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Sailing to win . . . North Otago Yacht and Power Boat Club commodore Kevin Murdoch (left) and the club's longest serving junior sailor, Ethan Wilson, strike a balance on one of the new Bics outside the club's facility at Oamaru Harbour. PHOTO: SHANNON GILLIES

North Otago youth will now be able to compete on a level playing field when they go away to compete at national sailing competitions.

The North Otago Yacht and Power Boat Club has recently acquired two new Bic boats and a third has just been made possible by a funding grant, club commodore Kevin Murdoch said.

Bics are a type of craft former Team New Zealand skipper Sir Russell Coutts has championed, Mr Murdoch said.

“The cool thing about these is they’re fast and fun to sail. You can take these boats to anywhere in the country.”

He said the new boats created equal opportunities for Oamaru sailors who would not be disadvantaged when competing against people who might be financially better placed.

The boats were about “moving with the times” as club members wanted to stay competitive and able to enter in a variety of national competitions.

“We normally sail in old boats, boats that are 30 years old.

“It’s evened out the playing field. It’s creating more opportunities for junior sailors. It allows Oamaru to go and compete.”

At a recent regatta in Auckland, 80 Bics were entered. In 2019, the O’Pen Bic World Championships will be based in Auckland.

Mr Murdoch said the new boats were a good way to get young people into sailing.

“I’ve sailed it. It was like an elephant sailing around on it, but if you can sail these you can sail anything.”