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Try Sailing!



Sailing is a sport, activity and lifestyle that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. For those few Kiwis who have yet to experience the joy and excitement of yachting, Friday is the last chance to take up a great opportunity.


The Volvo Ocean Race, in conjunction with Yachting New Zealand, is providing the opportunity for the general public to come down to the Volvo Ocean Race Village in Auckland’s Viaduct Basin and experience their first lesson on the water, absolutely free.


Volvo Ocean Race’s Youth Sailing Coordinator Katie Hearsum says that their fleet of three Ludic 5.3 metre centreboard dinghies can each accommodate eight kids or four adults in addition to the instructor. Yachting NZ has added one a 6 metre Elliot to the fleet which can carry 4 kids and 2-3 adults plus instructor.


After a short safety briefing, students don a lifejacket and head out for a 30-minute introductory lesson in the safe and protected waters of the Viaduct Basin. Anyone who is keen to get hands-on with the boat is welcome to trim the sails and have a trick on the helm (steer). The only requirement for children is that they weigh at least 30 kg.


“Our aim is for people to have fun, learn something and keep on sailing,” says Katie.


Anyone keen to carry on with their sailing instruction will be provided information on where they can continue their lessons.


The general public can show up at the Try Sailing kiosk at Karanga Plaza in the Wynyard Quarter from 10 am to 4 pm on Friday March 16. Bookings are required on the day at the registration desk.  


One of the greatest pleasures of sailing is the enjoyment of pristine waters. A subtle component of the Try Sailing is to convey the importance of keeping our oceans clean. On the bow and sails of the Ludic boats are images of the programme’s mascot, Wisdom the Albatross.


Wisdom is the oldest known wild bird in North America and the inspiration behind the official Race mascot, present in every Race Village. She is believed to be more than 60 years old and lives on Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. She was first tagged in the 1950s and is thought to have raised 35 chicks.


Biologists estimate she has logged more than 4.5 million flying kilometres in her lifetime so far - the equivalent of six round trips to the moon. Wisdom is one of the few survivors of the tsunami from the earthquake in Japan when more than 110,000 albatross chicks and adults were lost. It is thought her most recent chick survived as well.


Since the albatross was discovered by early sailors, the bird has been an inspiration to seafarers. The ocean is their playground, as it is for the Volvo Ocean Race sailors, and Wisdom is here to excite children about the Volvo Ocean Race, give children a first fun experience of sailing and to explain the importance of keeping the oceans clean.