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Local Groups & Clubs

It’s ‘yacht’ we do on Sundays!’

For the past five years a group of senior sailors have been getting together on Sundays to sail their model yachts in friendly competition. The Whitianga Waterways Remote Control Yacht Group meets at the beach near the Mobil station to pit their wits against the wind and each other, usually over three to four hours of intense concentration.
 |  Dorothy Preece  | 
It’s ‘yacht’ we do on Sundays!’

“The Waterways is a perfect venue for us to sail the models and we’re very grateful for the opportunity,” says spokesperson Matt Algie.  “We set out the course around the buoys just as the big yachts do, and we can sail in winds up to 20 knots. We currently have about 13 Electron owners who race on Sunday afternoons.

“It started about five years ago when the Bucklands Beach club held their championship series in the Waterways and attracted a lot of interest. Very soon after that, I purchased an Electron and so did several others.”

Matt says they don’t follow the hard and fast racing rules as the more serious model clubs do.  “We keep it fairly casual.  No handicaps, no official protests, we just say ‘sorry’. Some days we say that a lot.  But it’s friendly.”

The Electron models measure 960 mm and weigh 5 kg.  They are identical except for the paintwork.

The most senior member of the group, Don Lidgard (84), is passionate about the sport. Before the Whitianga group was formed, Don and his wife used to travel from Tairua to the North Shore.  Now he’s racing every week in Whitianga. Like Don, several competitors are experienced yachtsmen from way back, but there are also a couple of air pilots, who understand remote control very well.

“We don’t keep score,” Matt says.  “Everyone is a winner.”

Spectators are welcome, but conversation is sparse.  It’s all about the concentration.