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Cambridge Yacht & Motor Boat Club

Cambridge buy six 'bullet proof' boats

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The Cambridge Yacht & Motor Boat Club have taken possession of six "bullet proof" 420s to use for their schools programme.

The club opted for six LaserPerformance Z420s, which are used in American college racing, rather than standard international 420s and officially unveiled them last weekend. They're the first New Zealand club to bring them into the country and have a working life of about 15 years.

"The only issue with the standard 420s is they are fragile," Cambridge Yacht & Motor Boat Club commodore Chris Raynes said. "With 15-minute races and close-quarter racing, contact is inevitable.

"We opted for college boats out of the United States. They're 15kg-20kg heavier than the standard hull but designed to take the bump and grinds. They're bullet proof."

The boats are already proving popular. As many as 20 high school children have signed up for their programme when the club had been expecting about a dozen and a couple are even venturing from Hamilton to sail them. 

They will also be used for their adult learn to sail programmes.

"We are doing this as a club programme rather than schools programme," Raynes said. "We're not pushing racing, unless the children want to, with the emphasis on learning how to sail properly."

A decision to buy the boats was made about 12 months ago with $85,000 raised from community trusts to purchase the boats and sponsorship secured with 10 local companies to subsidise the participation cost of their junior and youth sailing programmes in both the Optimists and Z420s.

Cambridge High School graduated to silver fleet at the national teams racing championships last year and, while some of those sailors have finished school, it's hoped the six new boats will usher in a new era of success.