Warning; no technical jargon below!
I think some context needs to be set before continuing here, we are not sailors. We have absolutely no history, no family legacy going back generations, no names up on club walls, no plaques, photos, cups in our family. So you can be well assured that my son and I came into this sport/activity with very limited knowledge.
So after watching from the sidelines for a couple of months, I knew a boat was needed. But what boat, which class?
I wanted to sail as well, but that probably meant buying two boats? No, no way could we afford to have two boats sitting at home. Moreover, like many other families we simply did not have the space to store multiple boats. And with my son still being at an age where he wanted to sail with me (I think I have about 12 months left) I quickly realised it was going to be a double handed one. The search began; Google, YouTube, hours spent watching videos and reading reviews.
Some criteria for me at the time was:
You may have noticed that I have not mentioned anything about Class. That was not high up on my list. My main priority at the time was just spending weekends with my son out on the water enjoying ourselves and keeping him off Minecraft. I new he would not want to be out there with the Ol Man’ in a few years and I’d get kicked off, so spending weekends out together was my No.1 priority. It was not about One Design, Class racing, It was time on the water with my son.
A leap of faith was needed.....
Just imagine coming home and telling the wife you’ve just bought a car, one which you have not driven, walked around, sat in, or even test driven. Yet thats exactly what we did with our boat. We took that leap and bought the RS Feva. And after a couple of practices in the driveway rigging we were off.
Well time flies when your having fun. Eighteen months have passed since that purchase and I can assure you that Fat Daddy’ is still sailing and the boy is still wanting to come out with me, but!.......
After our/my poor results in my second attempt at club racing on Sunday, Ive officially been kicked off the Helm. Yep, the inevitable has happened and Fat Daddy has been given the boot. Sigh........
I’m still hoping I can bribe my way onto the helm on the weekends. As I’m getting rather old and the knees aren’t what they used to be. But its all good fun and as stated above, I know I’ll lose this time out together with him very shortly. But I know it was money well spent. And something that hopefully he will look back on with fond memories. I have tried to give him an experience that was not available to me as a young person, which is what all parents try to do. So no regrets buying the Feva. Last year was the fastest winter Ive ever experienced as weekends were taken up with being outside, wet, cold, hungry, but absolutely brilliant. And I guarantee that my son will tell you exactly the same. So Feva 1, Minecraft 0. Got to be a winner there.
Brett & Aston.
Last month, RCSF Performance Squad sailor Charli Gray was awarded one of only a handful of scholarships to join the inaugural ‘BLAKE Inspire for Sailors’ programme – a six-day environmental leadership development adventure designed for emerging New Zealand sailors.
This epic adventure gives young sailors with a passion for the environment the chance to follow in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake, learning and developing skills to lead positive change for our marine environment.
I caught up with Charli on this incredible experience and she shared with us some of her highlights and a few words of advice for other young sailors; "The Blake Inspire program gave me a greater appreciation for our marine environment. In July I was one of 30 students from years 11-13 from around New Zealand who participated in the Blake inspire program for sailors. Focusing on inspiring students to bring positive change to the conservation of our marine environment. Based in Auckland, we spent 5 jam-packed days completing a range of activities from sailing to Tiritiri Matangi Island on Lion [an iconic 80ft Whitbread International Ocean Racing yacht] to conservation programmes to visiting the Emirates base to a behind the scenes tours of Kelly Tarltons and the Auckland Museum.
A real highlight for me was the day we spent at Auckland University. During this day we listened to marine biologists, oceanographers and zoologists. Personally, I found it really inspiring to listen to so many individuals who shared the same passion; the marine environment.
At the end of the program I came away with a sense of how I can make small but effective changes within my own community to better conserve our marine environment. I was so lucky to receive the opportunity to complete the program and I really encourage anyone else to do it!"
Amazing Charli, well done! If you would like to find out more about the Blake Inspire For Sailors program, you can visit their website at; https://blakenz.org/blake-inspire-with-yachting-new-zealand
Six Manly crews have just competed at the 2019 RS Feva National Championships over the weekend, hotly contested on the waters off Torbay by a sizeable fleet of 72 sailors. This was an action packed few days and certainly produced some spectacular displays of sailing ability and gutsy performances!
There was an excellent turn out to Friday’s pre-regatta coaching sponsored by the Feva Association which included tips on pre-regatta preparation, nutrition, rigging, sail trim and responsibilities in a crewed boat delivered by Aaron Hume-Merry, Graeme Robbins, Hayden Whitburn, and Chris Brooks.
The weekend saw strong Northerly conditions prevail, bringing rain and big waves – great for the lively boats to really get moving off the wind! It was quickly apparent from watching the tight racing that there has been a considerable improvement in the skill level of this fleet since last year and the fleet included some top local names such Olympian Simon Cooke and 2019 Tanner Cup winner Blake Hinsley.
Teeka Lastennet, one of our newer RCSF sailors commented; “It was my first nationals experience and I thought it was pretty fun. I really enjoy sailing when there is a lot of wind and big waves. I also loved seeing the sportsmanship of all the sailors, when we had problems all the sailors that passed us would ask if we were okay.”
For local RCSF and Manly SC sailor Maddie Rist, it was her second RS Feva Nationals. “I really enjoyed the conditions off Torbay in comparison to last year’s Nationals. I definitely noticed the standard of the fleet was higher which made it challenging but more rewarding. The highlight for me was surfing the big waves, it was easily the fastest I have been in the Feva!"
There were plenty of awesome highlights for our relatively new team, and each team has taken home their own unique learnings from attending this regatta from the importance of set up, to new gybing techniques and decision making.
Thanks to all the parents for supporting their sailors in attending this event and making it happen, we will look forward to taking part again in next year’s event!
Team Manly included;
Mattias Coutts and Aimee Bright (3rd)
Soren Johnston and Lucas Ruperti (7th)
Phil Wild and Sam Wild (10th)
Amelie Marseille and Daniel Brodie (11th)
Ben Tapper and Maddie Rist (13th)
Teeka Lastennet and Maxwell Garner (34th)
Full results at https://www.torbaysailing.club/rsfevanats-results.html
From the 11th until the 15th January, one of the premier New Zealand fleets in sailing descended on Manly Sailing Club for the 2019 Barfoot & Thompson Laser National Championships which included three top ten world ranked sailors among the 115 strong fleet.
It was also the largest fleet of Laser 4.7 sailors at a nationals in 7 years, with the majority of the contingent involved with the highly successful Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation, racing on their local waters.
Here are some comments from local newcomer to the 4.7 fleet, Daniel Brodie;
"In January I competed in the Laser National championships in the 4.7 division, with seven other competitors at Manly Sailing Club. Thanks go to the superbly organised race committee who provided us with some great courses. Together with varying weather conditions and good competition, the regatta had some very good racing. The third day is particularly worthy of mention for the windy and shifty conditions it offered, which I found extremely difficult. However, I managed to keep my results up. In the end I won by four points, and it was my first laser regatta win which felt great. This regatta was an unforgettable experience for me, and marks the beginning of another year of sailing."
The competitors endured a full range of testing conditions out there including frustrating drift offs, gusty gales, beating rain and scorching sun but all fleets managed to complete their scheduled series, bar the 4.7 fleet settling for 8 out of 10 scheduled races.
It was rewarding to see our local Manly SC sailors making some real inroads into mastering the art of Laser sailing, resulting in some excellent results against strong and well-seasoned competitors such as Matt Rist scoring five top ten finishes in the 10 race series.
Blake Wood and sister Alex Wood also contested in the competitive Laser Radial fleet with promising moments including Alex’s best performance saved for the last race. A promising indication of things to come!
The leader board for the 4.7 fleet was constantly on the move with several sailors in the fleet nabbing race wins including Ryker Green who is mounting a return to sailing with the Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation. The title was eventually crowned to fellow team mate Daniel Brodie, a new sailor to the 4.7 fleet on the back of competing at the recent O’pen Bic World Championships, also hosted by Manly Sailing Club.
Thanks to all the sponsors, the sailor families, the volunteers, Manly Sailing Club and of course to all the competitors for a spectacular event and a wonderful display of fair sailing.
As the dawn of the New Year rolled in, Manly Sailing Club was underway in hosting the 2019 Bic World Championships, and along with it, 133 participants from 8 countries.
Manly Sailing Club in conjunction with the Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation had 19 sailors competing across the U13 and U17 fleets, with another handful joining the development fleet for a few days of fun adventure style racing that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The weather really was nothing short of picturesque during the event, producing a range of conditions and plenty of sunshine making for some excellent racing out on the bay.
It took a few days for some of our sailors to find their feet, many of whom had never even seen such a large number of sailors in a single class, let alone compete in an event alongside them all! However, as the regatta matured, the incidence rate of “proud as punch” coach moments increased. The Kiwis were on the move with some of our more experienced sailors really starting to challenge the older veteran international sailors.
The 2019 O’pen Bic World Championships was a spectacular showcase event for the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and it was pleasing to see all the hard work of the coaches, parents and most importantly the sailors themselves really pay off with outstanding performances. Well done team!
With the season now well underway, I’m not too sure where the last few months went! What was expected to be a bit of “down time” over winter, was spent working hard to formulate a plan that would get as many sailors as possible out on the water and enjoying the sport this summer.
We have started the season with 140 sailors across all courses, and these are run over seven days a week. We also have local primary schools bringing their year five and six classes for a day of water sports fun sailing in a Hobie Wave, doing capsize drills in an O’pen Bic and taking part in a Marine Debris challenge. There will be over 400 students participating in this before Christmas, with more schools lined up to bring their students in early 2019.
But to fill in the gap between our Mid Winter Champs back in July and today, we have been busy with plenty of other activities for the sailors both on and off the water.
Gulf Harbour Yacht Club was kind enough to offer ten places to our Youth sailors for a totally new experience of racing keelboats. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all sailors, and will hopefully be something that happens more often. Widening their experience on the water to find their passion is something that’s important to us.
In September, sailors from the RCSF were invited to spend a day out at Ardmore with the Auckland Blokart Club. Yet again, this was a fantastic day of rivalry between kids and parents, and the most fun most sailors think you could have on land!
September also saw us host Volvo Ocean Race sailor Bianca Cook who spent a Friday evening with our sailors and other Manly locals doing a beach clean up and talking about her time on the boat Turn the Tide on Plastic. This was another great opportunity for our sailors to be educated in the importance of keeping our coastlines clean and also to be inspired by Bianca’s story about how she has worked towards her goals.
The October school holidays arrived swiftly, and with them, came Sailing Taster Days for children who wanted to give it a go and three day programmes for our current Laser and Double Handed sailors. We also hosted an O’pen Bic Sailing camp for those sailors that are aiming to compete at the World Championships in Manly just after Christmas. We had about 40 sailors in total for that, with at least half of them coming from other parts of the country. Lots of fun was had both on and off the water. To finish off the school holidays, Manly Sailing Club hosted the Hibiscus Coast Youth Regatta, which saw a great turnout of our sailors and another great day of sailing.
Now we are down to the serious business of preparing about 20 of our sailors to compete in the O’pen Bic Worlds, and following that, we have some Laser sailors who will be competing at the Laser Nationals, also being held in Manly in mid January. The RS Feva Nationals being held locally will then be the focus for our double handed sailors.
We are so privileged to have a great team of coaches, great sponsors, and a great number of families who are all committed to supporting the RCSF to be able to provide these opportunities for our sailors.
If you have any questions or would like to come along and see us in action, please get in touch!
To help keep our sailors engaged and entertained through the colder and darker months we introduced a new winter activity; the Mac n' Cheese Movie night!
This debuted with a Learn to Sail group night early in August and it was a huge success. Crowd favourite Happy Feet was screened, selected because of its powerful message on protecting the marine environment. The sailors left with some good take home lessons on the harsh truths surrounding our involvement in ocean pollution, and in particular how plastic debris affect marine life.
Later in the month, we invited the older groups to our second Mac n' Cheese movie night, with a slightly different flavour. Still relating to the sea, we screened Maidentrip. The incredible true story of Laura Dekker who at the age of 14 embarked on a remarkable two year voyage around the globe with the aim of being the youngest sailor to ever circumnavigate the planet alone. This was a feel good movie that really connected with our sailors and certainly inspired them to think bigger!
Thanks to all the parent support and volunteer kitchen hands keeping the Mac n' Cheese and popcorn coming all night - we will definitely be continuing with this winter activity in years to come!
Manly Sailing Club website has a very useful page that lets you buy, sell and trade sailing related items. These items can be in new or used condition. This page is perfect for sailing gear that a sailor has grown out of, boat parts/tools or even second hand sailing boats. The link to the Manly Sailing club page is below, scroll down to the 'LIST AN ITEM' button and follow the steps to sell an item. Make sure you have a photo of the item so others can see what condition it is in.
Click on the button below to be taken to the Manly Sailing Club page
Below are some fantastic reviews from our sailors Maddie from level 3 and Matthew from level 4. Both sailors participated in the school holiday program up at Manly in April. Read on to find out what Maddie and Matthew learnt during the program and how much they enjoyed it!
It was an extremely fun holiday sailing camp. Everyone enjoyed themselves. We all had a go in a variety of different boats; such as the Hobie Wave, RS Feva, Laser 4.7 and the O’pen Bic. It was a fantastic three-day programme.
On Wednesday, the first day, it was blowing around 20 knots, gusting over 25. Everyone capsized but we all enjoyed it. On Thursday, the wind wasn’t as strong as Wednesday. First we did short races, to get everyone together and ready. We then did a destination sail, around to Stanmore Bay then back to Manly. On Friday, we started with some racing, we then did some follow-the-leader. It got really windy when we got out of the bay, some of us had a hard time staying upright, however it was great for our learning.
I really enjoyed this holiday camp, and I know I wasn’t the only one. It was a great learning experience for everyone.
In the first week of the holidays we had our sailing camp. We had sailing sessions every day and 3 gym sessions over the week and some speeches on rules, weather and science of sailing as well. I was sailing the Laser Radial with seven others during the week and the rest of the level 4s were sailing Bics, on the first day we went for an hour sail in the morning then derigged our boats and hopped into a shuttle bus.
We arrived at the Navy base and we went for a mud run. The mud run wasn’t your usual mud run, we had to jog for 1 or 2 kilometres in wetsuits and booties then we had to go across this estuary that the ground was entirely made of super, sticky mud. The mud went up to and past our waists in some places and it sucked at our legs and boots. All while the Navy men were telling us to get a move on and never sit down. By close to the end some of us were literally pulling some team mates along. Once we were out of the mud we were all exhausted. But that wasn’t it, after a quick break and some water we had to run back to the Navy base. The best bit about it was jumping off the wharf close to a Navy boat. We all agreed that it would have been one of the hardest things that we have done in our life.
The next three days consisted of a gym session, then sailing session, lunch then another session on the water. Us laser sailors had Mike Bullot who won Laser Radial Open Worlds and Youth Worlds in 2001 and competed at the Laser Worlds 5 times and his best placings were 14th and 17th. We also had Hamish Pepper who has competed at the Olympics four times! Twice in Laser where he got 10th and 7th and twice more in the Star. We really enjoyed having them coaching us and we all improved heaps and gained lots of knowledge from them. On Friday we had racing and competed in 6 or 7 races. We did shorter races in the morning and then we did longer races in the afternoon.
The week was great fun, hard work and we all learned and improved heaps though and wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the awesome food that was cooked by the ladies in the kitchen. We had burgers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, soup, Hot milo, fruit, baking and more.