Sail­ing is not only a sport for the rich

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - ES­THER ASHBY-COVEN­TRY

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.

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