By Toni Williams
Ashburton Sailing Club members are keen to pass on their love of the water to the next generation of yachties.
They will be starting their learn-to-sail programme at Lake Hood from October 13, and took to the Mitre 10 Mega car park complex at the weekend to promote it.
Members had a beginner’s Optimist yacht and, the next level, Piccolo yacht, on site.
Club members Selwyn Sloan, Chris Thompson, Chris Lovelock and Geoff Swan collectively have more than 80 years boating experience they are keen to share – and they’re just a handful of the 30 people affiliated with the club.
The programme, for people aged from seven through to adult, runs for two hours every Sunday from 11am at Lake Hood.
It operates during the school terms one and four.
Model boat enthusiasts, also members of the sailing club, take their impressive boats to the water after the sailing programme. Some of these models are up to one-metre long.
It’s just a chance to get kids, and anyone who’s interested, on the water, says Mr Thompson.
The boats and life jackets are supplied, and the first session is free.
After the first one there is a $5 per session cost.
Beginners start with the solidly built, and stable, Optimist yacht (an internationally known model), before progressing to the New Zealand-class Piccolo.
The members say the possibilities for sailing may start in an Optimist on Lake Hood, but can extend to representing New Zealand in sailing events, help with careers as crews on yachts or begin a life-long love of sailing for recreational pleasure.