It’s a big step up from an Elliott 7 to a PIC Coastal Classic in a Melges 40 – but Steve Mair gives two sailors in the RNZYS Youth Training Program, and two females, the opportunity every year. Here’s why:
For every major race including the PIC Coastal Classic, Steve takes at least two young sailors onboard his boat Clockwork.
He selects students and graduates of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Youth Training Program because they have already proven that they have keenness and desire to do it.
“A lot of boats just don’t take young people, especially those with higher end boats. But we get huge satisfaction from seeing it,” he says. “It’s part of it for me – and the last thing I want to do is to pay (professional) sailors to come out with me.”
He says that skippering a crew of young sailors racing against professional America’s Cup-level sailors is awesome to be part of.
For the PIC Coastal Classic on Friday two youth will be onboard. Louis and Luca, along with four more experienced sailors.
Steve chooses his crew carefully. When they first get onboard he ensures they fit in with the group, that they fit in socially, feel confident, and are willing to join in the fun, light hearted banter his boat is known for.
He says that nearly all his crew were at some point members of the Youth Training Program.
“We have all gotten so much out of the it – a friend base, and good people to associate with throughout our lives.”
In 2020 Clockwork won its division in the PIC Coastal Classic and places second last year behind Sassinate – after leading for most of the race.
“It would be awesome to win but mostly we are just having an awesome weekend with a great bunch of people,” he says.
Photo credit: Top image supplied. Bottom photos from the Saturday 14 October Gold Cup Race. By Sophie-Jo Hawkins.