Where can I find information about sailing?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Colour photo of a small boat at sea. It is using its 3 open sails to catch the wind and power it forward.

Image: Sailing Casco Bay Maine by Kristel Hayes on Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 27/05/22


Sailing is the use of sails and wind to move a boat forward on a sea, river or lake. People in Aotearoa New Zealand have been sailing for hundreds of years. The first people to live here sailed from the Pacific Islands, and later waves of people arrived on enormous sailing ships. Today, many people sail for fun and competition.

History of sailing

In early times sailing ships carried passengers and goods from one place to another. Famous explorers like Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook set out in large sailing ships in search of new lands. The websites below will help you find more about the history of sailing.

Britannica School

Britannica School is part of EPIC, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Try starting with Middle, then enter the search word 'sailing' into the search box.

  • Select the article called ship and shipping (transportation of goods) to read about the history of ships from boats, to sailing boats, to current cargo and passenger ships.

  • You can also search for famous sailors by typing in names like Captain Cook and Christopher Columbus.

  • Remember you can always go up or down a reading level by selecting from the Reading level at the top of the page.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

American Sailing Association

This American website was founded in 1983 to promote and teach people about sailing. It has a few pages on the history of sailing.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Sea History for kids

This site is part of the National Maritime Historical Society in America. Its main aim is to raise awareness of maritime history and the role of seafaring in shaping society.

  • Go to People to find some interesting stories about famous sailors and even pirates who sailed the seas.

  • Try the link on Vessels to read about historical ships and mystery ships.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Sailing in New Zealand

With a huge coastline and plenty of wind, sailing is a popular sport in New Zealander. These websites will help you explore more about sailing and its importance to New Zealand.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • From the homepage find the section called Earth, Sea and Sky, then go to Recreation - Sea and Sky.

  • You will find a story called Sailing and windsurfing about the history of sailing in New Zealand from the early years of yachts and sailing boats to the America's Cup.

  • Go down to Dictionary of New Zealand Biography from the homepage and type in names of famous people like Abel Tasman and Sir Peter Blake to read about their sailing history.

To find information about how Māori ancestors sailed to New Zealand:

  • find the section Māori New Zealanders

  • then Māori origins and arrivals, and

  • select the story Canoe navigation to find out about double-hulled canoes, sails, and how Māori navigated to New Zealand.


NZHistory is another great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa.

  • Go to Culture and Society from the homepage.

  • Look under the section called Sport to find the story of New Zealand's history with the America's Cup.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


This is the official website of Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand's multiple award-winning yachtsman. He was also famous for his passion for protecting and caring for the environment.

Tips: When looking for info on a famous person we always recommend trying to find their official website first, as the information is likely to be more accurate than fan sites.

NZ On Screen

NZ On Screen is New Zealand's showcase of television, film and music videos. There is a great collection of videos about sailing.

Rules of sailing

Sailing like all sport needs rules. The websites below have rules and safety tips to ensure that sailing is fair and safe.

Yachting New Zealand

Yachting New Zealand is the national body for boating and sailing clubs. It looks after events, helps with fundraising, safety support and sailing laws.

  • Find the tab Recreational and read Safety Regulations of Sailing.

  • If you search with keywords 'rules' you will find a link to Rules and appeals.

  • This page has the Yachting New Zealand Racing Rules of Sailing and the World Sailing version of the Racing Rules of Sailing.

  • Explore all the other tabs to find information about racing, parasailing, and other information for sailors in New Zealand.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [rules]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Maritime New Zealand

This is the New Zealand's government organisation for safety, security and protection of coastal and inland waterways.

  • Look under Recreational to find Sailing.

  • This page covers all the government rules and safety requirements for sailboats and yachts in New Zealand.

World competitions

There are lots of sailing competitions around the world. The sites below will help you find out more about these competitions, especially the America's Cup that is so popular in New Zealand.

America's Cup

You will find all you need to know from this official website of the America's Cup and Prada Cup. This site also has live streaming of events.

  • It's best to explore each of the tabs to know more about the teams, news updates, date of events, and safety rules and regulations.

Emirates Team New Zealand

This website is about Emirates Team New Zealand that represents Aotearoa New Zealand in international sailing events.

  • Open the tab About to read about the history of this team and events like the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Louis Vuitton Cup and Audi Medcup.

World Sailing

World Sailing is the world governing body for sailing, officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

  • Check out Events to read about the different sailing events, and where and when they are being held.

  • New to Sailing is a good link to look at to understand different types of sailing like fleet racing, match racing and more.

Yachting World

This is another website that has news and information about various sailing and yachting events held globally.

  • Here you can find out more about Vendée Globe, a single-handed non-stop around the world yacht race.

  • Look up the other links to find out about the Superyachts being built, multihulls, and catamaran sailing about.


Besides these websites, there are lots of books on sailing. Ask your school or public librarian about some titles. Here are some to start your search:

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