Members of the Nelson Coastguard with the new yacht they were gifted this week. They are from left, Geoff Morgan, Wayne Ballantyne and Graeme Richards. Photo: Andrew Board.

Nelson Coastguard gifted a yacht to raffle

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Nelson Volunteer Coastguard members say they’re “completely blown away” by a donation that could see it raise $20,000 over the next year.

Nelson Weekly and its sister paper Waimea Weekly have donated a 20 foot Red Wing trailer sailor that was owned by the publishers of the papers, Steve Page and Jenny Bates.

The yacht was bought for around $7000 but fully restored is worth about $15,000. Coastguard volunteers will spend the next year restoring the yacht and will be calling on the local community and businesses to help in any way they can.

Over that time, they will also sell raffle tickets for the yacht at $10 per ticket and next spring it will find a winner.

Nelson Coastguard president-elect Graeme Richards says it was looking for a fundraising project and one that would also raise its profile in the community. The idea of restoring a yacht and raffling it off was “just perfect”.

“It’s amazing, it blew us away really. It’s pretty apt for a coastguard unit to get a yacht to do up and then raffle off. This will give us something really worthwhile to get our teeth stuck into and it will really make a big difference.”

The boat and its trailer are already in good condition but it does need some attention, including a paint job and some extras, like an outboard motor.

It sleeps four people and has complete rigging including sails.

Graeme says they’ve already been speaking with some local businesses about helping out but are keen to hear from any others that may want to support the coastguard with the project. “We’ve got some clever people in the coastguard who can do a lot, but we will be looking to the community for extra support.”

He says the money raised will go towards a “whole heap” of things, including a new pontoon outside the rescue centre, and upgrades.

Steve Page says he is rapt the yacht will be put to good use. “We had the yacht and it was sitting there not doing anything, so I thought this would be great way for our local papers to support our local coastguard. So many Nelsonians use the water every weekend and we want to help keep them safe.”

To help with the project, contact Graeme at [email protected]