by Zoe Hawkins
French Bay Yacht Club's prizegiving and Nosh Night was a chance to enjoy the company of new friends and on the water rivals, and to celebrate the year's high notes.
Idyllic French Bay Boating Club
Like the fact that membership has grown by 66% this season. That there were 65 boats at the club's annual regatta. That a team of up-and-coming youths competed in the Starling National Championships. That our very own Jim Quinn was named Counties Manukau Masters Sportsperson of the Year. That several dozen volunteers lent their support over the season, and that the club is, officially once again, thriving, with participation levels back to where they were well over a decade ago.
In an herculean effort of interior decorating, overseen by the Stuart family, over 100 people packed a clubhouse made cheerful by bunting and balloons, and filled with platters of delicious food, bring a plate style.
'It was wonderful to see so many new faces join the club and all our fleets to expand to close to sustainable levels,' said Commodore, Matt Hall-Smith of the generally heavy-weather season, in his address to attendees.
Highlights of the summer sailing season included a calendar packed with over 40 sailing days, a race fleet where the age difference is more than sixty years between youngest and oldest, the development of an enriched coaching program for junior and adult racing sailors, the introduction of Learn to Sail for adults, and Holiday Learn to Sail for children.
The club has also launched a program of renovations and improvements for its building, and is working with Manukau Coastguard to improve use of the beach area.
Young sailors - French Bay Boating CClub
'We're all here for different reasons, but the focus that we've placed on making this club a place that families can come to enjoy sailing and boating is perhaps our greatest treasure.'
Sponsors of the prizegiving included Dynamic IT, North Sails, TeamVodafoneSailing, and Boating New Zealand Magazine – thanks for a great line up of equipment and prizes.
The club continues to sail over winter and will resume its full program in Spring. Full details are at www.frenchbay.org.nz and anyone keen on getting involved with club activities should sign up for the club's emailing list to be kept informed.