Ian Darby never thought the first week in his new job would look like this. After all, being a Yachting New Zealand regional support officer involves getting out and about and connecting with the yacht clubs and their members in his region.
But these are not normal times.
Darby this week took over as the regional support officer for the southern area of the northern region. This essentially covers the territory from south of the Auckland Harbour Bridge down to Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.
It's a role he's had his eye on for some time and joins after four years of owning a technology consulting business.
"I enjoy being outdoors, enjoy meeting people and get a kick out of seeing others enjoy sailing," Darby said. "I have seen lots of children taking up the sport from scratch who now have a passion for it.
"What I really like about the sport is all of the facets to it, the life skills you learn. It's quite different to a lot of other sports and really is a sport for life. My goal is to introduce people to sailing and keep them involved and that is a fulfilling proposition."
Darby is still regularly sailing but not as much as he was before the first of his three children turned up. He was one of the first graduates from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's much-vaunted youth training programme in the late 1980s and went on to race nationally and internationally, mostly in keelboats.
He's been at or near the front of the fleet in the Fastnet Race, Sydney-Hobart Race, Auckland-Fiji Race and Japan Cup and in 1997/98 was a member of the shore crew and boat captain for Merit Cup's Whitbread Round the World Race campaign.
These days his racing is largely on home waters and he races regularly on Mayhem, one of the country's fastest TP52s (pictured above).
"I have been sailing on Mayhem since the boat arrived here five years ago and we always take a few youth sailors with us who we train up and teach the ropes," Darby said. "There's always two hours of shore work to every hour of sailing with TP52s so it's about teaching work ethic, roles and responsibility.
"I have been to lot of regattas and lots of places, and been involved in yacht clubs for a long time, so I understand the challenges they have."
Darby is a member of both the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Wakatere Boating Club, where he is on the committee, and been alongside his youngest son's journey through the junior classes.
He had originally thought he would be jumping in the car in the near future and introducing himself to the clubs in his region but that will have to wait - the car part at least. Instead he'll be hitting the phones and video conference calls to find out how he can help.
In that way, nothing changes.
- Yachting New Zealand's four regional support officers are here and willing to help.
|NZCT regional support officer (Northern Region - North)||Hayden Whitburn||
|NZCT regional support officer (Northern Region - South)||Ian Darbyemail@example.com
021 562 054
|NZCT regional support officer (Central Region)||Wayne Holdtfirstname.lastname@example.org
027 285 3796
|NZCT regional support officer (Southern Region)||Ian Gardineremail@example.com
021 0293 9182