The Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club has made a habit of producing Olympic sailors in recent times so what better place for the next generation of stars to battle it out.

The club has produced a number of sailing champions, including 2016 Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

This week they are hosting the 2019 AIMS Games Yachting events and one of the club's life members Gary Smith said there were definitely some future champions in the mix.

"We've had some great kids come through [during the AIMS Games], there's no doubt about it. The talent is really up there, there's some stunning kids out there."

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Sailors go head to head at the AIMS Games. Photo / George Novak
Sailors go head to head at the AIMS Games. Photo / George Novak

"With this event, some of the names you see in the results are our future Olympic and America's Cup sailors. It's absolutely exciting, this is the fifth time sailing has been at the AIMS Games and we're looking forward to it getting bigger and brighter."

He said New Zealand's Olympic and America's Cup successes had helped grow participation in the sport.

"We're the world's best Olympic sailing club, there's no other sailing club in the world that has a gold, silver, bronze and a fourth-place from one Olympics, which happened in Rio. There's magic water in Tauranga.

"We've had a great bunch come through. We had 96 on the water, that's up on 86 last year."

He said the challenging conditions which club members got used to sailing in, off Sulphur Point in Tauranga, helped them hone their craft.

"It's a difficult stretch of water to sail on with the currents and the wind. It teaches the kids a lot about seeing what's on the water, how to make the boat work."

AIMS Games sailors had to wrap up warm and brave chilly conditions on Tuesday. Photo / George Novak
AIMS Games sailors had to wrap up warm and brave chilly conditions on Tuesday. Photo / George Novak

Smith said sailing was something which those who learned at a young age kept with them for life. In his role as a national judge, he has a front-row seat to the progression of the athletes.

"Sailing for life is the motto, when you learn it as a kid it will stick with you for life. Sailing is one of the few sports where we rely on the kids to judge themselves, we're not out there umpiring every move, we're out there to be seen to be stopping the worst ones.

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"As a sport, we rely on what's called the Corinthian ethic of sailing. That is if I'm in the wrong I'll take a penalty, rather than have an umpire say I'm wrong. Honesty and sportsmanship are integral parts of sailing, it's embedded in our rule book."

He said AIMS Games was "an amazing event" to be part of.

"It can't go anywhere else in the country and it's awesome seeing this number of kids being here and being able to do it. A number of these kids we'll see back at Christmas time for national championships so it's a good chance for them to test the waters.

"As far as AIMS Games being held in Tauranga, it's great to be involved in and we really enjoy it. Our biggest problem this year wasn't measles, it was hypothermia. It was very cold out there today, there was a real wind chill but the kids handled it well, it makes it really hard work."