Fans of high-octane yacht racing will have been disappointed to learn that the SailGP event scheduled for Auckland in March is no longer coming.

This is a real shame since it was going to be one of the cornerstones of the inaugural Moana Auckland Festival.

I’m sure many readers, like me, find the sort of fast, competitive yacht racing SailGP delivers compelling on-screen viewing. How much more so live and up close? Alas, that’s not to be for Auckland this year, the organisers citing ground contamination issues with the Wynyard Point ‘stadium’ venue. Remediation work at Wynyard Point has been ongoing, so it was hardly news to the organisers. Why did they leave it so late to pull out?

There’s talk the event may be held at another New Zealand venue, perhaps Christchurch/Lyttelton, but who knows? It might equally be staged somewhere else entirely, in another country. Where will doubtless depend on which city is willing to make the best deal (for SailGP!).

But let’s not dwell too much on our disappointment, because there are plenty of other on-water events to look forward to this summer. For Aucklanders they kick off with the Anniversary Day Regatta, January 29, followed in by the inaugural Moana Auckland Festival, now comprising 13 events, not 14. These include the New Zealand Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, Feb 23-26; the World Manu [bomb-dive!] Championships, Feb 23-25, March 1-3, and March 9 (Final); Perpetual Guardian’s Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island Feb 24-March 24; the inaugural Auckland Wooden Boat Festival, March 1-3; the Auckland Boat Show, March 14-17; and many more.


Other notable events to mark on the summer calendar include Bay of Islands Sailing Week, 23-26 January, NZ Antiques & Classics Boat Show at St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes, March 2-3, plus too many more at national and local level to list.

We won’t be short of on-water fun and spectacle this summer.

John Eichelsheim