Simon McVeagh feels a bit like the Pied Piper, travelling around the South Island and encouraging children to try sailing for the first time.
Instead of the magic pipe, the Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! instructor has a colourful trailer full of boats and sailing equipment ready to introduce the fun of the sport to more than 1000 children this summer.
McVeagh is one of three Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! instructors nationwide and the programme kicks off officially on Monday when the fourth school terms starts. He is the only returning instructor, this year servicing the entire South Island, and is being joined by Maria Ferrario (central region) and Justin Hurst (northern region).
"I really enjoy it," said McVeagh who last summer travelled around the central region. "To see the kids come on, partciularly the ones who have never sailed or never even been on the water before, is awesome. Some go from being scared whenever the boat moves in the first 10 minutes to confidently sailing and tipping the boat over by the end of the day.
"The people you work with is also a highlight. Some have been teaching kids to sail for years and years, longer than I have been alive."
Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! is in its 12th season and last summer introduced sailing to a record 3600 children around New Zealand. It's a one-day introduction to sailing, designed to give kids the opportunity to experience the thrills and spills of sailing in a safe and well-managed environment and, most importantly, have fun.
It's open to children aged 8-12 and no prior sailing experience is required. All clothing and equipment is provided.
That's where the Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! trailers come in.
McVeagh will begin his tour of the South Island at Pohara Beach Yacht Club in Golden Bay before venturing down the West Coast, crossing Arthurs Pass and heading down the East Coast to Riverton before turning around and returning north via Central Otago.
"I start in the northern end when it's warm and finish in Riverton around Christmas time before heading north again when it starts to get cold," McVeagh said. "it's pretty busy but good fun and it's good to move around each week.
"People are always curious and excited when the trailer rolls into town. They always have questions wherever you go. I feel a bit like the Pied Piper with 12 kids following in behind."
Zhik have generously decked out all three trailers with brand new wetsuits and personal flotation devices (best dressed sailors in town), Volvo have once again provided the XC90s required to tow the trailers and the Lion Foundation are again a proud supporter of the programme.
Anyone keen for the Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! trailer to visit their club or school should contact Danika at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (09) 361 4028.