Committee

The NZIODA Committee is made up of 12 members who are elected, and re-elected each year by members at the AGM. 

If you are interested in being part of the Committee please email nzoptimist@gmail.com

Current Committee Members

Michel is the NZIODA President.  He started sailing at 13 in Australia on keelboats, and his sons Sebastian and Lucas are also keen sailors and following in the family tradition. Michel has lived in New Zealand for seven years, is passionate about grassroots development and spends much of his spare time supporting junior sailing at Napier Sailing Club.

Matt is an Opti Parent with a son who is passionate about sailing Optis. Matt is keen to support children entering the sport of yachting and build confidence in and a love of the sea. He is a member of the Royal Akarana Yacht club in Auckland.

Barry Davies is the NZIODA Secretary. He started sailing on a Laser in his mid 20’s with the Tamaki Yacht Club and Howick Sailing Club then moved to cruising, initially with a Raven 26 then bought the Stewart 34, Pandora.

His son Brad started sailing Optimists in 1996 so he got involved too and served on the Howick Sailing Club Committee. Joined the NZIODA Committee around the year 2000 and for the next five years, helped organize the Clinics at Willow Park and also North Island Champs (they alternated between Rotorua and Lake Taupo in those years).

Barry then went on to become a National Race Officer and eventually became the Sailing Manager at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron. NZIODA honoured me with Life Membership in 2006.

Dianne and Barry left Auckland in 2010 and eventually settled in Timaru where he currently resides.

He has continued with his interest in the Optimist Class and when he saw NZIODA was searching for a new Secretary, Barry offered to take on this role. With his past experience and impartiality, he is ready to serve the Committee and the Optimist community.

Paul has returned to competitive sailing via the three children he has in the Open and Green Fleets. He now lives in Lyttelton (with grandstand views of the SailGP course) and represents the Charteris Bay Yacht Club on the NZIODA Committee.

Paul’s real passion is the outdoors, in particular the teaching and learning that comes with the experience. 

His current aims are two fold encouragement of participation in sailing and retaining Green Gleet sailors into the Open Fleet.

Nick started sailing dinghy’s and keelboats at age 14 in the Isle of Man, in the British Isles and has lived in New Zealand for 18 years.

Nick’s current sailing activities (a J14 out of Torbay YC) have recently taken a back seat to facilitate his sons sail racing at Murray’s Bay Sailing Club.

Isaac (12) is sailing Optimist and P-class and Finloe (10) is sailing Optimist and looking forward to starting sailing P-class this winter. Nick is passionate about our sport and believes that sailing should be an activity for life. In Nick’s view, the best way to ensure this is to keep it fun, whatever the level of competition!

Laurence Fauchelle grew up sailing dinghies and keelboats. He has a coaching diploma and was a full-time Optimist coach for many years.  Laurence is passing on his passion for sailing to his three boys (2, 9 and 11 years), with the older two starting at WBC in the Green Fleet in 2022. 

Laurence believes that sailing provides an opportunity to develop many life skills in children, including taking responsibility and encouraging maturity. Laurence uses sports psychology research, such as promoting a growth mindset when teaching sailing. He has found that this type of support is a crucial factor in achieving a peak performance whilst having fun. 

Sam overseas the Coaches Pathway and is a passionate and talented past Opti sailor, an enthusiastic coach and is currently the youth and events manager for Yachting New Zealand. He is focused on helping the committee with sailor retention and enjoyment. Sam has a small 26ft keelboat and a WASZP that doesn’t get used enough!

Michael has worked at Yachting New Zealand for the past five years as the national sporting organisation’s communications manager but is also an Opti dad, with two children presently sailing the class.

He learned to sail in a past life and knows how to point a boat in the right direction but his main passion is seeing the sport grow and be accessible to a wide range of participants.

Michel is the NZIODA President.  He started sailing at 13 in Australia on keelboats, and his sons Sebastian and Lucas are also keen sailors and following in the family tradition. Michel has lived in New Zealand for seven years, is passionate about grassroots development and spends much of his spare time supporting junior sailing at Napier Sailing Club.

Mel oversees the General Committee/Green Fleet and is from Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton. Her family is relatively new to sailing but she is the proud mother of a Green Fleet Opti sailor and a development Starling sailor. Mel is keen to improve information and opportunities for sailors and families starting out in the Optimist fleet.

Jim brings a considerable amount of racing experience to NZIODA, being a 15 time World Champion, NZ Olympian and multiple Americas Cup competitor, most recdently with the American Magic team.


Living in New Zealand for over 20 years, Jim has been involved with NZIODA activities for many years, stemming back to coaching the 2003 Easter Beach Clinic.  Jim’s youngest daughter Sofia has just moved into Open Fleet after an enjoyable and successful time in Green Fleet and older sister Chloe moved into the Starling this season after loving her time in the Optimist.


Although Jim brings a wealth of top end racing experience to the NZIODA Committee, he is also passionate about keeping kids in the sport and having fun, development, fundraising and coaching.

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