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Mercury Bay

Dave's Desk - an update from the CEO

Issue date

There's always a little nervousness each year when we ask for club's to submit their affiliation data because it's the best way to gauge the health of the sport. And I'm really thrilled to report membership numbers nationally look very similar to last year.

That's no small achievement in this current environment and is testament to the work done by clubs to provide an environment in which people want to keep coming back. We often talk about sailing being a sport for life but it doesn't necessarily mean people will sign up to a club for life.

We really appreciate the efforts of clubs to submit their affiliation data in a timely manner. We're still waiting on a few clubs but for the majority their membership numbers have remained steady or have gone up.

Once we have received all the numbers we'll be able to give you a more precise picture of where things stand.

We're really hopeful the sport will be in an even healthier state through our new schools' programme.

RŪNĀ has the potential to reinvent the way we deliver sailing to young people in schools and reach not only greater numbers but also more diverse communities.

The first module, Kōkōkaha - Powered by the Wind, has been immensely popular and we're really excited about the potential of Korinorino - In our Ancestor's Wake, and Moanamana - Building New Zealand's Blue Belt. You'll be hearing more about these in the future.

RŪNĀ replaces the Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! programme, which has wound down after more than 15 years of operation. We're really grateful for the support of Volvo throughout that time and the working relationship we had over many years.

We've been really lucky at Yachting New Zealand to have a number of loyal sponsors, and that's been even more appreciated over the last couple of years.

Aon have been big supporters over the years, particularly around the youth programme and club insurance scheme, and they've even come on board as the major sponsors of this year's Aon Yachting Excellence Awards.

They are not alone, and we're lucky to have sponsors like Ross Pratt and Railblaza and Bill, Alastair and the team at Oceanbridge. What really stands out for me is the interest they take in what we are doing as an organisation and their willingness to help.

I would really encourage you to support sponsors of your local club as well as those who sponsor Yachting New Zealand and allow us all to deliver quality services and programmes.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for updates from the youth sailing world championships in The Hague, because many of these youngsters are our Olympic campaigners of the future. We wish all of the members of the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team the very best.

I think it's important to acknowledge the parents who have supported these young sailors over the years to get them to this point, as well as the work of our high performance team led by Ian Stewart, Geoff Woolley and Sam Mackay.

We've welcomed a couple of new staff lately, with Hayley Dorward taking over as high performance operations manager from Peter Kadar, who has followed his passion and joined Tri New Zealand, and Dave Smith who replaces Vanessa Hall as finance manager. We wish Peter and Vanessa well in their new roles.

We're a growing organisation and have a couple of other vacancies, so take a look and see if you'd like to join the team.