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Regional roundup: Stolen Opti sparks outpouring of support

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Our four NZ Community Trust regional development managers look at what has been happening across the country - as many clubs celebrate another successful sailing season and start to look ahead to the next one.


The stolen Optimist - one of six in Waimakariri Sailing Club's learn-to-sail fleet. Photo / Supplied

'Don't understand the impact': Thieves hit club twice in two weeks 

A South Island sailing club targeted by thieves twice in a matter of weeks has been inundated with offers of support after losing a sixth of its learn-to-sail fleet in the latest burglary.

Waimakariri Sailing Club has twice had equipment stolen this year - with one of their Optimists taken from a storage container on a man-made lake north of Kaiapoi, Canterbury in late April.

The lake is used to run the club’s thriving learn-to-sail programme.

Only two weeks earlier, during Easter weekend, another Opti was stolen from the club headquarters on the Waimakariri River Mouth.

And while the boat in the first burglary has since been recovered, the blue Optimist – one of six in its learn to sail programme – remains at large.

“One $1000 boat may not seem like a lot, but those six boats are always out and we've always got kids on the shore waiting to go out,” Commodore Sam Jones said.

“Now we're down to five. That's just one more kid on the shore and not on the water.”

An insert on TV news sparked an outpouring from the local community – and from people across the country – offering to help the club.

“We’re extremely grateful to have been offered five different Optis – two of them are the same plastic ones that we have from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, as well as three wooden boats,” Jones said.

“We’ve also had some people donate money to the club anonymously, but we would still love to get our Opti back.

“We spend a huge amount of volunteer hours getting as many kids as possible from all walks of life out on the lake and to have this happen twice now leaves you feeling violated.”

While the police investigation continues, Jones has a message for the offender or offenders: “You don't understand the impact this has had on the club. Just let me know where the boat is and I will hook up my trailer and come pick it up. No questions asked.”


Ample winter action in the south

Winter may be upon us but there are still a number of clubs in the south running events - an enjoyable way to retain the club camaraderie through the chilly months.

Waikawa Boating Club (above) runs the King Salmon winter series for keelboats, averaging 20 boats every second Sunday. So far this season, only two races have been held due to the weather. While the club and bar open after racing, crews are rostered to provide snacks and nibbles - great for club spirit. 


Tasman Bay Cruising Club run both short-handed and fully crewed racing every second Sunday, where you can expect some pleasant sailing conditions with often sunny days, calm seas and light gentle breezes making a social yacht with your crewmates very enjoyable. 


Keelers, trailer boats and even dinghies are all welcome at the Whisky Galore winter series at Naval Point Club Lyttelton, run on selected Sundays. A highlight is some hot food (and sponsors' product) at The Wardroom (above), overlooking Lyttelton Harbour, after sailing.


The Loyal Careys Bay Winter series, hosted by Port Chalmers Yacht Club every second Sunday, sees a mixture of trailer boats and dinghies in short races (followed by some hospitality at the Loyal Carey Bay Hotel). Port Chalmers Yacht Club has a good fleet of Ross 780 and Noelex 22 trailer boats and will be the venue for the 2024 national championships. 


At Akaroa Yacht Club, winter sailing consists of fortnightly keelboat racing. One of the hallmarks of the club, located on the eastern side of Banks Peninsula in the town of Akaroa, is its strong sense of community. Sailors of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced racers, find a warm and welcoming environment where they can connect, share knowledge, and forge lasting friendships. 


Participants dressed up for Waikawa Boating Club's Space Pirates-themed treasure hunt.

Testing times at club treasure hunt

Waikawa Boating Club’s Space Pirates treasure hunt on May 21 tested participants’ nautical and navigational skills, listening comprehension, knowledge and – in at least one instance – their marriage.

According to Rear Commodore (Cruising) Martin Cuthbert, the event was “not so much a race as a complete challenge”.

The weather was kind and the 14 participating boats had great fun, lots of laughs and disputes. Each boat had to record all the clues, numbers and letters they saw along the course,” he said.

Several participants got into the spirit of the event by dressing up and the afternoon was capped by more challenging questions and spot prizes.

The winner was John Turk, who successfully worked out the combination to the treasure chest lock, to claim wonderful prizes from sponsors Craigs Investments, Oddies Marine, Burnsco and Every Little Thing gift shop.

“The day was certainly full and all family members were involved in the challenges - we were even informed that there was a possibility of divorce,” Cuthbert laughed.


A good size ILCA fleet is expected at this weekend's King's Birthday Regatta. 

Regatta fit for a king at Port Ohope

Port Ohope Yacht Club will host their annual two-day regatta this weekend - now known as the King's Birthday Regatta.

The event is a great chance to sail in a good size ILCA fleet with the relatively confined course keeping the racing very close.

Other dinghy fleets will also be racing, with the rainbow Optimists setting off on a treasure hunt.

The club will also put on a great meal and socialising on Saturday evening.


A Sunburst fleet was among the more than 70 boats racing in Worser Bay Boating Club's Autumn Series last weekend.  

Worser Bay's big finale

It was a fitting finish to a big season at Worser Bay Boating Club last weekend - with over 70 boats competing in the Autumn Series. Zephyrs, Sunbursts, Starlings, Optimists and a few P-Class boats were all part of the racing to wrap proceedings up in style.

Full results here.


The inaugural Women on Water weekend attracted 120 entries. Photo / Live Sail Die 

Dates confirmed for WOWW 2024

Following the success of the inaugural Women on Water weekend (WOWW), Auckland Yacht and Boating Association is pleased to announce that Gulf Harbour Yacht Club will also be hosting next year's event.

WOWW 2024 will take place between March 8-10, with the aim of encouraging more women to get involved in sailing and for those who already sail to meet like-minded women, to have fun and to improve their skills.

This year over half of the 120 entrants were inexperienced. Gulf Harbour Yacht Club is expecting the 2024 event to attract even more entries -  the club has already received an expression of interest from a Sydney-based crew.

Gulf Harbour Yacht Club Vice Commodore Diana Bassett is hoping that boat owners from Auckland and Bucklands Beach will offer their boats as it is anticipated that more boats than what Gulf Harbour Yacht Club can provide will be needed.

There was also a shortage of experienced skippers this year, so it is hoped that a few more sailors who are capable of skippering and who are prepared to have a mixture of experienced and inexperienced sailors on board will come forward for next year’s event, Bassett added.


"WOWW has showcased our pristine sailing waters and the fun to be had in the Hauraki Gulf, especially at Gulf Harbour," said Commodore Phil Shaw.

"See you at the next Evolution Sails WOWW 24 regatta, in the meantime let's get out there and keep doing it!"

For more information click here or here.


Josh Armit with the spoils after winning the men's title at the inaugural NZ wingfoil national championships at Manly Sailing Club. Photo / Wingfoil New Zealand

Armit dominates at first wingfoil nationals at Manly

New Zealand's leading male windfoiler Josh Armit has added the inaugural wingfoil national honours to his rapidly growing list of achievements.

The 21-year-old took out the men's title at the event hosted by Manly Sailing Club on the weekend of May 20-21, winning eight of the 10 races for a victory margin of 19 points.

What made Armit's achievement even more impressive was that he had just returned from Greece, where he claimed a top-10 finish at the European windfoil championships.

"I landed in Auckland around 10am (on Saturday, May 20), made my way through customs at about 10.30am and then rushed to Manly for a 12pm start," Armit said.

"I'm stoked to take out the win."

Hugo Wigglesworth was second overall, followed by Lloyd Perratt.


Aimee Bright in action at the nationals in Manly. Photo / Salty Shot Photography

Aimee Bright finished first female and seventh overall in a 50-strong open fleet.

Full results here.

Bay of Islands Yacht Club set for 'red tide'

The Bay of Islands Yacht Club will again pay tribute to Kiwi yachting icon Sir Peter Blake when it hosts its annual Red Socks Regatta next month.

The event is named after the famous socks Blake wore during New Zealand's 1995 America’s Cup triumph and has become a popular addition to the domestic sailing calendar.

This year’s regatta takes place on June 11 and will also serve as a celebration of the club’s season.

Entrants are encouraged to dress up in red (and, of course, to wear some red socks) with prizes for the best-dressed and best-decorated boat (in red) to be awarded.

For more information and to register, click here.