Sailors from the Selwyn area are looking for boats to learn to sail in

Sailors needing boats

by Ann van Engelen

The Waimakariri Sailing club needs help to encourage local Selwyn sailors to learn the art of sailing.

“We have been treating sailors to fantastic sailing conditions for more than 90 years,” says vice commodore, Sam Jones.

“I grew up in Doyleston, and we have sailors from Dunsandel, Rolleston, Lincoln and Prebbleton enjoying a fun and family atmosphere where we focus on getting as many sailors on the water as possible. Sailing is great for the soul, and unlike other sports, age doesn’t need to be a barrier as is proved by Stalena and Lilian Dunn who, at twelve and nine years old sail grandad’s Sunburst together, and club patron 84-year-old Ron Mackie still actively sails. Every year we host a five-hour Sunburst race with the rule being that every hour, each boat must replace one of the crew with a new crew member, and this includes the skipper. This year saw the youngest combination so far with Stalena and Lilian teaming up for the first time.

Stalena often sails her own Firebug boat and Lilian often crews for grandad, but this time they took to the water together and thoroughly enjoyed the steady Waimak breeze. “It is all about time on the water for any sailor as you never stop learning and it is not only about the juniors, we have a larger number of adults coming back to sailing or learning for the first time.”

Recently, one of the club’s new young sailors, Luke, was donated a wooden Optimist boat that needed a coat of paint, a few ropes replaced and some minor repairs.

“The project was taken on by Luke and his grandad, and the result is outstanding, not just how well the boat came up with a little attention to detail and care, but also the time they spent together working on the project. They launched the ‘new’ boat together that he called Penguin and now Luke is sailing like a champ. We are desperate to get boats that our new members can sail into the future. We have the skills to help make any repairs needed, and we love seeing them be sailed by happy sailors.” If you have or know of a boat that is excess to requirements and would like it to be used rather than sit in the shed and are happy to donate or sell it to an eager sailor, please contact Sam Jones on 029 200 4554 or samtjones1972@gmail.com.