During summer, there can be nothing better than taking to the water to explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds and the Waikawa Boating Club offers an ideal starting point.
We caught up with Club Manager, Sue Van Velzen, to discover more about one of New Zealand’s premier boating organisations.
Founded in 1950, the busy, friendly club has over 650 members, making it one of the top ten in the country. Membership is made up predominantly of boat owners, but also accommodates plenty of crew members and social members, from both Marlborough and the surrounding communities, including Canterbury and Wellington.
Sue feels that one of the strengths of the club lies in its variety of memberships, she says, “We try to cater for everybody, our members enjoy a mix of activities, including yacht racing, cruising and socialising in our club rooms.” As a community based club, the Waikawa Boating Club also welcomes many local organisations and groups who use the club for meetings and social events. Sue continues, “Everyone is welcome, and anyone can join. The club is a great place to meet new people, especially on our Friday Club Nights!”
Of course, there are plenty of reasons for boat owners to join; access to over one hundred sheltered moorings throughout the Sounds, the club’s famous organised events and the excitement of yacht racing. Sue says, “There’s a great camaraderie between our passionate boaties, they are always happy to lend each other a hand or to offer advice. Boats are a great leveller!”
The Waikawa Boating Club’s annual New Year Regatta, takes place on the second weekend in January, and is the largest keelboat regatta south of Auckland. The nationally recognised WineWorks Wine Race to Wellington has gone from strength to strength, with over 40 yachts racing Marlborough wine to the capital, and the regular twilight Tuesday racing events attract up to 50 yachts each week over the Spring and Summer period.
Waikawa’s community role also sees its members taking part in bi-annual beach and sea bed clean up trips, to remove rubbish and debris from the shoreline and sea bed.
As an Incorporated Society, the club budgets only a small profit each year, and is therefore grateful for the enormous support and sponsorship it enjoys from local businesses, including Marlborough Sounds Marinas, Lawson’s Dry Hills, WineWorks, Bayleys Marlborough and New Zealand King Salmon, as well as many others.
So, if you feel like sailing away this summer why not join the Waikawa Boating Club? Sue assures us there is nothing better on a glorious Marlborough evening than to be in a beautifully secluded bay, listening to birdsong and enjoying the company of like-minded friends.