Training at RNZYS and Whiting Sailing Announce their Learn To Sail Partnership

 In Member Interest, News

One of New Zealand’s oldest sailing schools has partnered with RNZYS’s Learn to Sail Training to share resources and coaching expertise. Whiting Sailing, owned by Carl ‘Tiny’ Whiting, an America’s Cup winner, Star Class World Champion, Olympian and Youth Training Programme Alumni will bring his years of high-profile sailing and coaching experience to join forces with the current RNZYS ‘Learn To Sail’ coaching team, led by Training Manager, Peter Linford.

This partnership benefits both training schools and their sailing students, allowing access to a larger range of shared resources including the RNZYS’s existing fleet of Elliott 7’s, Sonar’s Etchell and Farr MRX’s alongside Carl’s yacht Emotional Rescue a Davidson 55 yacht. Emotional Rescue was the first monohull to win the PIC Coastal Classic in 1989. This 55 footer allows the RNZYS to expand its ability to run Level 2 and Level 3 Cruising courses to Kawau Island and Great Barrier Island respectively, while continuing Whiting Sailing’s Keelboat Racing Development programme. Both organisations will actively create a sailing pathway and coaching opportunities for all levels sailors – from competitive racing to cruising and the beginner sailors that continue to be the foundation that New Zealand’s rich sailing history builds upon.

Peter Linford learned to sail on his arrival in New Zealand in 2007 with Mt Pleasant Yacht Club in Christchurch, and reckons that he has been on the water every weekend since. He has 10 years of sailing coaching experience, with 4 of those as the Learn To Sail Manager with the RNZYS. Peter fell in love with sailing at night, “so my favourite sailing memory is when I came across dolphins playing in bioluminescent bacteria – that was absolutely magical.”

“The success of the RNZYS training school over the last 4 years has meant we needed to bring in more coaches and more resources as we grow, and by partnering with Whiting Sailing allows us to expand into race coaching to hone the skills of those already racing, and as a pathway for those interested in starting.” 

Alongside the additional resources made available to the RNZYS training school, Peter is also looking forward to working with Whiting Sailing so he can sail for his first time on the Emotional Rescue.

Carl ‘Tiny’ Whiting examines the waters ahead, aboard the Emotional Rescue.

Carl Whiting shares these sentiments, saying the partnership between the RNZYS and Whiting Sailing means that “new prospective sailors have the ultimate opportunity to get into the sport of yachting being part of one of the greatest clubs in the world, to learning from some of the best sailors in the world, not to mention the opportunity to learn and sail aboard an incredible and legendary boat like Emotional Rescue.” Carl’s favourite sailing memories are trips away sailing with his family at Christmas in the Bay of Islands. “My family have been teaching sailing for over 50 years and l have been taking part my whole life -I actively started coaching myself 20 years ago.”

For Whiting, the most rewarding part of coaching is “simply experiencing the joy that comes from the students once they have established the confidence to sail a boat.” Even with the years of expertise that Carl, Peter and the other Learn to Sail Coaches, sailing isn’t something that can be instantly picked up. Carl believes that helping any student establish the confidence that they need, in order to learn a new skill is the most crucial aspect in teaching someone to sail.

Peter shares the same sentiment that, the key to being a yachting coach is to have empathy with the beginner sailors. By“being patient and simplifying down the many tasks it takes to sail a yacht, the Learn to Sail course builds a platform that allows us to expand on our student’s knowledge and target what to work on.”

All smiles for the camera aboard an Elliott 7 Learn to Sail course

Peter has seen the benefits that sailing can bring someone first-hand, recalling the time he was coaching a group that had a child with learning difficulties taking part, and he really struggled at the start and couldn’t seem to work out the tiller steering. However, Peter pulled them aside and gave some tips with the steering and where to be positioned while racing, and at their next session they were out in front of the other boats with a beaming smile – “I’ll never forget that.”

Both men see sailing as much more than just being on the water, and have gained far more understanding about what sailing teaches people within off the water from a coaching point of view. Once a student becomes more confident with sailing, they gain self-belief in everyday life. “Fixing an issue on a yacht is just like any other issue – once you have the tools and someone has taught you methods to fix the issue, following through and fixing the issue feeds your self-reliance and self-belief,” says Peter. Carl sees the same benefits in sailing, with the key lessons being “learning fundamental skills, building confidence and enjoying yourself; not only will learning to sail give you something new to learn and enjoy it will also improve all the other aspects of your life”.

However as society and technology changes, more opportunities present themselves for people to create a career from sailing. Peter mentions that “three of my students are currently running sailing YouTube channels; it’s a unique and new pathway for sailors to use the skills we teach them to create a career from their sailing passion.”

A Learn to Sail crew running through their checklist aboard a Farr MRX

As we move into the 150th summer of the RNZYS with a renewed vigour and the heightened expertise and resources that this collaboration brings together, there is no better time to get your spot on a Learn to Sail course. Do not hesitate to join a Learn to Sail course – RNZYS Learn to Sail courses are available for booking at https://www.learntosailnz.com/book-online/, and there is a Learn to Sail course that works for anyone’s schedule and confidence levels. The RNZYS will also be able to pair you up with a yacht skipper as a crew member once you have completed your Learn to Sail qualification, as they are consistently looking for new faces to join their crew.

Peter, Carl and the rest of the sailing school coaches encourage anyone that is on the fence about getting involved to come down to the Squadron and spend some time with us off the water. The Squadron is an amazing, open club with a lot of high profile sailors around, but they are just people that enjoy talking about and going sailing. “You don’t have to be a sailor to join, so bring your enthusiasm to listen & learn and book your spot today!” says Peter. 

Training at RNZYS: 

The RNZYS’s Level 1 Learn to Sail courses place a coach with 4 to 6 students, who each get an opportunity to experience the different roles aboard. This course teaches an understanding of safety on the water, basic navigation, boat maintenance and of course sailing skills, from basic manoeuvres to rigging sails. These Level 1 courses start from a beginner knowledge level, and with the 3 different yacht’s available to learn on there will be something for all levels of skill and confidence. Alongside the Level 1 courses, there are Level 2 and 3 courses for both racing and cruising, with flexible Corporate and Private training session options available aboard our fleet. All of these courses are able to be booked at www.learntosailnz.com. 

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