It’s all about the boats
Eleven identical boats berthed in the northern part of Westhaven are providing people of all skill levels – from newbies to professional match racers – with opportunities for fantastic yachting experiences.
The MRX Fleet (which stands for Match Racing Ten, as they are 10 metres long) is New Zealand’s largest fleet of identical yachts.
“Their role is to provide a stable, even platform for sailors,” says fleet manager Gary Sugden, of the fact that the boats are identical replicas of each other, right down to their rig set up, deck layout, and sail wardrobes. “It’s one design, it’s not about chequebook sailing, it’s about being a better sailor, and getting the most of your boat on the day.”
The fleet of boats has around 40 owners all up and a family of commercial sponsors. As a result the boats are well used, sailing every day during summer either racing with Westhaven’s yacht clubs, in regattas, or out on charters getting new sailors onto the water.
As one of the owners there are many benefits: your maintenance, berthage, and vessel care is taken care of by Gary, who oversees sponsorship, berthage, charters, marketing, and everything to do with the fleet. You receive many of the benefits of yacht ownership, without the associated hassle. Plus, there is a great social component to the fleet.
The MRX fleet has recently led a programme to refurbish the boats, secure new sponsorships from businesses that are keen to support yachting and receive brand exposure, and to generate interest in the flagship regattas that the fleet is involved in. Up to 20 crews will use the eleven MRXs to line up against each other in the Women’s Keelboat Nationals later in summer – the biggest fleet in many years, with crews already training and racing together ahead of the summer season. Gary is also working with the RNZYS and Yachting New Zealand on building numbers up for the National Open Keelboat Championships, and to grow the new National Masters Regatta, plus hoping for a Grade 1 matchracing event in 2019, that will build on Auckland’s already comprehensive yachting offering.
Despite their pedigree, these boats are ideal for learners and first timers: If you work with a company that is seeking a team event and or a team buiding exercise this summer, an MRX charter is a great opportunity to get your team out, with a skipper and crew, to learn and experience sailing.
“The MRX fleet has have a unique place in Auckland’s sailing history,” says Gary. “We’ve had the world’s best sailors aboard them, and they have longevity. They suit people that want to learn, and people that want to race seriously in one design boats.”
Find out more about the fleet at www.mrxyachting.co.nz