About WOW

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. Check the WOW calendar for dates for sailing dates. Everyone must pre-register once for the season and then sign on for each evening to be allocated to a boat.  It is important to get to the club before 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.

For all the information you need to know like what to wear and bring, what happens after sailing, etc., refer to our our WOW Handbook on the right side of this page. Click here for the latest copy of the Sailing Instructions.

Ensure you subscribe to our email mailing list.  All notifications will be sent only to the subscribed email addresses.

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.


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 Training 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. We have two groups of boats in the Training Division – Large Vessels and Smaller Vessels.


The Racing Division is designed for those with a little more experience and who want to feel the exhilaration of racing.  Following the given course 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   

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 "training" boats, which are captained by experienced skippers who are very willing and able to take absolute beginners.  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 training 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 yachts.  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 are being a burden!  The beauty of being on these boats is that you 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 have 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.


There are two options for paying for WOW:

1. Club membership for the 23/24 season at $145 (which is ~$9 per WOW event) with 15 WOW events scheduled for our 23/24 season. There are several membership options to choose from here. OR

2. Pay per sail for each sail you can attend. This cost is $20 per sail and $10 for the shore-based evenings/Skills nights (Registration evening is free).

We have a lot more collaboration organised with the Keelers this coming season which means more spaces on the Wednesday evening keeler race boats across all divisions and more Friday evening fun sails - which means more sailing throughout the year for WOW ladies. This is all part of the club's strategic plan.

Any enquiries please contact our Chairperson Jackie Kelly via email - wow@yacht.org.nz or phone 021 188 1182


WOW is very grateful for the generosity and support of our sponsors in providing us with gifts and vouchers for prizes and fundraising.

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