Big turnout expected for annual regatta

The Wanaka Yacht Club is preparing for its annual Roys Bay New Year Regatta this weekend. Club youth sailing co-ordinator Craig Fahey (pictured) said he expected about 30 to 35 boats to compete on the water from tomorrow until Sunday. Photo: Sean Nugent
The Wanaka Yacht Club is preparing for its annual Roys Bay New Year Regatta this weekend. Club youth sailing co-ordinator Craig Fahey (pictured) said he expected about 30 to 35 boats to compete on the water from tomorrow until Sunday. Photo: Sean Nugent
Auckland may be the city of sails, but Lake Wanaka is set to become a bay of sails this weekend when the Wanaka Yacht Club hosts its annual regatta.

The three-day event, which begins tomorrow, will also encompass the New Zealand freshwater Etchells championships as well as endurance races around the lake.

Club youth sailing co-ordinator Craig Fahey said he expected at least 30 to 35 boats to compete in the regatta.

Competitors hailed from Dunedin, Queenstown and Te Anau as well as a strong contingent from Wanaka.

''The weather forecast is looking good so we should see the bay full of sails,'' he said.

The Windshift Camp the club hosted for the first time last summer will not return this year.

The camp was designed as a way for young sailors to experience all types of sailing in one programme, including kite-boarding and windsurfing.

Several high-profile names were also on hand to coach the 36 children who took part, including Sir Russell Coutts, six-time America's Cup winner Murray Jones and four-time Olympian Hamish Pepper.

Mr Fahey said organising the camp took a lot of resources and energy and it would be something the club would try to host every two years.

Many junior sailors from around the country had just finished competing in the world Bic championships in Auckland and would have been unable to make it to Wanaka for the camp, anyway, he said.

A series of three-day learn-to-sail camps, which have begun this week, have taken its place.

''This year we're just consolidating and providing opportunities for our local kids, because we've had waiting lists in such high demand.

''Last year was a bit more like thinking outside the box and doing something completely different and we were really fortunate to have several Olympians and America's Cup sailors help bring that vision to life.

''Lots of the people involved have asked us to run it again, so there's obviously a lot of interest and demand.''

Registration for the regatta opens tomorrow afternoon, and the first races will begin in the evening.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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