Buoys will be buoys on the wa­ter

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Sail­ing fans watch­ing the Louis Vuit­ton Pa­cific Se­ries out on the Waitem­ata Har­bour are in safe hands.

Course mar­shal and rear com­modore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Steve Bur­rett is charged with keep­ing spec­ta­tor boats away from the racing.

The squadron is help­ing run the event along with Emi­rates Team New Zealand and the Auck­land City Coun­cil.

he cen­tral city res­i­dent says it can be a huge chal­lenge, but he’s used to it af­ter hold­ing the same role dur­ing the Amer­ica’s Cup re­gat­tas in 2000 and 2003.

“I think the pub­lic this time around have paid more at­ten­tion to what’s re­quired,” he says.

“But you’ve al­ways got 5 per­cent who haven’t read the news­pa­per to know that it’s on, so some­times you get peo­ple pulling right across the race track.”

His job is also com­pli­cated by ever-chang­ing weather con­di­tions.

“One day we set and re­set the course 10 times. You’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head.”

He heads a 40-strong team of vol­un­teers who pa­trol the har­bour on 11 boats.

All have taken time off from their jobs to work at the event, in­clud­ing Bur­rett, who works in in­sur­ance.

But de­spite spending up to 12 hours a day on the course co­or­di­nat­ing every­one’s moves, he says it’s an im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing role.

“It’s just nice be­ing afloat. I’ve got to get my fix of be­ing out in the boat.”

And he’s no­ticed pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships de­vel­op­ing be­tween all the teams at the event, which hasn’t al­ways been the case in the past.

“In Va­len­cia at the Amer­ica’s Cup you never saw teams mix­ing like this.

“They’re all talk­ing to each other and it’s re­ally fan­tas­tic.

“It has to do good for the sport.”

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron com­modore Scott Cole­brook is pleased to have Bur­rett looking af­ter peo­ple’s safety.

“He’s an ex­tremely good seaman who is able to make judge­ment calls and de­cide where peo­ple should and shouldn’t be.”

The fi­nals take place to­day and to­mor­row with Team New Zealand de­fend­ing the Pa­cific Se­ries tro­phy.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Safety first: Louis Vuit­ton Pa­cific Se­ries course mar­shall Steve Bur­rett helps keep yacht­ing spec­ta­tors safe on the Waitem­ata Har­bour.

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