If you're looking for the thrill of America's Cup, but can't afford a million-dollar catamaran, the world of electron racing could be for you.
The Royal Palm Beach Yacht Club has been turning heads along the Pāpāmoa waterways since it formed in the mid-90s.
But this hobby isn't just for retired boaties.
"A lot of the people who have joined the club have sailed on big boats in regattas and things but others like myself have not sailed at all," the club's vice commodore, Michael Tailby said.
"I got interested in this after coming to some of the early regattas and thought I'd have a go at that."
Known as "electrons" these model yachts don't come cheap.
"A reasonable second-hand boat on Trade Me would be about $1500," Tailby said.
"You've got radio controller gear, transmitters… you can see the guys walking around with the transmitters. You've got two servos in the body of the yacht itself – one to operate the sails and the other to operate the rudder."
These boats are high tech, although not as high tech as Te Rehutai. But skippers still need to be able to read the conditions to succeed.
"You can't sail directly into the wind," Tailby said. "You've got to sail off the wind a little bit. You need to be able to control the rudder well enough to get the best out of the wind. You also need to be able to set the yacht up to your advantage, so the sails are in the optimal position."
For the club's members, sailing electrons has become a real passion. Mount Maunganui resident Phil Bourne enjoys the competitive aspect.
"We've got normal days that are fun days and then we have days that are race days that consist of five inner course races and a couple of 'ocean races' in the afternoon."
Ocean races involve the length of the waterways, rather than heading over to the surf beach.
"I find it relaxing and a challenge to get the boat to go a bit better. I didn't go so well at the beginning but I go a bit better now," Philip Judd, also from Mount Maunganui, said.
Pāpāmoa resident Malcolm Liddell never got to sail on a regular basis until he found this.
"One of the earlier years of America's Cup racing, I tried watching it on TV but I could never see the course or where they were heading to. Then on a walk, I saw these boats sailing and thought to myself I can see that course, I can sail these courses no problem at all, so I went and got myself one of these boats and have been doing it ever since."
However, all is not plain sailing, with the club currently facing a major hurdle.
Tauranga City Council wants to plant flax and grasses alongside the waterways, something the locals have protested against for years.
"It would affect us as we walk along the side of the pond to sail our boats," club member Graham Brook said.
"Being able to get close to the edge of the pond is good for access to the boats but if there's flaxes and high grass that spread rubbish into the pond that makes it difficult for sailing."
The council has yet to make a final decision, saying planting is currently on hold while it consults the community.
Made with funding from