Junior boatbuilders go public this Saturday at Marine Trades Challenge

The building line - 2011 Marine Trades Challenge

The designing, boatbuilding and sailing talents of New Zealand’s future boatbuilders and other marine trades will be on display this Saturday, April 14, at the annual Marine Trades Challenge in Westhaven.

The Marine Trades Challenge is open to the public (there is no entry fee) and traditionally attracts a big crowd to St Mary’s Bay beach, off Westhaven Drive.

This year, teams of marine industry apprentices from 15 different companies will take part in the challenge. So too will three secondary schools teams, including the competition’s first ever all-girls team, from Napier’s Tamatea High School.

The teams will have just two hours to build a boat capable of being sailed, paddled and motored around the short downtown Auckland course.

Their boat can either be built to their own design or to plans supplied by the organisers.

Coordinator Mike Birdsall, from the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation, says the Challenge is always fiercely contested and highly entertaining.

'It is a great day out for the whole family,' he says. 'Not only can people get to see a variety of boats built right before their eyes, they can also watch as the designs are put to the test close to shore.

'This is an often the entertaining part of the day. While most of the boats prove very seaworthy there are always a few that don’t quite make it, and that’s when the fun begins!'

The teams will start building their boats at 10am and racing will begin at 1pm. Members of the public are welcome to come along and watch, there is no entry fee and free parking is available in the white spaces in the Westhaven marina car park.