Marakura Yacht Club was formed in 1969 and became incorporated in 1971. The club house was originally a building from West Arm, Lake Manapouri, there during the construction of the power station. Much work has been done by club members over the years to make the building what it is today.
The yacht club was formed due to a perceived need for locals in a rapidly growing township on the shores of a world class lake. Some "old sailing hands" and dedicated citizens had the foresight to see what a yacht club could accomplish for the family unit and community. Yachting can be a truly family affair, whether all members become sailors or not.
It was decreed at the club's formation, that a clubhouse was of paramount importance before any sailing commenced. The original building was sourced and in eight months the club had a base to work from. The search for boats started.
Prerequisites for a club hoping to attract novice members was that the boats needed to be readily obtainable, safe, comparatively easy to sail, and cheap! The "Idealong" class of yacht fitted the bill at that time, and the club managed to purchase four of these. Within two years the club had 16 of these boats racing. Originally, only 5 of the first 100 members had done any sailing. Novice sailors graduated from these to the Javelin class, and thence through all classes, to the "evergreens" on the trailer sailors. By 1973 club members boasted 33 boats among them.
Locals have travelled far and wide to attend regattas and have represented Southland at many events.
Eventually, the club rooms boasted a range of boats stored below the upstairs kitchen, bar and social area, along with changing rooms and hot showers. Jet rescue boats and ship-to-shore radios were added as funds allowed. Fundraising was carried out with gusto in the early years; sail-a-thons, manure drives. potatoe growing, mid winter swims, volunteer painting, catering etc.
The club has always endeavoured to encourage local youngsters to take to the water. In 1980 the club set about purchasing boats suitable for children to sail alone. The "Optimist" class fits this bill perfectly, so the club now have an enviable fleet of these, as well as some "P" class boats for the juniors as their skills develop. Some new adult learner boats, the "Escape" and the "Sunburst" have also been purchased, all made possible by the generous sponsorship of local businesses and groups.
The Marakura Yacht Club has always prided itself on being a family oriented club, and advocates for the enjoyment of the superb local waters of the Te Anau basin.