R. Tucker Thompson trust recognised

16 Mar 2017

A charitable trust that operates the iconic Bay of Islands-based tall ship R. Tucker Thompson has been recognised for its services to Northland’s youth sailing and education.

Presentation of trophey to trustees on board the R. Tucker Thompson.Regional council chairman Bill Shepherd, left, presents a wooden trophy marking the Sailor of the Year achievement to R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust trustee Mike Simm and executive trustee Jane Hindle aboard the tall ship at Opua yesterday.

The R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust has been named as the 2017 recipient of the Northland Regional Council’s ‘Sailor of the Year’ trophy.

Council chairman Bill Shepherd says while typically the trophy goes to an individual recipient; it can be awarded ‘for all or any acts or services, which either directly or indirectly have the effect of promotion, advancement or betterment of the sport of yachting’.

“In that regard the trust is an absolutely deserving candidate,” he says.

“The trust’s mission is ‘Learning for Life through the Sea’.  Over the past decade it has offered more than 1300 young Northlanders the opportunity to learn new life skills – and sailing – aboard its 26-metre long flagship vessel, an iconic sight in the Bay of Islands.”

Chairman Shepherd says the R. Tucker Thompson is used for tourism over the warmer months until Easter, providing several thousand visitors a unique opportunity to experience tall ship sailing each year.

Those trips then help meet the costs of week-long life skill training opportunities – the trust’s primary purpose – for young people between 13-18 years over the rest of the year.

“The trust promotes confidence, leadership and teamwork as its key outcomes and it’s a real honour for my fellow councillors and I to be able to publicly recognise it in this way.”

Chairman Shepherd and his fellow regional councillors presented trust representatives with the trophy at a ceremony at the schooner’s Opua base yesterday.

It is the first time the trophy has been awarded since master Far North waka builder and traditional navigator Hekenukumai Puhipi (Hector Busby) was named the Northland Sailor of the Year for 2012.

The trophy was first presented in 1964 by the now defunct Whangarei Harbour Board and was originally known as the ‘Northland Blue Water Trophy’.

The regional council subsequently rededicated it as the Northland Sailor of the Year trophy in 1995 and the trophy proper – a model yacht in a heavy glass case – passes from winner to winner as new Sailors of the Year are announced.

Recipients also receive a smaller wooden trophy – like the one Chairman Shepherd presented to the trust – they can keep as a permanent reminder to mark the achievement.

Chairman Shepherd says potential winners of the Sailor of the Year trophy can promote, advance or better yachting through a variety of ways including:

  • Design and building of boats.
  • Administrative services to the sport on a regular basis
  • Outstanding examples of seamanship or sailing ability in both competitive and non-competitive spheres.
  • Outstanding examples of sportsmanship.
  • Services in the promotion and encouragement of active participation in the sport of yachting.