Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy Trust has welcomed four new boats to its fleet named after four Tauranga sailors.
The trust christened the boats, worth $55,000, this week, bringing the fleet total to 12 which chairman Stuart Pedersen said "is almost certainly the largest in the country at one venue".
The boats were named after four talented Tauranga-bred sailors, Tom Saunders, Sam Meech, Jason Saunders and Molly Meech. The four are currently in the New Zealand sailing team and hoping to get into the Olympics.
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"All did team sailing while at school so it seemed appropriate," Mr Pedersen said.
Two of the sailors, Tom Saunders and Sam Meech, travelled from Auckland especially for the christening ceremony on Tuesday and christened the boats named after them.
The sailing boats would be used by high schools all over the Bay, said Mr Pedersen.
"The kids are pretty excited to get their hands on these boats," Mr Pedersen said.
Mr Pedersen said the older boats were pretty worn out and the fleet was in need of refreshing.
The boats were almost completely paid for in grants from Tect and the Lions Foundation, with about $1000-$2000 paid out of the BOPSAT's pocket.
Mr Pedersen said the trust was dedicated to making sailing available to more kids, and by obtaining grants for equipment they were able to hire out the equipment at cheap rates to the students, charging just enough to maintain them.
"Yachting has been seen as a rich man's sport in the past, but in New Zealand it doesn't need to be that way. We are trying to reduce the barriers for people that would otherwise not be doing this."
Any surpluses from hiring the boats to high school teams were put towards helping disadvantaged kids in low-decile schools learn how to sail.
"Last term we had four schools involved with kids coming along to learn to sail and we paid for it all."