New arrivals revitalise club

The Otago Yacht Club’s sailing school has been revitalised by the arrival of a former Olympic coach, his Olympic gold-medallist wife and six new Open Skiffs.

Dutch-born Erik Stibbe and his wife, Jenny Armstrong, already know plenty about Dunedin and the yacht club.

Ms Armstrong was born in the city and grew up here, studying at Otago Girls’ High School. She later won an Olympic gold medal for Australia in 2000.

And the couple were married at the yacht club’s then recently opened premises in 1996.

Mr Stibbe has been a top Olympic yachting coach for the Netherlands, Australia and Canada for 26 years and feels "very fortunate" to have made a living from this passion.

Youngsters (from left) Micah Duckles (14), Gus (13) and Georgie (11) Winneke, Ezrea Duckles (9),...
Youngsters (from left) Micah Duckles (14), Gus (13) and Georgie (11) Winneke, Ezrea Duckles (9), Neve (9) and Max (12) Cutfield and Jamie Stibbe (11) celebrate the arrival of new craft at the Otago Yacht Club on Friday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The recent arrival of the skiffs was exciting for the club and people interested in trying them out and in yachting would be welcome at an open day at the Magnet St club on October 11, Mr Stibbe said.

During the lockdown the couple began helping the sailing school at the yacht club, which is the city’s largest but whose learner gear had slipped behind some other clubs.

The club has now spent about $25,000 buying six Open Skiffs, which are already available at some other city yacht clubs, and 20 helmets to protect young sailors from flying booms.

The club was buzzing and the new craft, combined with 10 Optimist boats already at the club, meant a "great opportunity" to attract new families with younger children, he said.

"The Open Skiff is a fantastic boat for young sailors to experience the joy of sailing," Ms Armstrong said.

"It is fast, exciting and fun to sail. "

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