Our four NZ Community Trust regional development managers take a look at what's been happening around the country - including confirmation of the first national championships for the domestic wingfoiling fleet, and the first of the year's Aon national clinics.
Manly Sailing Club to host inaugural NZ wingfoil nationals
Manly Sailing Club will host the 2023 New Zealand national wingfoil championships – the first in the history of the class that continues to see rapid growth.
The event will take place on the weekend of May 20-21 with open and social divisions offering participants the opportunity to compete at their own level.
According to class association president David Gunn, more than 50 foilers are expected.
“Our aim for the weekend is simply to bring everyone in the wingfoiling community together and to enjoy some fast and fun racing,” he said.
“It should be a fantastic spectacle for those wanting to watch the racing from the beach or on the water.”
Gunn said the target time for races is 10 minutes and organisers were hoping to get through eight races each day.
“We hope to have most foil brands coming to showcase their equipment over the weekend and it will be a great chance to check out some of the latest gear and possibly give it a demo too,” Gunn said.
There will be prizes awarded for different age categories and divisions.
To enter the regatta, click here.
Aon clinics start with tips from top coaches
Sailors from across the country gathered at Wakatere Boating Club last weekend for the first Aon national clinic of 2023.
Despite challenging weather conditions, the clinic was a success with an impressive group of coaches leading the way, said Yachting New Zealand's youth manager Sam Mackay.
"On Saturday, the breeze was top-end, making for a tricky day on the water. However, the sailors were still able to have a really valuable session under the guidance of several coaches with Olympic experience including Jenny Armstrong, Andrew Murdoch, Paul Snow-Hansen and Andrew Brown," Mackay said.
With the strong winds hampering sailing on Sunday, the focus shifted to key performance tactics and decision-making, with Brown and Snow-Hansen discussing heavy-air tactics and developing a call book to guide decision-making at different events.
The day also included an interactive group exercise on rules scenarios, class discussions capturing learning from the previous day and a circuit fitness session and team run up North Head.
"There will be a block of two more clinics before a number of sailors head off to compete in youth class world championship events," Mackay said.
RNZYS team completes set of match-racing titles
Josh Hyde, Jack Manning, Zach Fong and Cody Coughlan claimed the CenterPort International Youth Match Racing Regatta to hold all three major youth match racing trophies in the country.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron quartet - sailing as the Yosemite Sam Racing Team - won the event hosted by Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington last weekend – defeating Australian Cole Tapper and his crew 2-0 in the final.
Hyde and Co previously won the Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup and the NZ Youth Match Racing Nationals.
Full results here.
Wihau Shield honours for Meacham
Sixteen P-Class boats lined up for the 2023 Wihau Shield at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club last weekend, an iconic regatta and the only swap boat series on the domestic sailing calendar.
And while wild weather made sailing on the second day of the regatta impossible, both the shield and the Secretaries Cup will still have new names engraved on them.
The event was first sailed in 1942 and has a unique format that sees the top five sailors from the first four races on the first day compete for the shield when they swap boats across a series of races to find an overall winner.
The last race of the first day is the first race of the Wihau Shield, with four more races scheduled for the second day.
The rest of the fleet sails for the Secretaries Cup.
The first day of sailing saw four races held in up to 25kn, with Hamish Brown winning the first race and Nathan Soper - in a borrowed hull - claiming the second.
Nelsen Meacham won the next two races in squally conditions to win the first day's sailing.
With racing abandoned on the second day, Meacham was crowned the winner of the Wihau Shield, while the Secretaries Cup went to Thomas Linklater.
Murrays Bay Sailing Club's Emily Turner finished first female, in eighth overall.
The Wihau Shield is bigger than rugby's Ranfurly Shield and equally impressive, measuring 90cm x 70cm and weighing 13kg. It has a notable list of previous winners including Craig Monk, Ray Davies, Aaron McIntosh and Simon Cooke.
This year's event also marked the start of the centenary season for the P-Class in New Zealand - which turns 100 in January.
Conditions force fresh approach to coaching course
A lack of breeze could not stop nine would-be sailing coaches from completing their course at the Nelson Yacht Club last weekend – and having fun doing it.
Yachting New Zealand’s coach development manager Kirsten Moratz, who ran the course, said light conditions forced a slightly different approach.
“While the weather was better than in many other places, with no rain and even a bit of sunshine, we still had to come up with a few innovative ways to learn and have fun with hardly any wind at times,” Moratz said.
“On the first day, we practised briefings, debriefings, coaching on the water and on land, and coaching individually and in pairs.
“On the second day, we spent some time designing a new game before heading out onto the water to trial it. We played several other games - all in almost no wind at all - and had a blast.”
By the end of the weekend, all nine course members were running as a well-oiled coaching unit.
“They were planning all their sessions well, thinking in advance about safety, and communicating effectively with each other and those they were teaching,” Moratz said.
The Nelson course follows the successful “graduation” of 13 other coaches at the Manly Sailing Club course over the weekend of 22-23 April.
Young sailors (14 or older) who are interested in becoming a coach are encouraged to keep an eye on the Yachting New Zealand course calendar.
If you are a head coach or a club that has sailors wanting to take a coaching course, or a club wanting to host a course, please contact Moratz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elliott 5.9 Traveller Series: All eyes on Shapeshifter, youth boat
The first round of the 2023 Harken Elliott 5.9 Traveller Series will be hosted by the Bay of Plenty Trailer Yacht Squadron at Lake Rotoiti this weekend (6-7 May).
Fresh from the successful Elliott 5.9 national championships, another strong fleet will again do battle to see who can gain an early advantage in the five-regatta series.
The ability to tow the Elliott 5.9s to various locations means the class is always looking to include a freshwater lake event - with Lake Rotoiti now a regular first stop in the series.
As always, the one-design racing is expected to be tight - with all eyes on Shapeshifter.
The new national champion won last year's Whitianga regatta in light and shifty conditions, similar to what is expected this weekend.
After missing the nationals, Blurr will return to the fleet. Blurr, one of the most consistent boats in the fleet, challenged for the overall win at last year's event and will again be looking forward to sailing on the lake.
Also competing in Rotorua are Napier-based boats Bloodline and Animal Crackers, and perennial contender Rough and Reddy (R+R).
R+R was narrowly beaten by Shapeshifter at the nationals earlier this year - ending its near-decade-long dominance at the event.
The class will also be welcoming a youth development boat to the series at Rotoiti. This is a boat provided by the class to a youth team to support youth development and has been allocated to the Glendowie Boating Club team of Ollie Davidson, Sam Gowen, Lydia Boyd and Jack Webb.
For more information, click here.
Relentless lives up to name
True to its name, Relentless retained its position at the top of the Tornado class in New Zealand.
Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club's Jason Marra and Brendon Dusky defended their national title aboard Relentless at the event hosted by the NZ Multihull Association in March, winning this year's title ahead of Wayne Limbrick and Sally Block, and Winston Ordish-Benner and Stuart McKinnon.
"It’s a fantastic result. No one gave an inch, the conditions were all over the place and it was a hard-fought battle on the race course,” Marra said.
The regatta was also run in conjunction with the A-Class nationals.
The Tornado is a double-handed multihull class, first designed in 1967 and used at the Olympic Games as the catamaran class from 1976 to 2008. Rex Sellers and Chris Timms are this country's most renowned former sailors, winning gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and backing it up with silver four years later in Seoul.