Great Escape Sailing Gulf Harbour

Phil and Marnie

A new sailing education programme is coming to Gulf Harbour Yacht Club, and commodore Phil Shaw is excited about the prospect of sharing the club’s love for sailing with newcomers to the pastime.

Gulf Harbour will be home to a new branch of Great Escape Sailing, a Bay of Islands-based business with more than 30 years’ experience helping people learn and develop skills for keelboat sailing.

Two Noelex 25s are being completely refitted to meet Maritime NZ standards. Phil describes the boats as “forgiving, well balanced and fun to sail”.

Launching in mid-October from Fairway Bay, the branch aims to develop competent sailors looking to learn how to cruise safely and with respect for the marine environment. Yachting New Zealand keelboat qualifications are on offer, and an additional benefit for participants will be the opportunity to become members of GHYC.

“This is not racing,” Phil says. “They’ll be practicing things like man overboard, how to anchor, how to be safe, and basic navigation.”

The learn-to-sail boats will also be available for charter, for those wanting to hone their new skills without having to own a yacht.

To support the delivery of the new branch, Great Escape is seeking part-time instructors. Full training will be provided to those with keelboat sailing experience.

Phil says his partner, Marnie, is a key supporter of the project. “I couldn’t do it without her.”

He’s confident the venture will soar, here “at the centre of the most beautiful cruising grounds in New Zealand”.

Launch date is mid-October, and bookings are now open:

Business Directory: Great Escape Sailing – Gulf Harbour