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Sports, arts and activities

Sailing into 2021

There’s nothing Emilia Lanza likes better than flying across the water and pushing boundaries.

Later this month the Year 10 student will be doing just that as she and fellow sailor Lance Du team up to represent ACG Parnell College at the 2021 Secondary Schools Fleet Racing Regatta.

Held at Wakatere Boat Club on 26th February, the one-day regatta will feature a wide range of classes, from Starlings and 29ers to Laser Radials and Open Bics. Emilia and Lance will be showcasing their skills in an RS Feva, battling it out for the prestigious Epiglass Trophy.

“This is my first regatta sailing with Lance and I’m really looking forward to it,” says Emilia, who has previously also sailed Optimists and 420s.

It’s the first time since 2013 that ACG Parnell College has been represented in the sport and Emilia couldn’t be more excited.

“I’ve always loved pushing myself, and I love the adrenaline rush I get when I’m flying across the water. Sailing pushes my boundaries and teaches me really important things like staying calm and not panicking when something goes wrong.

You also learn to understand the direction of the wind and tide so you can go faster.”

One of a family of yachties, Emilia’s passion for sailing was fuelled when her dad put her into a sailing holiday programme at the age of nine.

“I immediately fell in love with it!”

Since then, she’s been taking every opportunity to hit the water, and has competed in several regattas.

“When I was in Year 8, I competed in the regionals for 420s and I recently raced in the Sir Peter Blake Regatta which was a massive highlight. It enabled me to meet loads of competitive sailors and really push myself. Through my sailing I’ve also had the opportunity to meet Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who are famous New Zealand sailors currently competing in the America’s Cup. Meeting them has really motivated me to go a step further in the sport.”

Emilia hopes 2021 will provide even more exciting opportunities on the water.

“I want to race in RS Feva a little longer and get good results, and I hope to be racing Laser by the end of the year – that’s an Olympic class which is really competitive.”

And for any students thinking of giving yachting a try, Emilia couldn’t be more encouraging.

“Sailing is a fantastic sport to get involved in, it provides so many life skills that can be utilised in all areas of life and is just overall such a fun and exciting sport! It’s also an easy way to make lots of friends and meet new people.”

The icing on the cake? “It doesn’t interfere with your school workload as races, regattas and training are usually on weekends!”