Sir Russell Coutts and Harold Bennett, now at the helm of Manly Sailing Club (HM August 2), are focused on making sailing available to more people, strengthening the junior sailing programme and bringing more national and international events to Manly Beach.
The junior sailing programme has engaged a full time manager and coach, Aaron Hume-Merry (previously the position was part time). Registrations for the programme are currently at 89 kids. Sir Russell says his goal is to quadruple that number by 2020.
The club will host the O’pen Bic World Championships at the end of next year and Sir Russell says this is just the start of what he hopes will eventually be a calendar of national and international events.
He also hopes that the club can provide a hub for other marine sports such as sea kayaking and paddleboarding.
Even before this growth occurs, Vice Commodore Harold Bennett says the club has outgrown its clubrooms, especially when it comes to boat storage facilities.
Two new RS Fevas – a double-handed sailing dinghy popular for racing and recreation – will arrive at the club this month and another double-handed boat, fresh off the production line, has also been ordered.
Mr Bennett says that space is already tight with 20 Bics in a container and six boats and a tractor in the basement. He says that the club’s leased area extends a further five metres into the reserve, but they are not able to utilise that space as a stormwater pipe runs beneath that land. Offsite storage would also be an option, Mr Bennett says.
Sir Russell and Mr Bennett are discussing some ideas with Auckland Council and say that the staff are supportive. Meanwhile the interior is undergoing refurbishment, starting with the kitchen and lounge area.