Ocean race may spur moorings

16:00, Dec 07 2012
Bluff Yacht Club
STALWARTS: From left, Bluff Yacht Club commodore Geoff Gorrie, treasurer Anders Jagvik and rear commodore Craig Smith.

The annual Auckland to Bluff ocean race may be the catalyst to build permanent mooring berths for yachts in Bluff, race insiders say.

The current mooring facilities for recreational boaties who arrive in Bluff are meagre and rankle many who sail into the small port town.

However, news this week that from 2014 Bluff will be the finish line for the annual 1100 nautical mile Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race, called A2B, has again raised hopes a permanent mooring area for recreational boaties may be built in the port town.

The Southland Times reported in 2006 that plans were afoot to build a multi-million-dollar marina in Bluff, but it has still not happened.

A2B race promoter Murray Francis indicated Bluff did not have the facilities to berth the 30 competing yachts when they arrived in port for the first race to finish in 2014, so temporary floating pontoons would be hired for the job.

In the long term, Bluff ideally needed permanent infrastructure to accommodate yachts when they arrived in the port town, he said. "Right now, if a yacht was to visit Bluff . . . there is no actual marina, and we are working on that."

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An arrivals area was needed for five or six yachts and the temporary floating pontoons would house the remainder of the A2B race fleet, he said.

He believed funding for such a venture could be shared between local body councils, sponsors, the government and others.

Bluff Yacht Club rear commodore Craig Smith said it would act in a supporting role for the ocean race, which he believed would be the biggest yacht race to enter the town.

He agreed a permanent mooring structure in Bluff would be ideal, saying the infrastructure for recreational boating at Bluff was abysmal.

The A2B race would be the catalyst for infrastructure improvements, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Francis said the owner of an 80ft yacht from Sicily had contacted him less than 24 hours after the A2B race announcement this week to indicate he would be on the starting line in Auckland in February 2014.

evan.harding@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times