Popular sailing course hits right note
Peter Linford (pictured) discovered sailing in his mid-thirties, and now, as head of Learn to Sail programme at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), he has taught hundreds of adults how to sail.
Realising that providing a pathway for new adult sailors to become crew and maybe even boat owners in the future, the RNZYS established its sailing school in 2015 in order to encourage more people – of all ages - onto the water.
The programme has been very well received, training more than 200 adults last year and aiming for closer to 300 this year. It offers Yachting New Zealand courses in cruising and racing at a beginner and advanced level. Vessels available for training include the sporty Elliott 7 and the bigger MRX, providing a taste across the full spectrum of sailing.
Peter gets huge satisfaction from seeing dozens of faces of the people he has introduced to sailing at the club house after a race, knowing that they have continued to enjoy the sport thanks to the skills learned in training.
He himself is UK born and raised, and learned to sail at Mount Pleasant Yacht Club in Christchurch. After the earthquakes he moved to Auckland, sailing and coaching as a volunteer at Panmure Yacht Club before working with Bucklands Beach Yacht Club.
He loves his position with the RNZYS and the fact that he can sail every day.
By way of example when we met him he was still fresh from the first weekend in February where he led a sailing course aboard the classic sloop Innismarra, owned by the RNZYS Commodore Ian Cook.
“Friday was an 18-hour day. We sailed to Kawau with a great group of people in the evening under the stars. We enjoyed a full on day of sailing on Saturday, and sailed home on Sunday. An 18 hour day followed by two 12 hour days. I really love it,” he enthused.
“Innismarra is a remarkable boat”, he says of the 67ft restored classic, and it’s ideal for teaching people, including new and more experienced sailors the skills and knowledge they need before they set sail for a weekend away in a yacht. Participants spend the night in comfort at Lidgard House in between sailing sessions.
In this role Peter has learned how to encourage shy or less confident sailors to have a go at things that challenge them, and also how to ensure that more confident people get the most from the RNZYS courses.
Visit www.learntosailnz.com to find out about the RNZYS sailing programmes.