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Sir Russell Coutts will hold a youth sailing clinic at the Wanaka Yacht Club tomorrow, joined by his former Team New Zealand teammates and Wanaka residents Barry McKay and Hamish Pepper. Pictured above are Lake Wanaka Yacht Club coaches and former Team New Zealand sailors Mr McKay (left) and Mr Pepper (centre), with junior sailors Luke Burke (second from left) and Laura Erichsen, and Wanaka Yacht Club Youth Sailing Co-ordinator Craig Fahey, at Wanaka Yacht Club, with a Bic boat.
Sir Russell, a five-time America’s Cup winner, is bringing his O’Pen Bic youth sailing programme to Wanaka for the first time.
The last time the three men were together was when they sailed for Team New Zealand in the 2000 America’s Cup.
Mr McKay, who retired from professional sailing in 2007, said he asked Sir Russell earlier this year whether he was interested in bringing the programme to Wanaka.
"I’d noticed what Russell was doing around the country with the Bic boats and how they’re making a big difference in opening up sailing as a sport to young people, so I thought it would be great to get him down here," he said.
The trio will teach 15 sailors aged between 11 and 17, from Wanaka, Queenstown and Te Anau, on and off the water. Club youth sailing co-ordinator Craig Fahey said the Wanaka Yacht Club was committed to becoming a centre of excellence for youth sailing in the South Island.
"Having Russell come to help us this weekend is a significant step in the right direction," he said.