A growing fleet of optimists now regularly graces the waters of the Upper Harbour following the introduction of a junior sailing programme at Hobsonville Yacht Club.
In February, the club participated in Have a Go Day, a national initiative aimed at encouraging beginners to try their hand at sailing. Almost 200 people took part, with many families expressing an ongoing interest in a junior sailing programme.
“Straight away we started buying second-hand optimists, which are a really good training boat for younger kids, and doing them up. We’ve now got seven so we’re getting quite a decent fleet which is a superb achievement,” says Gill Moore, Dinghy Sailing Co-ordinator.
“I’ve been totally delighted at how things have progressed. We regularly get between eight and 12 kids turning up. There’s no serious racing, they’re going out and having fun in boats.”
The weekly programme is run by volunteer club members, all of whom are experienced sailors. Heading into summer, it will be offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays (times to vary depending on high tide) with a weekend sailing retreat to Motuihe Island also proposed for next March. Children aged five to 13, who are accompanied by a parent(s), are invited to attend their first session for free, after which annual junior membership to the club is $30.
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