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Club with no home still going strong

Mercury Bay Boating Club rose to international fame in July 1987 when through the club, Michael Faye lodged an audacious New Zealand Challenge for the America’s Cup.

The upstart club was frowned upon in international yachting circles, the moreso when it became known that Mercury Bay didn’t even boast a clubhouse.   In those days the yacht races were started with flags from Carol Moyes’ Ford parked on the beach.  They were heady, exciting days. American tourists and news reporters flocked to Mercury Bay to see the beach with no clubhouse. The media coverage went worldwide.

History is repeating itself.  Again, the club has no home.  The beautiful clubhouse that was eventually built is now in limbo, standing on piles after the beach washed away from under it.  The debate now rages about where it might eventually land.  

The club membership, however, is in good heart. This year the historic New Year’s Day Race was helped by plenty of wind, with a combined fleet of Keelers and Hobicats cracking out their spinnakers as they sped across the Bay, a sight to delight the holiday crowds. 

In the Keeler Division, the winner was Deep Purple, skippered by Phil Hart, second, Blueprint (Matt Algie) and third, Roger Fulton’s Titoki.

In the multihulls, first was Fred Acke in Willy Flippit, second Jonathan Klein in Pure Fiji and third Roger Harwood with Charles Thomas.

There being no clubhouse to repair to for the debrief, the crews were invited to tell their stories at a barbecue hosted by Phil and Helen Hart.