Each year at the end of January in Auckland, New Zealand parties in celebration of the city’s founding form in what is called the world’s ‘largest one-day regatta’. The harbour then comes alive with all kinds of craft of every shape, type and size. Introduced a few years ago as part of the event, the annual tug race has since become a favourite with the crowds.

This race involves vessels of every size and age, from today’s operational tugs to vessels which might not seem to be tugs or towboats, racing each other. Some of the vessels are only occasionally used for towing jobs; many are preserved towboats over 100 years old, while the Scottish-built preserved steam tug of 1935, William C. Daldy, is a main attraction.

This year, the start-gun was fired at 1000 and the waters off North Head were churned up as the craft roared round the course. The fleet was made up of 20 tugs, which raced the 6.5 nautical mile course in a little under 45 minutes. Curlew took the honours, repeating her success of 2010.

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