Optimist opportunity and vision
Omokoroa Boat Club Junior Sailing Project came about through the keenness and vision of our late Patron Tod Stocker.
In 1998 he discovered in far off Reporoa a clutch of Optimist sailing dinghies for sale, and with Club approval, bought five complete with masts, sails and all the gear.
These were transported back to Omokoroa and Tod organised a group of retired or working Club members to bring these dinghies up to sailing condition.
Tod was involved along with Lionel Harper, Greg Molesworth and others created five white “swans” out of the ugly ducklings.
Sailing started in January 1999 with instructor Alan Roberts and Larry Wilson, Greg and myself as “helpers”. Initially we had about ten young sailors taking part.
Since that date, 20 years ago, the fleet has grown to nine Optimists for beginners, five Sunbursts for older more experienced young sailors (and adults) as well as three Vikings (mini lasers, ideal for capsize drills!)
With the full support of the parent Club we now have an excellent boat shed to store the dinghies as well as our three RIB rescue craft and tow vehicle.
Our current instructors, all Club members (known as “The Last of the Summer Wine Group”) maintain and undertake the annual repaint and repair works.
Over the last 20 years the group has benefited from the TrustPower Empowering Volunteers awards, and the Lion Foundation for a grant to extend the boat shed. In the same period we have sailed on 2,042 days and 817 young sailors have attended our programmes. Our aim is simple: Instruct young sailors about tides, winds and currents, how to sail safely, basic seamanship rules and to have fun sailing.
It is good to know that some of our “young” sailors have grown up to real blue water sailors!