Next month, the Ponsonby Cruising Club will be holding its first ever book fair in order to raise money for the club’s historic launch, the Watchman.
Books and sailing don’t usually mix, where did the idea for the fair come from?
The club has a library in the foyer for visitors and members to exchange books, which works well, so we know that yachties like books. Cruising yachties enjoy reading books when they stop for the night.
We needed to raise funds for the repair and maintenance of our patrol boat and thought a book fair would be lots of fun as well as a chance to raise funds.
We’ve got the facilities to do it, and the people to do the volunteer work. So it was just a matter of organising it to get it done.
Could you tell me more about it?
It’s going to be on 19th and the 20th of October. On the 19th there will be a mullet boat race. If people get to the club between 10 and 11am, they’ll be able to see the boats out on the harbour. There will also be books, DVDs and CDs for sale.
People will be able to trade-in books that they no longer want as well?
People can donate their books, CDs and DVDs up until 16 October, because we want to have everything sorted and ready before the big day. We’d be thrilled for people to come in and make donations until then.
You’re trying to raise money to maintain the club’s historic launch, the Watchman. For those that don’t know, could you tell us a little bit about it?
As I understand it, in 1948 there was a death during one of the races; which prompted the sailing clubs in the area to get together and build a patrol boat for future competitions.
The Ponsonby Cruising Club now owns it, and we love it because it’s a piece of our history. We want to stay connected to that history, and the Watchman is an important part of it.
Besides raising money, are there any other goals you want to achieve with the book fair?
We want Aucklanders to know that the club is a resource for them. We want the sailing club to be more connected to the community. Especially the local Ponsonby community. It seems crazy to have people who live in this area not know that they can come in and do stuff like crewing on members’ boats.
Our intention is to have the community be aware of us and know that they’re welcome to come in and participate with us.
Tell me about the mullet boat races, and the types of boats that they use?
Back in the day, these boats were used for fishing. They were designed to be quite small with a large sail area to catch the wind.
In the 1840s and 1850s, people would use them to go fishing, and then racing eventually grew up as a sport around that.
How important are the races to the Ponsonby and Westhaven areas?
Extremely important in a city called City of Sails where people love to go out on the harbour. Boating is a way of life for many Aucklanders, from dinghies, fishing boats and jet skis, to yachts and launches.
It’s a way for people who live in the area to be nearer to the sea.
I also think that it gives them more of an opportunity to get involved with yacht racing.
What other ways are there to help support the club?
We’re also a social club, so if people want to support us, but they don’t want to sail, they can come together at the club and socialise.
It’s an excellent venue for meetings and parties, so you can hire the facilities for corporate meetings and events, for birthday celebrations and weddings. We also have a sailing school where people can come along and learn about boating.
And, of course, we always welcome donations, any kind of donations that are useful for the club – for instance, voluntary hours to help run events on and off the water, so there are loads of ways people can support Ponsonby Cruising Club. (KERRY LEE)
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