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Zephyr nationals

Zephyr nationals to be hotly contested

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Sailors aged 15 to 76 will descend on Tauranga this weekend to compete in the upcoming Zephyr national championships.

As many as 60 entries are expected at the Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club, eclipsing the 46 the last time the event was held in Tauranga in 2015.

Among them will be 20 who hope local knowledge gives them an advantage, including current North Island Zephyr champion Mark Thomas, but there's a fair bit of quality in the rest of the fleet. Defending national champion Greg Wright from Wellington is one of five who have won the title previously and there will also be former Olympians and Emirates Team New Zealand sailors and coaches.

Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club commodore and Olympic selector Andy Knowles will not only welcome the out-of-town competitors and families but he will also be a hot contender on the water when racing starts on Sunday and goes through to Wednesday. 

The Zephyr is a one-person sailing yacht, designed by New Zealander Des Townson in 1956, and is one of New Zealand's most popular single-person dinghies with more than 300 wooden boats and 10 of the newly-released fibreglass hull versions being sailed nationwide. Regular weekend and sometimes midweek racing with big fleets is held by yacht clubs in Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Auckland.

With more young and older people getting into sailing, the Zephyr has proven to be an easy boat to learn in and at the same time providing one-class design competition for the best of New Zealand sailors.

Anyone interested in taking a closer look at a Zephyr, or even wishing to try their hand at sailing one, are welcome to visit the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat club this week end. 

For more, contact Zephyr Owners Association president Peter Busfield (021 676 744 and or Tauranga commodore Andy Knowles (021 941 504 and