RESPONSIBLE BATTERY DISPOSAL
Coutts runs Wanaka sailing clinic
FIVE-TIME WINNER of the America’s Cup and Olympic gold medallist Sir Russell Coutts held a coaching clinic for junior sailors on Lake Wanaka in November. He was joined by Wanaka-based former Team New Zealand teammates Barry Mckay and Hamish Pepper, also an Olympian. The trio last sailed together in the 2000 America’s Cup campaign.
It was the first time the O’pen Bic youth sailing programme had come to the Wanaka Yacht Club.
Mckay, who retired from professional sailing in 2007, says the Bic boats are making a big difference in opening up sailing as a sport to young people. “Hamish and I are also passionate about growing youth sailing and proving opportunities for kids who wouldn’t normally sail. The Bic boats are really user-friendly for novice sailors.”
Coutts, Mckay and Pepper, along with other members of the Wanaka Yacht Club, worked with 15 young Wanaka, Queenstown and Te Anau sailors aged between 11 and 17, teaching them techniques on and off the water. There were 10 Bic boats on the lake. Wanaka Yacht Club is currently raising money to purchase four boats this summer and another four boats next year.
“The boats are good for learning – you can capsize them without swamping, and they’re fast and exciting to sail. They’re also relatively easy for clubs to maintain,” Coutts says. Lake Wanaka Yacht Club coaches and former Team New Zealand sailors Barry Mckay (left) and Hamish Pepper (centre), with junior sailors Luke Burke (second-left) and Laura Erichsen, and Wanaka Yacht Club Youth Sailing Coordinator Craig Fahey at Wanaka Yacht Club with a Bic boat.