I sailed for the first time when I was 6 years old for a summer programme while my family and I were living in America. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I was able to get into sailing again, when friends of the family introduced us to the Hobsonville Yacht Club’s junior sailing.
My Dad grew up at the Yacht club when it used to be the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland Yacht Club and my family had had a lot to do with the club in the past so we were excited to get involved in a dinghy sailing programme at the club. I found it so much fun to get in a boat and learn how to sail in a friendly environment where it was okay to make mistakes as it was all a part of the fun.
After learning to sail in an Optimist, I moved into a Firebug and eventually began sailing in my own Starling. I soon found that I preferred sailing with others and coaching so through the club I completed a Yachting New Zealand ‘Learn to Sail’ coaches course and have become a Learn to Sail coach at the club. I find it very full circle being able to teach new sailors at the same club where I learnt to sail.
While we are able to run a ‘Learn to Sail’ programme, it has been a challenge to do so due to the relocation of the clubhouse and yard as there are many more logistical aspects that have had to be taken into account in order for the programme to continue.
The Upper Harbour Regional Marine Centre would be so beneficial for not only the club but also the programme as it will give us a venue with storage that allows us to easily and successfully run the ‘Learn to Sail’ lessons. It is so rewarding to watch young sailors enjoy and experience a sport that has brought me such joy and the Upper Harbour Regional Marine Centre would allow us to continue to provide a ‘Learn to Sail’ programme accessible to anyone and everyone and expose more generations of junior sailors to the enjoyment of being on the water.