Youngest-ever Cook Strait attempt in Optimist dinghies
Live Ocean Racing Team
Next generation of ocean champions  

Six ambitious young kiwi sailors from Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Marlborough are planning to attempt a Cook Strait crossing in small sailing dinghies on or soon after 25 November 2023.  

Five will sail an Optimist dinghy, one will sail a Starling, and the crossing could take anywhere between three to six hours depending on the conditions in the Strait.  

Glen Richardson, (Dad of Sam) is the mission leader, working together with Sam Edwards (a keen supporter) who will skipper the mission’s support barge. They have local Coastguard units from both Wellington and Picton supporting the mission, and plenty of other community support including the Picton Lions.   

The group reached out to Live Ocean after Richardson put it to them that they might consider using the attempt to highlight a cause or charity. They unanimously pointed to Live Ocean founders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke as their sailing heroes who were speaking out for ocean health awareness too.  

The young sailors have set up a fundraising page for Live Ocean Foundation and Live Ocean will be sharing updates about the mission across social media including ‘live’ updates on the day.  

“Both Blair and I grew up having adventures on and in the water and think we’re lucky to have the ocean and coastline we do here in New Zealand,” Burling said. “So it’s really cool to hear about the challenge these young ocean champs are planning, and humbling to hear that we’ve been part of their inspiration for taking it on.” 

“What an epic mission,” Tuke added. “It’s awesome hearing about Kiwis in the community raising funds for Live Ocean Foundation to support ocean health projects. Good luck to the team, and their support crew.” 

If successful, its thought the youngest of the group will be the youngest ever to have sailed Cook Strait – the notorious stretch of ocean that separates New Zealand’s north and south islands.  

The earliest date the mission may happen is 25 November, which is the start of their window of opportunity for the attempt. Tide and current play a huge factor for any Cook Strait crossing and the goal of organisers is to watch and wait for the optimal weather and tide to push go.  

It’s most likely they’ll set out from the South Island and sail east to the North Island – although they’re not ruling out going the other way if wind direction, tide and current mean that’s more favourable.  

The sailors are: 

  • Sam Richardson (11) 
  • Dahlia Fyfe (13) 
  • Liam Strack (11) 
  • Mari Collins (12) 
  • Bailey Robb (13) 
  • Emily Reid (15) 

Follow @itsliveocean for updates.  

Sign up