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The on-the-water volunteers

 

 

The volunteers for the Auckland Stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race are not just to be found on land – they’re on the water as well.

 

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has managed to persuade 40 boat owners to give up their time (and their craft) to act as race marshals during the final three days of the Stopover.

 

The Squadron is well placed to oversee this type of event. Most recently, and very successfully, the Squadron hosted the America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton series.

 

Given this experience, the Squadron has the privilege of being the only club of its type to be granted the responsibility of running Stopover races. In the other Stopover ports, the Volvo team looks after such events.

 

And the races are not just opportunities to see and be seen – the results of next Friday’s In-Port Race will count towards a boat’s overall score in the Volvo Ocean Race.

 

Included in the 40 boats are Farr 10-20s and Elliott-designed boats, eight members of the Young 88 Owners’ Association, and five boats from the Stewart 34 Association.

 

Grant Crawford of the Young 88s says his members are looking forward to being marshals in the start area on the racing days.

 

And Stewart president Charles Scoones is delighted that some of his members are able to be part of such a prestigious event.

 

“The five Stewarts involved – Princess, Panacea, Promise, Pahi and Precedent – will be acting as race marshals at the turning mark off Fergusson Wharf. Depending on the wind, the mark will either be closer to the wharf or across on the Devonport side.

 

“The Stewarts are well-known in the yachting world. They were historically the Citizen match-racing fleet, the first yachting event in the world to be televised.”

 

The course marshals’ responsibility is to keep spectator craft away from the race course. Politely but firmly.

 

Marshal boats will all fly a 1.2m fluorescent green inflatable buoy from the mast forestay. The fenders are marked ‘Marshal’ and all have a 4m tail, so they will be hard to overlook.

 

Melanie Benton, sailing manager for the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, says that the marshals will not be there to spoil anyone’s fun.

 

“All we ask is that boaties are sensible and careful. The courses have been arranged so that vantage points will be easily available, and everyone will be able to get a good view,' says Benton. “What we really don’t want is lots of small craft (or even larger ones) crowding the racing yachts and creating a washing machine effect.”

 

Read the Harbourmaster’s on water instructions here

 

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