Thrills and skills on the ‘Great Lake’

HANSA Class yachts prepare to start racing. Photo: Graeme Robinson.

It has been a busy season for sailing on Lake Taupo, including the newest and fastest Olympic event – the breathtaking Windfoiler Class.

Lake Taupo Yacht Club commodore Alan Simpson says the club has hosted eight regattas this season.

Most recently, on the weekend of  April 9-11, the club hosted the 2021 HANSA Class National Championship – a class designed for sailors with a range  of disabilities.

The event was originally meant to be held alongside the club’s Centreboard Regatta in March but was postponed due to Auckland’s Level 3 lockdown.

That didn’t faze the competitors  who turned up “eager and enthusiastic  to compete”.

Three days of sailing included nine races in each class, plus two social events.

Alan says Taupo is the perfect place for this type of event because of its central location and “easy and acceptable”  sailing conditions.

Conditions were “ideal” with moderate breezes for Friday’s racing, increasing in intensity on Saturday and fading on  the Sunday.

Competitors came from Wellington, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Auckland.

Alan thanked the Lake Taupo Harbour Master and staff for their assistance during the event and for enabling the competitors’ boats to be moored overnight in the  Taupo Marina.

Prizes were donated by Chris Wornal –  a NZ Paralympic sailor in Atlanta, 1996 and presented by HCNZ representative Tom Scott.

HANSA results

The 303 Singles was won by Darrell Smith of Wellington, 2nd was Graham Hook of Wellington and 3rd was Paulien Chamberlain from Tauranga.

The 303 Double was won by Matthew Henderson of Wellington, with Wellington’s Laura Stuart 2nd and Jordan Grogan of Tauranga 3rd.

The Liberty class was won by Tony Vaka of Auckland, Robert Coulter of Auckland 2nd and Tom Scott from Tauranga 3rd.

The regatta also doubled as the Blind NZ Sailing Championships with the 303 Double B1 Gold won by Toby Ireland  of Wellington.

The 303 Single B2 Gold was won by Paulien Chamberlain of Tauranga, the B2 Silver went to Dave Allerton of Taranaki and the 303 Single B3 Gold went to Davey Parker from the Bay of Plenty.

Full regatta results are available at

High speed action

In November the club hosted the newest Olympic sailing class – the Windfoiler Class.

Alan says these are probably the fastest sailing craft ever seen on the lake.

He says competitors sailed to the rock carvings and back at speeds only matched by the fastest power boats.

In mid-March the club also hosted a fleet of 29er sailors, competing for the first time on the Great Lake.

Amongst the fleet were a number of teenagers who are close to representing New Zealand at Olympic level.

And at the end of March the Club hosted the traditional CNI Secondary Schools’ Teams Sailing regional championships which selected teams to represent the region at the Teams Sailing Nationals, held at Algies Bay at the end of April.


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