Young sailors will be checking the forecast for clear skies and just the right amount of wind next month as they prepare to set sail for the first time in the 2015 AIMS Games.
Sailing is the newest addition to the city’s premier sporting tournament, with 64 yachties taking to the Tauranga Harbour on September 6-11.
Organised by Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club, the sailing format will involve fleet racing in Optimist dinghies. Sailors must be a member of a yacht club affiliated to the national body, and a Year 7 or 8 student.
Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat club commodore Nigel Rippey says they’re crossing their fingers for good sea conditions.
“[September] is sometimes not the ideal time for yachting, but we’re going to give it a go and hope we get the good weather.”
Nigel says sailors will rig on the front lawn of the yacht club before launching off the beach to sail directly in front of the club.
“Spectators will be able to watch all of the racing from the deck of the yacht club. A lot of the schools will come with a support boat so there’ll be a lot of rigs on the water.”
Yachting New Zealand’s chief executive David Abercrombie is delighted with sailing’s inclusion in the games.
“Tauranga is a proven breeding ground for sailing talent having produced the likes of Peter Burling, the Saunders siblings, and the Meech siblings to name a few.
“So it’s very fitting that sailing is added into the programme for this Bay of Plenty-hosted event.”
David says being part of the AIMS Games will help to profile the sport to children, aged 11-13, and their parents.
“We see it as a very positive thing and look forward to working together with the event organisers to make the sailing event a success.”
Yachting New Zealand collaborated with AIMS Games tournament director Vicki Semple, New Zealand International Optimist Dinghy Association and Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club to put together a comprehensive proposal to introduce sailing into the 2015 programme.
The AIMS Games, a premier sporting event for children aged 11-13, is a strategic partnership between Sport Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council and the four Western Bay of Plenty intermediate schools.
A total of 7845 intermediate-aged athletes from 248 schools from throughout NZ are set to descend on Tauranga in September including 1152 netballers, 636 rugby players, 644 cross-country runners and 768 basketballers.