The four Yachting New Zealand regional development managers select some highlights from their respective areas over the past fortnight and share essential safety practices for those on - and in - the water following the significant recent weather events in Auckland and other parts of the country.
And, as on-water activity ramps up, they also offer a range of material, information and suggestions for clubs and members to stay safe.
Safety tips for the busiest part of summer
This time of the year is the busiest on the sailing calendar, with events jam-packed, and the weather showing it can be very unpredictable.
It’s therefore important to remind sailors, coaches, race officers, parents, and volunteers of essential safety practices.
Life jackets and wearing your kill chord are two main things to remember for coaches and safety boat skippers.
Clubs who operate with a Maritime Operators Safety System (MOSS) exemption will be familiar with Yachting New Zealand's rescue operator training guidelines resource available to help upskill members who skipper rescue vessels or coach boats.
This resource is available for any club, and we recommend the Yachting New Zealand rescue boat safety system as a best-practice template for all clubs to follow.
For clubs that run regattas where there are visiting club members operating RIBs as race management support or assistant safety boat skippers, it is essential you let visiting support boat skippers know about local hazards and how your club manages an emergency. To help, Yachting New Zealand has developed a support boat safety card template that clubs can personalise and modify to share with visitors.
The recent significant weather events in Auckland have highlighted two areas that clubs should consider adding to their club’s activity risk or hazard register:
- Debris from the flooding is a hazard for any boat in the area and skippers and crews should keep a watchful eye when on the water. If required, the sailing area should be cleared, or the event postponed.
- Beaches being unsafe to swim off are a hazard for members and it is recommended that they access water quality information through websites/apps like Safeswim and Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA). Hazards should be communicated to members and the public if using club boat ramps and beaches and the risk considered for those who may end up swimming close to shore as part of a club activity.
For general boating safety Maritime NZ have a safer boating website and a safer boating guide clubs can share with members.
Women on Water weekend: Call for entries
The Evolution Sails Women on Water weekend hosted by Gulf Harbour Yacht Club from March 10-12 is fast approaching, and the club is keen for women who want to get into sailing or return to the sport to sign up.
The event is designed to provide an opportunity for women of all ages to take part in an inclusive sailing activity and promote their confidence and enjoyment regardless of prior experience or expertise, organisers said.
The closing date for entries is Thursday (February 23).
Entrants can provide their own boats and crew or be allocated a place on one of the yachts made available by club members. Sailing will be in two divisions – extra sails and non-extras.
The programme of activities starts on Friday (March 10) with a familiarisation sail to Tiritiri Matangi followed by a burger buffet at the club. Saturday and Sunday will see back-to-back racing – with a buffet dinner and dancing on Saturday night and the final prizegiving following the last race on Sunday.
“We are delighted that Evolution Sails have come on board as our main sponsor now that they have moved their headquarters to Matakana,” Gulf Harbour Yacht Club Commodore Phil Shaw said.
“Telos Group real estate from Silverdale have also agreed to offer support as they like to give back to the local community. Other major sponsors include Burnsco, Bay Insurance, Gulf Harbour Marina and Chains Ropes & Anchors who are all key players in the marine industry.”
According to Shaw, the regatta is aimed at growing women’s participation in sailing and entry is open to participants from all over the country “for a weekend of fun on and off the water”.
For more information and to enter, click here.
Murrays Bay course delivers 14 new coaches
Two days of learning on and off the water produced 14 freshly minted coaches at Murrays Bay Sailing Club recently.
The course, hosted at the club on January 25-26, was held in sunny weather but the big breeze and swell proved an added challenge for Coach Developer Chris Wood who still managed to get the participants out on the water in Optis.
The coaches - 10 assistant coaches, three buddy coaches and one learn to sail coach - practised different methods before all receiving their certificates.
According to Yachting New Zealand Coach Development Manager Kirsten Moratz, courses are now being scheduled for winter.
Young sailors (14 or older) who are interested in becoming a coach are encouraged to keep an eye on the the YNZ course calendar.
If you are a head coach or a club who has sailors wanting to take a coaching course, or a club wanting to host a course, please contact Moratz at email@example.com.
Wanted: 13 Optis for nationals
Wakatere Boating club are on the hunt for race-ready boats for overseas competitors to use during the 2023 Optimist National Championships.
The club is urging anyone with unused privately owned Optis of a good standard to get in touch as 13 sailors from abroad are looking to charter a boat for the regatta.
“Due to local supply issues and the high number of enquiries, we are calling out for unused privately owned Optis of a good standard to register with us,” the club said in a message to members and other supporters.
“Wakatere Boating Club will assist in bringing people and boats together, but will not be responsible for insurance, charter fees, equipment damage and logistics.”
The Opti nationals are set to run from April 6-10.
To register your Opti click here.
For more information on the regatta click here.
'Other-way-round' Harbour Classic all go
The inaugural edition of the Harbour Classic is still a few weeks away yet the newest addition to the country’s sailing calendar already promises to be a unique experience.
The event is the brainchild of the organisers of the popular Coastal Classic and will take place between March 31 and April 1 (with racing on the last day).
It will feature a different format – hosting the briefing and a party the night before the race, followed by prizegiving.
"This is the same format as the Barcolana in Trieste, Italy and since our committee member Greg Roake took part in the Barcolana, we are going to adopt this ‘other-way-round’ approach for this year," organisers said.
"You could say this is a test case for 2024, so sign up for this awesome race and be one of the first group of people to undertake this new challenge."
The race is organised by the New Zealand Multihull Yacht Club, but all yacht classes are encouraged to enter. It will start at North Head, running along the North Shore beaches to Torbay, before returning to North Head through the Rangitoto Channel.
Participants will only be required to meet category 5 classification and handicaps will be provided by the organising committee based on the race track, with additions and modifications as required.
Click here to enter.
Battered Bays week 'good learning experience'
Gale force winds, heavy rain and rough seas forced racing to be called off on the last day of the Bay of Islands Sailing Week – the first time racing has been abandoned in the regatta’s 20-year history.
The event, which ran from January 25-27 saw 103 boats take part, with all scheduled races completed on race day 1 despite sailors having to contend with up to 2.5m waves and winds of up to 25kn.
Conditions were similar for day 2, and race management opted to bring racing in closer to calmer waters further inside the Bay of Islands, to avoid the worst of the rough seas. They also altered courses so all divisions sailed a single bay race, and no windward-leeward races were sailed.
Around half the boats entered would normally sail three races each day – two windward-leewards and a bay race – so the cancellation of day 3 meant the Open Racing divisions completed just four races out of a scheduled nine. The Island Racing divisions, which sail a single, longer bay race each day, completed two races out of a scheduled three.
"It [was] a testing event, for the boats taking part and race management. But to only call off one event in 20 years, we’ve been very lucky," regatta chairman Ian Clouston said.
"They were working their butts off out there and it was very challenging, but quite a few sailors have said to me it was good for them to get that experience. It was a great learning experience."
The next Bay of Islands Sailing Week is scheduled to take place from January 23-26, 2024.
For full results click here.
Wellington turns it on for Optisail
Wellington turned on the sunshine and breeze for the annual Wellington Optisail live-in camp.
"Capped at 28 sailors due to the size of the clubrooms, this was one of the best camp we have run at the Titahi Bay Boating Club," Regional Development Manager (Central Region) Wayne Holdt said.
Activities included a destination sail, complete with icecream sandwiches, a three-legged race (with boats tied together in pairs), rail riding, a night sail, three-up races and a heap of fun.
While the camp concentrated on developing confidence and boat-handling skills which, according to Holdt was evident by the last day, having fun in the boats was at the top of the agenda of the young group of coaches who helped out.
"It was also great to see all the Wellington dinghy clubs represented at the camp where new friends are made to catch up with at other regattas."
A family affair at Whanganui Masters
The Whanganui Masters Sailing Regatta, hosted by the Wanganui Sailing Club, is an annual fixture on Waitangi Day.
This year saw a mix of classes - including Paper Tigers, Hartleys, Lasers and Europes - turn out to race on the river.
Phil Wild took out the Lasers, Philip Paterson the Hartley 16s, while the Paper Tiger fleet's top four had a familial flavour to it - with dad Stew Thomas finishing first, followed by Josh McDonell (son-in-law), Shawn Thomas (son) and Lisa McDonnell (daughter and top-placed female).
The club now look forward to their annual regatta which will run over the weekend of March 11-12.
Veteran takes out Noelex 25 title
Long-time Noelex 25 sailor Derek Dunbar and his crew claimed the honours at the Noelex 25 National Championships at Lake Rotoiti over the long weekend with a perfect scorecard.
The regatta, hosted by the Bay of Plenty Trailer Yacht Squadron, saw a variety of conditions that tested both sailors and race management - with eight of the nine scheduled races completed.
Second place went to Peter Harrison and crew from Napier, with local sailor Shaun English and crew in third.
Ornsbys on top in Motueka
A wide range of weather conditions made for exciting racing at the Noelex 22 National Championships, hosted by Motueka Yacht and Cruising Club over Waitangi weekend.
Nine races were sailed off-shore off Port Motueka with winds peaking at 30kn on Sunday.
Sailors from Christchurch’s Naval Point Club dominated - with the Ornsby family aboard Hard Core Pawn (skippered by dad Tristan) finishing first, followed by Dan Meehan (CannonBall) and Andrew May (About Now).
Wingfoilers sought for SailGP Christchurch
Can you race at high-speeds and perform freestyle tricks? SailGP Inspire is holding a wingfoil exhibition-style racing format in Christchurch and you can apply to take part now.
The three-day event will take place from March 17-19 alongside the ITM New Zealand SailGP and includes an exhilarating racing format of high-speed slalom courses and freestyle exhibition.
Riders will perform explosive tricks and showcase the next generation of foiling in front of SailGP’s race village before the league’s nine F50s battle it out at the 10th event of the season.
After racing, riders will have the chance to meet the athletes and undertake a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tech Site.
"It's really exciting to see SailGP inspiring the next generation through wingfoiling," New Zealand SailGP team strategist Jo Aleh said.
"Winging is one of the most accessible forms of foiling around. I've been doing it for a few years already and there's definitely crossover to all forms of foiling boats, so [it is] the perfect starter for some of the pretty amazing young foilers who come through the SailGP Inspire program."
To take part, riders must be aged 21 or under and be highly skilled. Apply before February 10 by clicking here.
Feva pitch as class debuts at Marakura
It was a closely run affair in the Feva fleet at the 2023 Te Anau Plumbing Open Dinghy Regatta at Marakura – the first time the class has made its appearance at the annual event.
Each of the four Feva crews managed to take line honours during the seven races over two days (January 28-29), with Eddie Doyle-Stewart and Blake Jackson eventually finishing on top.
Max Cutfield and Jamie Stibbe were second, with Aani and Ellie Tapper, and Thomas Jurczyluk and Oli Wyeth third and fourth, respectively.
Jack White and Harry Prendergast in a 29er won the Open Dinghy division, followed by the Lasers of Ross Shipman, Tom Bell and Mike Tapper.