Sailing is not only a sport for the rich
The perception that yachting is a ‘‘rich man’s sport’’ is wrong as it is not as expensive as people think, a Timaru yachtie says.
Team New Zealand’s successful recent America’s Cup campaign cost New Zealand taxpayers $36 million, adding to the view that the sport was out of ordinary people’s grasp, but Timaru Yacht and Powerboat club committee member Rob Berger said yachting was not an expensive sport unless you wanted it to be.
A family membership to the club, which may include five individuals, cost $215 a year. For a single membership for a child under 15 it cost $95.
‘‘We’re really keen to have more children and parents involved and not be put off by the misperception of it being a rich man’s sport.’’
Berger said sailors could take the sport to whatever level they wanted.
A strong junior section of the club saw many on the water for a mid-winter sail at Caroline Bay on the weekend of July 15 and 16, thanks to an easterly breeze. The young sailors, in Starlings, P, and Optimist classes, ranged in age from eight to 14.
‘‘They would sail all year round if they could,’’ Berger said.
The club provided plastic and fibreglass yachts to junior members for use, as well as spray jackets, and a safety boat was always on standby.
Berger said the children learnt boat-handling skills and how to make decisions based on their own judgment of the environment, other boats, water movement and weather patterns.
‘‘Actions or the lack thereof have consequences, and no one is telling them what to do. They have to work it out themselves.’’
It was a steep learning curve when starting sailing, Berger said.
‘‘Get over that hump and you’re away laughing to whatever level you want to take it.’’
As well as junior sailing the club catered to a variety of water interests, such as yacht racing, family boating and cruising.
In the past Timaru club members have gone on to be part of Team New Zealand, vying for the America’s Cup, including Gavin Brady, who was a helmsman in Chris Dickson’s crew in 1995, Ian Baker, who worked as a grinder in the early 2000s, and Gareth Sim, a sail-maker for four cup campaigns up to 2010.
Timaru Yacht and Powerboat Club juniors enjoy a mid-winter sail around Caroline Bay.