement for a boat to survive that number of years and still to be participating on the Auckland's Waitemata Harbour."

One of the crew of the Orion, Roger Browne, said he and his friends raced the 50-year-old retired fishing trawler in the tugboat race for the first time this year.

Mr Browne said it was exciting to be part of the event and encouraged more fishing boats to take part in 2014.