For years the Auckland Sailing Club and Royal Akarana Yacht Club have played at different ends of the largest launching ramp in New Zealand. Both clubs are located on The Landing Okahu Bay and race on the same strip of water, often sharing marks, but in the past that is where it has ended. Sailors from both clubs return to their end of the ramp at the end of racing, with neither groups combining.
But everything has changed – forever. A new chapter in New Zealand sailing history has been written.
Auckland Sailing Club has merged with Royal Akarana Yacht Club, the two clubs becoming one. ASC, now referred to as the Auckland Skiff League, becomes an active fleet racing under the RAYC burgee. All active sailors from the Auckland Skiff League, are in the process of joining RAYC, making the 120 year old club, now one of the biggest in the country.
The catalyst for this merge is the new Hyundai Marine Sports Centre, due to commence construction in early 2016. The bigger picture view and combined resources of assets, members and volunteers was also a major driver in the merging decision.
Graham Catley, 18′ Skiff sailor and motivator for the merge, is excited about the next chapter for both clubs.
“I’m a member of both clubs, and am really looking forward to everything coming under the one banner. It makes sense! We all strive to achieve the same results, but now we will all work together,” said Catley.
RAYC Commodore Nathan Bonney sees this new partnership as a step in the right direction for New Zealand sailing.
“Auckland Sailing Club and RAYC are both very proud clubs and we are working together to preserve our individual histories. This will be evident when we open the new Hyundai Marine Sports Centre in 2017, but we need to start working together now and there was no better time to launch our new partnership than on our 120th Opening Day of the RAYC season,” said Bonney.
The Opening Day saw the skiffs line up with the Flying 15, M-Class, RS700s and Moths for the first time. Also a first was the introduction of the RAYC Youth Division, with eight Optimists also part of racing this season.
RAYC Vice Commodore and Sailing Committee Chairperson Sally Garrett said that things are going to be hectic on the racing area but the more the merrier!
“Our club racing has almost tripled in numbers over the last two seasons and it’s a positive sign that the type of racing that RAYC conducts is appealing to people who want to get on the water for fun yet competitive well run race days,” said Garrett.
The Landing at Okahu Bay is the perfect place for off the beach classes to launch. Ample parking and safe rigging areas as well as a state of the art multi million dollar facility will provide members and guests with a world class location for marine activities in the heart of Auckland.
The merging of Auckland Sailing Club and Royal Akarana Yacht Club is just the beginning.