Huge satisfaction from opening the door

Published on October 17th, 2023

Held in New Zealand, the 119nm Coastal Classic which starts on October 20 is described as a drag race. It can be a sprint for the fastest boats who can finish in less than six hours, or a challenging marathon for the crew on boats that take more than 24 hours.

For Steve Mair, the race is also an opportunity to grow the sport as he gives two sailors in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Youth Training Program, and two females, the opportunity every year to crew on his Melges 40.

For every major race including the Coastal Classic, he takes at least two young sailors onboard his boat Clockwork. He selects students and graduates of the RNZYS 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.

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. It would be awesome to win but mostly we are just having an awesome weekend with a great bunch of people.”

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