The sailing season is in full swing, with the last of the clubs in the area having their opening day last weekend, and there have also been a number of other highlights for the region.
The main feature was when the America's Cup came to Picton and the town turned it on.
A flotilla of boats met the 6pm Inteislander ferry carrying the Auld Mug and members of Emirates Team New Zealand, includling the three team members with family connection to the area.
More than 5000 people from as far away as Nelson and Golden Bay were on hand as the Cup was then paraded through the main street of Picton - not bad for a town of only 3000 people.
There was also time for a function for Waikawa Boating Club members as well as a breakfast with the young sailors of Queen Charlotte Yacht Club. All the proceeds from the visit went to the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club building fund and the club would like to thank the community for all the support in this.
The America's Cup then continued its tour of the country, heading to Christchurch via Greymouth and Arthur's Pass. A function was held in the Garden City at the Pleasant Point Yacht Club, which included a fundraising auction to help with efforts to reubuild the club after the devastation of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
The top of the south really appreciates the efforts of Emirates Team New Zealand in bringing the America's Cup to the mainland and I am sure the team enjoyed the southern hospitality.
Planning is well under way for the annual Waikawa Boating Club wine race from Waikawa to Wellington. Information can be found at waikawaboatingclub.co.nz/home/key-events/
The First National Nelson Regatta Week will be held from January 19-24 and will also incorporate the Top of the South Trailer Boat Regatta.
The Nelson Regatta was conceived in 2009 by a group of local sailors, with ambitions of placing the region back on the national sailing map. The format has evolved over the years to create a competitive and social week of racing that showcases the beauty of Tasman Bay.
This year we are expanding the regatta to incorporate sports boats and trailer boats, and there will also be a cruising division for keeler owners who want to take part but prefer not to race round the buoys.
The regatta is scheduled to start on the evening of January 20 with a rum race in the harbour for sports boats and trailer yachts, and there will be two days of round-the-buoys racing from Saturday.
During this time the annual Wellington to Nelson race, and a feeder race from Waikawa, will bring visiting keelers to Nelson. Keeler racing will start on Sunday with three races round the cans for the Romeo and Juliet divisions, and a coastal race for the cruising boats.
On Monday, the keelers will set off across Tasman Bay for three days of coastal racing, including a night in Torrent Bay and a party at the Pohara Boating Club in Tarakohe. All keel boats will need to have sufficient food, accommodation and fuel on board for three days and two nights away from Nelson.
The warm pristine waters of Tasman Bay have been the playground of New Zealand Olympic and world champion sailors for many years. This is your opportunity to join this tradition as the Tasman Bay Cruising Club welcomes sailors and supporters to the region.
Professionals 2017 South Island Interclub Youth Regatta
The three-day interclub youth regatta held at Naval Point Lyttelton over Labour weekend attracted eight club crews from as far as Wanaka (2) and Nelson. Conditions varied from light northerlies and cool southerlies to the fresh north easterlies characteristic of Lyttelton Harbour. The Charteris Bay Yacht Club 1 team of Ben Baynes, Harry Corston, Fergus Frame won the gold fleet final with Naval Point's Max Mclachlan, Thomas Pirker and Isaac Armstrong a close second.
Positive opening day for Lake Mahinapua Yacht Club
Finally a break in the weather co-incided with Lake Mahinapua Yacht Club holding their first day of the season. As many as 40 people attended the public open day, which was a great response.
A number of kids took to the Optis, Picollos and Sunbursts, with at least three new families signing up and others who took away programme and membership forms. The Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! trailer is due at the club in the next few weeks to support the club in recruiting new members.
South Island Optimist Coaching Clinic 2017
The South Island Optimist clinic will be held at the YMCA Wainui Camp, Akaroa, in December. The clinic is a four-day course and will be the premier coaching clinic for open Optimist sailors in the South Island this summer. Up to 30 spaces are available for financial members of NZIODA.
Sailors must be able to independently rig, launch and retrieve their own fiberglass Opti and have some race experience at open or green fleet level at a recent major regatta (eg Picton Interislander, Canterbury age groups and/or nationals).
The main aim of the clinic is to improve the skills of all participants during four days of intensive training and activities and some of New Zealand's top coaches will be on hand.
The YMCA Wainui Park Camp is on the western side of Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula - the opposite side of the harbour from Akaroa Township. Accommodation is in the lodge facility at the camp and all meals are supplied. The lodge includes a dining room, kitchen, bunk rooms, toilets, showers etc. For more information about the lodge, visit the Wainui website.
The clinic will operate on a live-in basis for four nights. Participants will be accommodated in bunkrooms and will need to supply their own adequate sleeping gear (sleeping bag, pillow, blankets etc). All meals will be provided however please supply your own drink bottle and snacks.
As well as your own Optimist and beach trolley, we suggest bringing an extensive supply of spare parts; just the same as you would if you were attending a large four-day regatta. You will also need to bring full sailing gear, including hats and buoyancy aids, ample warm clothing and suitable footwear.
As sailors will spend many hours afloat, consideration must be given to protective clothing for arms and legs (as well as faces). We suggest long thermals or rash suits. Please bring plenty of sunblock.
A copy of the programme will be forwarded to you as confirmation of your acceptance to the clinic once the full fee has been paid.
Participants will not be allowed to leave the coaching clinic for any period during the four days, except with prior approval. The clinic organisers do not accept any liability for loss or damage (material or personal) suffered during or arising at the clinic. It is the individual’s responsibility, if so desired, to ensure they have adequate insurance cover for boats, equipment and personal affects. All sailors attending MUST be financial members of NZIODA.
Further information and confirmed dates please email firstname.lastname@example.org.