The regatta coined by Peter Montgomery as “the best big-boat regatta in NZ” – Bay of Islands Sailing Week – was first held in 2003, with 39 boats competing across four divisions.
The idea for the regatta came from Opua couple Tony and Nina Kiff, and the event’s aim today is still just as Tony Kiff described it in 2003: “to offer sailors a yachting event for keelboats, trailer yachts and sports boats, while showcasing the Bay of Islands as a magnificent sailing and holiday destination”.
Originally from England, Tony and Nina Kiff arrived in New Zealand on their yacht with their four children in 1992, and made the Bay of Islands their home. They wondered why there was no premier sailing event in the Bay of Islands, given its spectacular location and friendly people.
In 2002 their concept became a reality, when the Bay of Islands Sailing Week was established as an incorporated society, with a $500 loan from each of the four local yacht clubs. The committee was made up of representatives from Opua, Kerikeri, Russell and Bay of Islands yacht clubs, and it was the sheer determination of the original committee – Tony Kiff as Chairman, Nina Kiff as Treasurer, Lorraine Kite as Secretary, Paul Karl as OCC representative, David Hope-Lewis as BOIYC representative, Lawrence Scott as RBC representative and Ray Haslar as KCC representative – that got the event off the ground.
The regatta also received a $5,000 grant from the Far North District Council in its first year. Nina Kiff says: “We applied for a grant but right up to the date of the regatta we still hadn’t received anything, so we really didn’t know if it was going to go ahead or not. In fact it was only after the first race had started that we finally heard we’d been granted some funding!”
Today, Bay of Islands Sailing Week is still run almost entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers, and funded by the generosity of its sponsors and supporters. During the regatta week there are around sixty volunteers who give their time and energy to the event, resulting in one of the best regattas in New Zealand, and bringing racing of an international standard to the New Zealand sailing community.
|Nina Kiff||Chairperson||--||021 217 3625|
|David Krebs||Treasurer||--||027 849 5504|
|Cath Beaumont||Regatta Administrator & Secretary||--||027 687 2771|
|Ian Clouston||Racing Logistics||--||027 494 7531|
|Tony Kiff||Logistics & OCC Representative||--||027 478 4843|
|Helen Horrocks||Publicity and Media Liaison||--||0211 583 199|
|John Grant||RBC Representative||--||027 715 9101|
|Mel Best||KCC Representative||--||021 346 459|
|Andrew Kearney||General Committee Member||--||--|