With Joan Livingstone at the helm, a woman is the commodore of Whangarei Cruising Club for the first time since the club started in 1921.

She has been a member of the club since 1995 and her previous executive roles have included sailing secretary, club captain, rear commodore and vice commodore.

''When I join a club, I get into the thick of things. I don't just sit around and let others do all the work,'' she said.

Ms Livingstone was appointed to the commodore's seat just over a week ago and her first public duty was officiating at the secondary schools' three-day teams racing regatta at Parua Bay last week.

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Despite the young sailors electing to carrying on racing in the face of brisk winds on Friday, that last day's racing was called off at midday when the wind got too strong.

Ms Livingstone said it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and skill of the younger sailors.

''I would like to see more junior members' activities promoted,'' she said.

The cruising club at Kissing Point, with a ''port'' at Parua Bay, has excellent facilities, and membership is growing.

Ms Livingstone said she hopes to lead a drive to increase that membership and encourage more use of the facilities by the club and the public.

Her own sailing experience includes her and husband Sandy Livingstone building a yacht and sailing the world for five years in the 1990s with their two young daughters.