About GYC


Boating was first practiced on Poverty Bay in the earliest days on New Zealand’s history. The first recorded ‘sailor’ with the exception of Maori waka was of course that renowned seaman Captain Cook. Although his sailing was of a different nature to that practiced on Poverty Bay today, there is no doubt he has left his mark in the area.

The First record of actual yacht racing described a race organized by Gisborne Boat and Yacht Club in 1874. Other racing is recorded as taking place in 1894 and early photos show yachts and other pleasure boats moored in the harbour.

The present Yacht Club was formed in 1946 by a group of youthful enthusiasts who, in spite of a lack of facilities and varied fleet of yachts enjoyed sailing and wished to develop the sport on a more organized basis.

A public meeting was advertised and from that meeting the Gisborne Yacht Club was created.

The major obstacle to be overcome was access to the water as there no boat ramps as such into the harbor. Boats were stored on the island alongside the Harbour Board slipway and the only means of access was to walk along the diversion cut wall between the harbour and river. Easy access to the water has always been a problem but this was eased in 1956 when the Harbour Board made available a site adjacent to the old signal station and the club was allowed to construct a ramp into the harbour channel.

The efforts of Mr Ted Otway, who was the club’s first President, and the use of his equipment provided invaluable at this stage.

With reasonable access to the water the club grew rapidly and it was not long before the original clubhouse was able to be built at Kaiti Beach near the Cook landing site, mainly with volunteer labour.

The two storied building was opened by the Mayor on February 23rd 1957 an the programme shows a full day’s entertainment of sailing, aquaplaining and other aquatic events to be arranged. ‘Afternoon teas, soft drinks and ice creams will be available - Bring the family and have a picnic day’.

With the building to work from, the club went from strength to strength and the number if members increased dramatically and by 1960 felt capable of hosting the first of many national contests. The Moffat Cup in 1960, then the Tanner Cup in 1961 and the Cherub Championships in 1962. Three fairly busy years for what had been considered a small provincial yacht club.

Since the club has hosted Nation Championships for almost every class of yacht recognised by Yachting New Zealand. In 1969 as part of the Cook Bi-centenary, the club ran an Ocean Race from Auckland to Gisborne. This developed into the biannual series with two races, one from Auckland and the other from Wellington coming to Gisborne until the year 2000.

In 1962 harbour development was beginning and once again access to the water was about to become  a problem as the new wharf was built over the existing ramp. Another ramp was built a bit further along the channel but restrictions were in place because of future development plans. This second ramp was destroyed by wave action and replaced with the less that satisfactory wooden ramp.

It became obvious to the then committee that a change of site was necessary and after much searching the present site was settled on. The old signal station was purchased and moved to be used to run the sailing from while a decision was made concerning the two storied club house. Eventually the building was moved to it’s present site and reduced to one story.

In 1996, after 50 years of successful operation, it was decided to hold a celebration to mark the occasion. As many past and present members as possible were contacted and a weekend of reminiscing was planned. Members came from all over the country including a couple from Australia.

A lot of effort from club members has gone into building ramps, blasting rocks out of the channel and providing the facilities that present members enjoy.

The current administration trust that the members and future members of the Gisborne Yacht Club will continue to use and enjoy these facilities and retain yachting as a major sport on Poverty Bay.


Yacht Club Background

NAME  Gisborne Yacht Club

LOCATION  Kaiti Beach, Gisborne


BUILDING OPENED  Feb 23rd 1957