TARANAKI YOUTH SAIL
Taranaki Youth sail is a sub committee of the New Plymouth Yacht Club. We are responsible for our popular development programme which includes coaching for Optimists, Starlings, 420s and Elliot 5.9 Match Racing. We also run the Taranaki secondary schools teams racing programme. We provide six 420 sailing dinghies for the teams to use and twice weekly coaching. Taranaki Youth Sail funds coaching clinic visits for all aspects of our sailing programmes. We are very fortunate to own a fleet of 420s and two Elliot 5.9 match racing boats. This would not have happened without the wonderful support we have received from Pub Charity, TSB Bank Community Trust, Perlorus, Southern Trust, New Plymouth City Council, and the members of the New Plymouth Yacht Club.
Every January, Taranaki Youth Sail holds a three day Optisail camp. This attracts large numbers of Opti sailors who enjoy sleeping over at the Yacht club and making new friends. The most valued event is the "Night Sail". This is when all the sailors congregate at the waters edge with their boats just on dark. A glow stick is attached to their sprits and they all sail around the harbour with rescue boats close at hand. This is a real adventure and all the kids hope for fine weather to allow this to take place. Wayne Holdt does an amazing job with this camp and his relaxed attitude is what attracts more kids every year. It is open to all Opti sailors in the Western Districts sailing area.
Coaching sessions for Optimist Learn to Race, Green, Open fleet, and Starling sailors is on Wednesday evenings from 5pm to 7pm.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS TEAM RACING
Taranaki has a very active Secondary School sailing programme. It runs from February through to the end of April. At present, New Plymouth Girls and Boys high schools and Francis Douglas Memorial College have sailing teams which compete around the country in team racing events.
OPTI SAIL CAMP
This is an annual Two day event held at the club rooms on Ngamotu Beach. It is open to any Optimist sailor. It is very popular with our sailors as they have the opportunity to sleep over in the Yacht club for one night. Varying degrees of sailor experience attend this camp, from those fresh out of learn to sail to those who have sailed an Opti for several years. We find it is a great chance for new members to get to know others in their class and cement strong friendships which follow them through their sailing life. Parents are asked to help out where possible which allows them to get to know other parents and officials of the club. A Yachting NZ sailing coach and instructors run the camp along with help from Taranaki Youth Sail members and parents.
The "Night Sail" is the highlight of the camp. One night on dusk all the boats are rigged up, glow sticks are tied to their sprits, and all rescue boats are launched. Upon dark they set sail across the harbour. The lights from the port illuminate the sails and it is a beautiful sight. The kids find it a huge adventure and many will never get the chance to sail in the dark again. Novelty races such as a lolly scramble on the water with balloons are part of the routine each year. This teaches the sailors to be confident in knowing their boat and its ability. Safety is paramount so life jackets must be worn and we have many rescue craft on the water with the sailors.