Optimist Yachts on Pandora Pond provide young people of our community with an opportunity to experience sailing. The lessons also provide an opportunity to learn problem solving and teamwork.
The Trust maintains fifteen Optimist Yachts for use on Pandora Pond by the schools of Hawke's Bay. To support the sailing programme there are life jackets and two support craft, one of which has a motor. Paddles add a dimension to the programmes when weather is not suited to sailing.
Teachers who lead pupils with this sailing programme must pass a comprehensive one day training course, and each year approximately 15 - 30 new teachers are trained. (See teacher training manual information below for details)
The facilities of the Hawkes Bay Optimist Yacht Trust are firmly established as an integral part of the outdoor education opportunities for many children of our community. Each season about 2000 Year 5 to Year 8 pupils from approximately forty schools in Napier/Hastings, and around fifteen country schools of Hawkes Bay use these facilities.
The Trust is debt free. With some voluntary input of labour, and continued community support and sponsorship, income meets costs. User schools pay $200 per week of half days. (Every morning or every afternoon of a school week). Maintenance of yachts, equipment and facilities is a vital part of the success of this venture. Since 2014 all original fibreglass yachts have been replaced with lower maintenance lighter polyethelene (plastic) yachts. Generous sponsorship has enabled this replacement programme.
A programme of yacht replacement and refurbishment has been kept up, supported by volunteers and some paid help. Without sponsorship it would be a challenge to maintain this great resource.
The Hawkes Bay Optimist Yacht Trust has been operational since December 1991, and grew from an initiative of the Lions Club of Taradale who invested most of the proceeds of the 1990 International Kite Festival at Anderson Park.