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60-year tradition kept afloat

Posted at 11:03am Monday 16 Nov, 2020

The club owns a range of boats, including dinghies from the 50s and 60s, purchased from the garages of local residents.The club owns a range of boats, including dinghies from the 50s and 60s, purchased from the garages of local residents.

The Sandspit Yacht Club is looking for a small intake of sailors for its 8-week basic training course starting in February and ending at Easter weekend.

Coordinator Glenys Milne says spots are strictly limited, so parents should book their children a place well in advance.

There are currently 40 young sailors enrolled for lessons with the club.

The classes operate twice a year, lining up with school terms four and one.

There are different levels for different abilities and classes are open to nine to 16 year olds.

Children start in an Optimist sailing dinghy to learn the basics. They learn the different parts of the boat, how to tie various knots and to identify where the wind is coming from.

Sailors then graduate to O'pen Bic boats, which have a flat hull and go faster.

Young sailors are taught how to read weather conditions, respect the sea and how to go on adventures.

Glenys says sailors can't get into much trouble in Kawau Bay.

“Even if the boat tips over, you get back up again.”

The club is community funded and does not make a profit from its junior lessons.

The club continually purchases new vessels and pays for maintenance.

“It is about getting more kids sailing. We want to keep the tradition alive,” Glenys says.

“Kawau Bay is one of the best places in New Zealand to learn to sail.”

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Sandspit Yacht Club. Convener Phil Armstrong says he would like to see three times the number of children enrolled in the classes.

His long-term ambition for the club is to build a large bunker at Algies Bay that would allow club members to store their sail dinghies there.

“Kids could come down on their push bikes and go for a sail,” he says.

The 8-week course costs $285 and a further $200 for sailors who want to hire a boat from the club for lessons.

Families are encouraged to buy their own vessel to keep at the club in their second or third year.

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