RAYC is known as New Zealand’s home of Blue Water sailing. On top of this we are currently growing our junior fleet and we also are host to a number of Olympic and Aspiring Olympic sailors.
Aaron Hume-Merry (27) and Markus Somerville (18) became members of RAYC at the beginning of 2015. RAYC was the perfect spot for this new team to base themselves for 49er training. They came for the 49er sailing and stayed because the people at Akarana were welcoming and the café on site had hot coffee readily available after a winter training session. They found the Akarana venue perfectly suited their needs; it was close to home for Aaron and only a short trip across the bridge for Markus, the concrete ramp and rigging area was preferred to a muddy or sandy area, and they felt their boat was secure with staff being present throughout the week.
While only recently becoming members at RAYC, Aaron and Markus have been around longer than that, attending Sail Auckland regattas hosted by RAYC. Their highlight so far has been the 2015 49er nationals where they were able to race against five of the best crews in the world including our very own Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. Aaron and Markus see Pete and Blair as great role-models for the professionalism they display both on and off the water.
The pair is only relatively new to the 49er, joining forces in October 2014. “I’ve been sailing longer than you’ve been alive Markus,” Aaron stated when discussing their early sailing experiences. Aaron began sailing when he was 7 and Markus started a bit later when he was 11. Aaron has a background in single handed classes with lots of experience in Lasers. Markus moved straight from the Optimist into 29ers and has now stepped up to 49ers with Aaron. Their long-term goal is to make it to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and they are ticking off all the milestones along the way.
Currently both are training hard with other Auckland 49er sailors, Aaron has been involved with safety boat driving and both are very keen to help coach in the Academy in the upcoming season.
Their favourite story (though a little embarrassing) comes from one of their first 49er outings. They were faced with a 25kt onshore wind, and while attempting to bring their 49er ashore, things went a little awry. A “rogue wave” caused Markus to slip, losing control of the boat which careered into the grey pontoons in Okahu Bay. Markus ended up in the water, the 49er wing got stuck under the pontoon which jammed Aaron’s finger. The greatest damage was their embarrassment with the wipe-out happening so close to on shore spectators!
Keep an eye out for these guys names, I’m sure we will see them making headlines soon enough!