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Queen Charlotte Yacht Club

Regional Roundup - Know the rules around ships

Issue date

The Yachting New Zealand regional development managers take a look at what has been happening in their areas and also remind you that it's not worth tangling with ships.

Winter has turned up in the south with snow on the hills, skifields opening, rivers flooding and, when I last looked, wind gusts over 70 knots at the Brothers in Cook Strait.

Winter is a good time for clubs to get ahead with their planning and organisation for the coming season, which in reality is only 12 weeks away.

A number of our clubs sail in waters shared with lager ships, ferries and commercial vessels but it's apparent some yachties are unaware of or lacking appreciation of the rules around these vessels.

There was an article in local media recently in which a yacht skipper was fined after a container ship had to alter course to avoid a collision.

If you are sailing in an area that shares waters with commercial shipping, it is good practice for your sailors, as part of their training, to understand what the various signals from commercial ships mean.

Ships travel a lot faster than they appear and sailors can be enjoying the ambience of the sail when a ship appears and blasts its horn.

One short blast: I am altering course to starboard
Two short blasts: I am altering course to port
Three short blasts: My engines are operating astern
Five or more short blasts: I do not understand your intentions – better known as WHAT ARE YOU DOING?



Clubs and members enjoy the fortnightly Briefings newsletter in their inbox, which often take a look at what is going on around the country, but it's not always easy knowing what is happening at your club.

We welcome submissions, whether it’s regatta reports, news or preview stories and there are a few things you can do to make our job easier and also improve the chances of your story being published.

You can submit news online or via email to Yachting New Zealand communications manager Michael Brown on You can either write it directly into an email or use Microsoft Word but please avoid PDFs (it’s not easy getting the story off there).

Please use the full name of those involved, not their nicknames or just their first names, and their position if it is relevant (eg commodore, youth coach etc). With regatta reports, ensure you have the essentials like the full name of the club it took place, the name of the regatta, the classes involved and when it happened.

Providing a photo is essential because every story runs with an image. We realise you’re not all professionals but try to send the highest quality images you can - anything under about 100k will result in a pretty grainy picture.

If the shot is from a professional, please ensure you have permission to use the picture. List the photographer’s name so we can make sure they get the credit they deserve. You also need to list who is featured in the photo and give a short description of what is happening to give the image some context.

It’s best to attach JPGs to the email. Please don’t embed in the body of an email or inside the Word document or PDF because this compromises the quality of the image. It’s good to send options but please don’t be disappointed if all of them aren’t used.

Also, if your club does a regular newsletter, please include your local Yachting New Zealand regional development manager on the distribution list.

Port Ohope Yacht Club

Port Ohope

The Port Ohope Yacht Club's annual regatta was held in sunshine and light winds over the Queen’s Birthday weekend with another good turnout for the event.

Racing in the ICLA (Laser) fleet was extremely close, with the ILCA 7 winner decided by who took out the last race.

Well done to race officer Diego San Remo for getting the six races away over the two-day regatta - a strong current made things difficult at times - and a special thanks to all the club volunteers who make this regatta well worth attending.

The rainbow/green Opti fleet had a fun first day with the destination sail and treasure hunt (they even had treasure maps). Graeme Tee does a great job of keeping these young sailors entertained.

Kerikeri Cruising Club


Understanding your rights on the race course is half the battle so members of all northern clubs are invited to a free rules session at the Kerikeri Cruising Club on July 1 (5.30pm).

National judge Dave McIntyre and Yachting New Zealand regional development manager Hayden Whitburn will run the session. 

Please indicate your intention to attend by emailing and also let them know what rules you would like them to cover.

Napier Sailing Club

Napier Sailing Club

The Napier Sailing Club held their Brass Monkey regatta over Queens Birthday weekend with a good mix of classes in the 50-boat fleet.

Four races were sailed on the first day but light winds meant only two races were possible on the second day of the regatta.

Napier Sailing Club

The Europe Dinghy national championships (pictured above) were also held in Napier over the Queens Birthday weekend, with 10 boats competing.

Opua’s Antje Muller came out on top, with Derek Brebner (Howick) in second and local Jason Trow third.

Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club

Evans Bay

The Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club have been running a series of coaching workshops with Phil Williams recently, which have been highly informative and well attended.

Adult sailor development was one of the areas identified in the last Yachting New Zealand Voice of the Participant survey and Evans Bay have been addressing this well in recent times.

Many of those participants will be able to put their knowledge to good use in the club's new Matariki Regatta on June 24-26.

So far the club have received close to 70 entries. See here for more information.

Paremata Boating Club

Paremata Boating Club

The Paremata Boating Club has been a hub of sailing activity for some time, illustrated beautifully in the photo above taken in 1965.

The club have produced more than their share of great New Zealand sailors and is still a great family-orientated dinghy club.

You can send us your favourite images of your club by emailing

Upcoming events

Bay of Islands Foiling Week

The fourth edition of Foil Bay of Islands is just around the corner on June 24-26 and promises to be one of the highlights of the winter months. 

Registrations have opened for this, and can be found on the event website here.

The Maraetai Sailing Club will also be hosting the inaugural RS Winter Regatta on June 25-26, which is open to RS Fevas, RS Quests and RS Aeros.

Be first to get your name on the new trophies for this annual event. There's been a huge amount of growth in RS sailing in this country in recent times, which is also reflected in other parts of the world.

See here for more information on the RS Winter Regatta.