South Pacific: Niue Yacht Club (NYC) celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, a few volunteers (both Niuean and ex-pats), shared a vision to provide safe moorings that would encourage cruisers to visit Niue during their voyages in the South Pacific. In the intervening years, Niue has had over 3,500 yachts arrive with approximately 12,000 yacht crew visiting Niue.

Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago

View of Niue mooring field courtesy of NYC

These yacht crew discovered how different and unique Niue was, and so began a chapter in Niue’s maritime tourism that is alive and well today.

It is appropriate that 2016 has been a record year for the 25th Anniversary year, with 172 yachts visiting and 490 crew coming ashore to discover Niue for themselves.

Moorings in Niue

Niue’s mooring field is an open roadstead on the  West coast and is in an exposed position if the predominant Trade Winds change, with a westerly component.  The undersea topography of the volcanic slope, coupled with fragile coral regrowing after Cyclone Heta in 2004, makes it essential for visiting cruisers to pick up a mooring ball.  Often for the first time in many months of cruising.

Keith Vial, commodore of the NYC explains the challenges of maintaining a quality mooring field; “Our prime focus is to provide and maintain 20 safe moorings for yachts that wish to visit us.  Herein lies the problem we face.  The mooring field is on the edge of the “drop off” with eight of our moorings in depths greater than 30 metres – and two of these 37 metres deep.  Although the underwater visibility here on Niue is often 50 metres or more, it is difficult and potentially dangerous for divers to work for long at these depths.

“To prolong the life of our 25mm polyester moorings, the lines and buoys are laid in early April and removed in early November for cleaning, checking, repairing or replacing.  In the interim period and during the cruising season, surface checks are carried out regularly, with scheduled “bottom end” checks after any major storm.”

Over the years, as with any organization, there have been major setbacks for the small group of volunteers that make up the NYC.  On the 4th January 2004, Cyclone Heta decimated Niue.  With pressure dropping to 918 hPa and wind speeds up to 320 kmph, huge wave surges pounded the cliffs on the Alofi coast, with many waves “climbing” up through the guts in the 23-metre cliffs to destroy homes, a hospital, a resort hotel, and the museum.

The backwash from such surges either buried the concrete mooring footings or rolled them down the volcanic slope putting them out of the reach of divers. It took the small group of volunteers at NYC 2 years and $NZ14,000 to reinstate the previous 12 mooring sites, to bring the total of available moorings up to 16.

In 2011, to aid Niue’s infrastructural development for increased tourism, the Government of Niue, supported by New Zealand aid, provided funding to allow the NYC management committee to renew all 20 moorings.

Since then, the NYC has maintained a field of 20 moorings, although 2 were unavailable for the 2016 season because the concrete blocks had been “flipped” in cyclonic storms in January/February of this year.

Increased demand and rising costs

As is the case with many voluntary organizations, there are fewer people available to help, while the demand for moorings increases and the field of moorings has to be constantly maintained. The NYC is faced with rising costs: rope and hardware needed are expensive because of Niue’s isolated position and government taxation, and the NYC need to employ people for tasks that the management committee is unable to do anymore through voluntary labour.

Keith adds; “It is worthy of note that two of our management committee, one local and one living in North Carolina, are still involved after 25 years of service.  We owe so much to them for their interest, technical expertise, and enthusiasm, as well as to the NYC’s 1800 members over the years.”

How you can become involved

Whilst Niue is but a small “Rock” in the  middle of a vast ocean, it is well known in cruising circles as a vital stopover on the “Coconut Run.” They desperately need your help to ensure that yachts can continue to visit this incredible little gem, not only to get some secure respite from the long ocean passage but to connect with this island nation and indulge in the unique experiences that Niue has to offer.

Nearly halfway to their target of $10,500.00!

The club is reaching out to past members/visitors and friends of the Niue Yacht Club to assist in raising much-needed funds for mooring work. A major part of the NYC’s 2016/17 fundraising drive is to reinstate the mooring field back to 20 moorings via a mooring refurbishment and strengthening programme, so they are ready for the start of the 2017 cruising season.

A special ‘Anniversary Membership Card’ is available with donations of $50 or more.

Find out more at [BROKEN LINK]

Read 2017 New Year Update at

Niue Yacht Club

The biggest little yacht club in the world

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  1. January 18, 2019 at 7:45 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    20 January – New Year Update from NYC

    Fakalofa lahi atu from Niue.

    It’s 30 degrees Celsius here on Niue at present with 68% humidity, which could be very different from your place. We are sitting out the cyclone season with nothing on the horizon so far and long may it last!

    Thank you to all who have supported us through “Go Fund Me”. Currently, donations have reached the $US6000 level and this equates to over $NZ8,000 in purchasing power for our little club on a large rock in the South Pacific.

    While our prime aim is to strengthen at least two moorings to allow heavier yachts greater security, replace three other mooring lines completely and relocate two of our Northern moorings, we have planned other maintenance on our washroom.

    This facility is well used during the cruising season and seems to be much appreciated, especially by all of our “Admirals” who enjoy a hot shower in fresh water for a hair wash.

    “Fair winds” or as the Niueans would say “Fakaaue lahi mahaki !” A very LARGE “Thank you!”