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Keeping Heads Above Water

New Zealand Community Trust is pleased to announce a grant of $15,000 to the Plimmerton Boating Club for breakwater maintenance. A recent engineering assessment of the wall after the loss of rocks from a moderate storm concluded that its deterioration would accelerate dramatically if it was not repaired. The longer term effects of climate change and rising sea levels in the Cook Strait will also put the jetties, boat sheds, and clubrooms in jeopardy. Maintaining a minimum height above the mean high water mark will allow the Club to continue operating safely for many years into the future.

Plimmerton Boating Club has two jetties and slipways that enable hundreds of people to get out on the water every week - fishing, diving, learning to sail, yacht racing, kayaking and jetty jumping. As long-time member Isabella Cawthorn commented, “It all relies on a seawall for protection from the mighty Cook Strait swells and the wall was damaged in some major storms. Thanks to the grant from NZCT, the seawall can now be repaired and the jetties will remain Plimmerton's gateway to adventures on the sea.” Contractors have already been consulted and construction is scheduled to start shortly.

Plimmerton Boating Club is primarily a sailing and fishing club, catering for all ages and most classes of yachts, from the small Optimist, through P Class, Starling, Laser, Sunburst, Sailboards, Z Class and Trailer Yachts. In addition to sailing events, races and regattas, the club runs a sailing academy and regular fishing competitions. Located in Karehana Bay, only fifteen minutes north of Porirua and half an hour from Wellington, it remains an oasis of relaxation with one of the best scenic views in the country, looking west out to Mana Island and south toward Porirua.

The Clubhouse now includes a quality restaurant, with a licensed bar and full catering, that provides the perfect venue for weddings, ceremonies, conferences, and other social functions. Prior to acquiring its own rescue boat, members and locals also carried out many rescues whenever yachts capsized and boats with engine trouble either stalled or caught fire. More recently, many exhausted windsurfers have also been saved from local waters.

The first official record of the Club's formation goes back to a meeting held in the Karehana Dressing Shed in April 1925 and it has a long and interesting history of community involvement ever since, with boating activities centred around the Club's present-day site, known originally as the Point. For about three years during WWII, it was manned by Army personnel and a variety of social functions were cancelled with a subsequent loss of revenue. In 1942, a special meeting was convened following notice of the Army's intention to demolish the Clubhouse, which was fortunately averted. The following year, the Club Committee received eighty pounds for demolition and restoration costs for eight boat sheds and after the war requested the removal of two gun pits from the property. Although the Club received some compensation for damages, one member recalled, "It wasn't worth it, because the soldiers with their hob-nailed boots ruined our dance floor.”

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