Women on Water

Contact details of personnel responsible for this division:

Name: Reina Del la Varis
WOW Chairperson
Email Address: wow@yacht.org.nz
Contact phone number:
027 822 5623




Women On Water is designed to give women of all ages and from all walks of life the opportunity to experience sailing in both a racing and non-racing capacity. Established in 2001, the concept of taking complete beginners out sailing on the Tauranga harbour now attracts 80-100 women each WOW night during the summer season.  Through WOW, many of us have gained the skills and knowledge required to sail proficiently and many now crew regularly and even own their own yachts.


The WOW Summer Series, sponsored by Mills Reef Winery since 2003, comprises 9 sails starting on Thursday 11th October 2018. Check the WOW calendar for dates for full sailing dates. Everyone must pre-register and sign on to be allocated to a boat.  It is important to get to the club by 5.15pm otherwise you may find yourself left on the dock.  Due to the staggered Mark Foy start the smaller, slower boats must leave the dock by 5.30pm but faster boats can leave a bit later, but it’s best to be early.  After the sail we encourage everyone to come to the Clubhouse for prize giving, spot prizes, raffles and to purchase WOW merchandise.  It’s a great time to get to know your skipper and crew.  A buffet meal is available and the bar is open so come join us for a night of sailing and fun with lots of other like-minded women. Here’s how it all happens...


In order to allocate participants to the available boats you must register by 5pm the Tuesday prior to sailing.  You must also hand in your completed Enrolment & Safety Declaration form prior to sailing.  To register, please phone or text Reina Del la Varis on 027 822 5623 or email wow@yacht.org.nz  Provide your full name, contact phone number, age and whatever previous sailing experience you have, if any. If you have already been to WOW you may request a particular boat. 


Dinghy Sailing information and date to be advised.

Sign On

For legal purposes we need to know who is out on the water so ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST SIGN ON before going to a boat.  This takes place each WOW day in the TYPBC Clubhouse at Sulphur Point, Tauranga, from 4:30 to 5:15pm.  The first time you participate in WOW you must complete the Enrolment and Safety Declaration Form.  You are then required to pay a fee (regardless of whether you are in the cruising or racing division), whichever is applicable to you:

Pre-paid card (full WOW season) $90 - saves up to $45 - available up to Race 4
TYPBC Members
FREE with proof of membership
Other YNZ affiliated club members $45 - pre-paid season pass, with proof of membership
Non - season pass holders
$15 per day

Arrival Time

WOW starting system is called the Mark Foy system, which sees a staggered start to the race. The race starts at 6pm, each boat having been told over the VHF radio their designated start time according to their predetermined handicap.  It is suggested that you arrive at the Clubhouse before 5:15pm so you have time to sign on before getting to your boat by 5:30pm. Try to allow plenty of time to accommodate the commuter traffic, and phone or text your skipper or Reina if you’re running late.


What to Wear and Bring

We strongly encourage you to bring your own life jacket. Having your own will ensure  you are comfortable and safe as it will be adjusted to fit you personally - it also saves time wasted trying to find one that will fit you on the boat.

Weather, wind and general sailing conditions will dictate what you wear. However, there are a few standard items you should bring:

+ Shoes For safety reasons everyone should wear shoes and not bare feet.  The best shoes are soft-soled, non-slip, non-marking – runners are ok. Always check your shoes for tar or stones just before boarding the boat.
+ Clothing
Comfortable shorts or pants, preferably without toggles or chords that can get caught up or sat on, a stretchy shirt, a warm and/or waterproof jacket along with a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm. It is advisable to bring a change of clothes each time also, as you can get a bit wet occasionally.
+ Life Jacket
If you have your own Life Jacket / Personal Flotation Device please bring it along as it is better to wear your own.  However, if you do not have one all boats should have spares on board.
+ Food & Drink Sailing can be thirsty work so you may want to bring a bottle of water in a non-breakable container.  Snacks can be eaten afterwards during debriefing at the dock and remember to take all your rubbish off the boat with you.

After Sailing                                  

All participants are invited to the Clubhouse after each sail for prize giving, spot prizes and raffles. Reasonably priced meals and a full bar service is also available. Partners and family members are welcome to join you. WOW merchandise is available for purchase including shirts, jackets, sailing gloves and head warmers.


WOW Divisions 

Participating boats may sail in one of two divisions for the 9 race series. Boat sizes range from 6m trailer yachts to 12m keeler yachts.
The Cruising Division sees newcomers to the sport going out with skippers who are keen to share their knowledge and provide tips on safe boating and general crewing skills.  Following the same given course as the race boats these boats are not permitted to use a spinnaker or gennaker, ie. it is a no-extras division.
The Racing Division is designed for those with a little more experience and who want to feel the exhilaration of racing.  Following the same given course as the cruising boats these boats are racing for prize money made up from their racing entry fees and are permitted to use all sails available to them.


WOW for Beginners   

by Lise Mackie

I was recently asked a very good question by a person who has never sailed in her life.  She noted that each date on our Women On Water (WOW) calendar is designated as a “race” and wondered what options were available for complete novices who may be intimidated by the idea of racing.

To answer her inquiry, each WOW night, although termed a "race", is actually designed for both racing and non-racing boats.  Complete beginners are assigned to what we call "cruising" boats, which are captained by experienced skippers who are very willing and able to take absolute beginners onto their boat with them.  In fact, most of these skippers have at times raced their boat with only one other person onboard (known as “two-handed”) so they are very apt at handling their boats.

While cruising boats tend to follow the course set for that evening’s WOW race, the pace and atmosphere on the boat is a lot more relaxed than on the racing boats.  Cruising skippers are not permitted to hoist a spinnaker, which means you won't go as fast as the racing boats nor do you have to deal with the sometimes temperamental sail.  A final perk is that if the wind dies, you don't have to complete the course like the racing boats - you just cruise home and have a wine at the dock.

But even if you’re brand new to sailing on a trailer sailor or keel boat, don't think you're being a burden! The beauty of being on these boats is that your physically being there is already doing a job.  As the wind increases, the boat will start to tilt.  The skipper will have you sit on the side of the boat with your legs dangling over the side to help counteract that tilt with your weight. 

So although you may feel like you're not doing anything as a beginner, you've already helped the skipper and the boat!  Plus you are being exposed to what sailing is all about - the movement of the boat, the terminology of sailing, the camaraderie of participation and sitting with others on the rail, and the opportunity to sail on our wonderful harbour.


WOW Calendar   2018-2019      

Registration 27 September  Enrolment night
Basic Skills Night 4 October  
Race 1 11 October   
Race 2 25 October  
Race 3 8 November  
Race 4 22 November  
Race 5 6 December  
Race 6 31 January  
Race 7 14 February  
Race 8 28 February  
Race 9 10 March (Sunday)  


wow committee   2018-2019

Chairperson  Reina Del la Varis
Secretary  Natalie Burt
Treasurer  Natalie Burt
Boat Allocation  Lizanne Selby
Registration  Sue Cook
Events Coordinator  Appointed on a per event basis.
Media and Waterline Contributor  Sophie Headley
Facebook Manager
 Sophie Headley
Merchandise   Jojette Drost
Sponsorship   Miriam Allsopp, Sophie Headley
 Fiona Harrison
 Reina Del la Varis
MC for Prize Giving  Angela Saunders
General Committee Members  Jackie Kelly, Lynne Gilliland, Delwyn Keyworth

We welcome any comments or suggestions to improve WOW if you have any comments please contact Reina Del la Varis or email wow@yacht.org.nz


WOW Sponsors     

Thank you to all our wonderful sponsers who are proudly supporting Women On Water - please support them too!

Mills Reef Winery

millsreef.co.nz  - Phone 07 576 8800 - Bethlehem, Tauranga

Rialto Cinema

rialtotauranga.co.nz  -  Phone 07 577 0445 - Goddard Ctr, 21 Devonport Rd, Tauranga

Scarlet Hair Studio

scarlet-hairstudio.co.nz  -  Phone 07 578 6223 - 758 Cameron Rd, Gate Pa, Tauranga

Trudi Calder Pilates

facebook.com/trudicalderpilates  -  Phone Mob: +64 021 066 2435

Tauranga City Yoga

taurangacityyoga.co.nz  - Phone 027 676 2667 - 162 Durham St, Tauranga

Burnsco Marine

burnsco.co.nz  - Phone 07 572 0257 - Kereiti St, Mt Maunganui



Rye Bar & Grill

ryekitchen.co.nz  - Phone 07 571 4138 - 19 Wharf St, Tauranga

Bay Office Products Depot

bay.opd.co.nz  - Phone 07 928 4455 - 20 Christopher St, Tauranga

Essential Healing

facebook.com/EssentialHealingTauranga  - Email sonialampaert@gmail.com

Baystation Tauranga

Baystation.co.nz  - Phone 07 577 8599 - Pavilion 3, ASB Baypark, 81 Truman Lane, Mt Maunganui

For more details please download our WOW handbook here