Sailing around the world

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 06:55 05/06/2013
Taylor Burn
Emma Allen

Sea and air: Queen Charlotte Yacht Club members Alistair Gifford, Hamish Clark, Taylor Burn and Henry Gibbs are holding a fundraising dinner to help bankroll their overseas trips to represent New Zealand at various international sailing regattas next month.

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Four keen young Marlborough sailors have been chosen to represent New Zealand on the water at some of this year's international sailing competitions.

Alistair Gifford, 14, is competing in the Optimist World Championships in Italy next month and Hamish Clark, 15 is competing in the Optimist North American Championships in Bermuda.

Taylor Burn, 17, and Henry Gibbs, 14, are competing in the 420 French Nationals in France, the World Championships in Spain and the British Nationals and the European Championships in Wales in July.

Team manager Rob Burn said the boys' achievements had made the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club proud.

"It's fantastic to see a small club like ours competing at the highest levels," he said.

"The kids these days have a lot of self-belief. At the national events, they used to stand at the back like the hicks from the sticks, but now they expect they are going to do well."

However, the travel, accommodation, equipment and competition costs were high, and the boys would be required to raise funds to help them on their way, he said.

Henry's mother, Amanda Gibbs, is organising a curry and auction fundraiser at the Spy Valley Winery in the Waihopai Valley on Saturday, June 29.

Taylor is not new to the challenges of travelling abroad in pursuit of his chosen sport, and has been training in Auckland.

"It's important to keep racing and in the racing mode leading up to these events, so that we're used to it come race day," he said.

"But it's pretty hard for us in the southern hemisphere; it's cold and wet and usually there's no wind in Picton at this time of year."

Taylor, who won the national Optimist title in 2009, has travelled to more than 20 countries, including Japan, Brazil, the Czech Republic and Argentina.

"I'm very lucky to be doing a sport I love, because I meet great people and make great friends, and especially because I get to travel a lot."

The Sailors' International Curry Fundraiser is being held at Spy Valley Winery on Saturday, June 29, from 6pm to 11pm. Tickets cost $50, and include entertainment, two drinks, nibbles and a curry. For more information or to book a ticket phone 572 7250, or email b.agibbs@xtra.co.nz by June 12.

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- The Marlborough Express

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