Join for a summer of sailing

Sea skills: A previous year's Marlborough Boys' and Queen Charlotte College sailing teams train for the nationals
Sea skills: A previous year's Marlborough Boys' and Queen Charlotte College sailing teams train for the nationals

Summer is coming and young people are invited to try their hand at sailing tomorrow when the Marlborough Colleges Sailing Club holds its annual open day.

Founding member Cindy Adams-Vining says this is the 10th year students from Queen Charlotte and Marlborough Girls' and Boys' Colleges have had a shared sailing club, which provides two-person boats for each school's six to eight-member teams.

Previous boating experience isn't required for those turning up at Shelly Beach tomorrow, but those who decide to join for the summer season will learn the skills and rules of competitive sailing.

After the annual open day, the club doesn't run regular events, leaving it up to each school to find its own coach, co-ordinate practice sessions and decide which regional and national events its team will enter.

Last month Marlborough Girls' College sent a team to compete at the annual Algies Bay spring regatta near Auckland.

In other years, some teams have travelled to inter-dominion regattas in Australia, Cindy says.

She was among the parents who formed the club 10 years ago.

Each Marlborough college owned two or three boats in various states of repair, so the group offered to fix them up and make them available.

Community support and sponsorship have since seen all boats replaced and the club has nine boats for Marlborough college teams to use this summer.

"Our mission, our aim, is to keep [sailing] affordable for everybody," Cindy says. "Sailing can be quite an elite sport so we try and make it available for every secondary student in Marlborough.

"We've built up the sport in the region and we have quite a high reputation around the country for what we can do. Very few regions have been able to work together as well as we do."

Tomorrow's open day is free but students who want to join a team for a summer of sailing must pay a $50 fee.

Intending sailors are asked to bring life jackets if they have them (spares are available for those who don't) and to wear warm, comfortable clothes and shoes that can get wet. An experienced sailor will be in each two-person boat.

"Team sailors, [students] learn to be part of a team," Cindy says. "It's not about being the fastest sailor but being tactical and thinking outside the square.

"You have to know your rules, know who gives way to who on the marks, think quickly, work well as a team – and be willing to get wet!

"The kids love it and they build up quite a camaraderie."

The Marlborough Colleges Sailing Club open day starts at 1pm tomorrow at Shelley Beach, Picton.

The Marlborough Express