Home' Special Publications : Nelson Port Tabloid Contents Spotlight on: Nelson Watersports
director Tim Fraser-Harris
English-born sailing and wind-
surfing instructor Tim Fraser-
Harris has taught in many
exotic places around the world
but says once he saw the stretch
of water by the Nelson Yacht Club
he immediately saw its potential
and wanted to base himself here.
Tim, who is director of Nelson
Watersports, and is contracted to
teach sailing and windsurfing at
the Nelson Yacht Club, even gave
up a career as geologist to teach
His interest in sailing began
with a weekend school trip to
the Isle of Wight where he first
experienced windsurfing and
sailing, he says.
“After that my father bought
a Mirror dinghy which I messed
about in until I was 18.
fast-track 14-week instructors’
course with the Royal Yachting
Association in dinghy sailing, kay-
aking, windsurfing, lifesaving.”
Tim followed this up by teach-
ing sailing in respective summers
in Spain and in Greece.
He then helped pay his way
through university by teach-
ing watersports during the
Tim graduated with a degree
in geology but was so enjoy-
ing the outdoor lifestyle that he
decided to continue working
with sailing and windsurfing.
“I had dedicated a few years to
it so I wanted to follow it through
and become a chief instructor and
instructor of other instructors.”
Tim worked for two more sea-
sons in Greece and then taught in
Mauritius for a year before return-
ing to England where he spent
four lengthy seasons teaching on
a reservoir outside London.
“ The seasons stretched from
to February until November,
and trying to teach windsurfing
in England in February could be
brutal (due to the cold).
“But I also got involved with
a national government organisa-
tion where I did centre inspec-
tions and instructor training.”
He ended up in New Zealand
as a result of his partner, Suze,
who was as also a top windsurfer
and part of the Welsh national
youth squad in the 420 class.
“She is a physiotherapist and
was keen to come to New Zea-
land to further her career and I had
been here before so I was happy to
come out with her and check it out.
“So we arrived here four
years ago on a one-year work-
ing holiday, extended it and then
applied for (and got) residency.”
Tim says the couple travelled
around New Zealand for the first
year trying to decide where they
wanted to settle.
“I saw this great opportunity
in Nelson with the position of
the yacht club and this stretch
of water protected by the Boul-
der Bank and Haulashore Island.
So I thought I would give it a go.”
Tim subsequently formed his
own company – Nelson Water-
sports – and is contracted by the
yacht club to teach sailing and
“Compared to where I was
teaching near London on a res-
ervoir where it was often cold
and grey – this area spoils you
completely,” he says.
However, he admits the loca-
tion also has its challenges.
The area is prone to some
strong tides and the fact they
are sailing so closely to the
Cut means they have to be
extremely safety conscious
to avoid potential conflicts
He says sometimes, such
as during school holiday pro-
grammes, it is too much to
expect children to devote the
whole day to sailing drills. So
he intersperses the programme
with activities such as visits to
Haulashore Island or the Nelson
“ This summer we even did
an overnight camping trip to
Oyster Island with 14 children
Tim says there is a healthy
breed of talented young sailors
coming through in Nelson.
“Over the last few years
we have been running
some advanced sailing
courses – so we have
retained some of the
sailors who we initially
taught and some of
their families have been
buying boats and the
children are starting to
travel to compete in
regattas and some have
been very successful.”
Tim has also had
much to do with the
revival of windsurfing in
He says between
40 and 50 children
took part in the sum-
mer holiday wind-
and many more have
booked to take part in
after school learn-to-windsurf
courses this term.
This summer he has
employed nine people at vari-
ous times, including two wind-
surfing instructors from the UK,
to help teach windsurfing and
Although an accomplished
windsurfer, Tim says he doesn’t
have the time to compete profes-
sionally. However, he loves to prac-
tise tricks and enjoys himself on
the water whenever he can.
And he says he has few
regrets about turning his back
on a career as a geologist and is
more than happy to be in Nelson.
“I would have earned a
lot more money working for
a massive corporation in the
mines but I didn’t feel I would
However, Tim says life is not
all about money.
“When working down at the
yacht club I work with people
genuinely enjoying themselves
as they learn to sail. And when
parents phone me up at the
weekend and say how much
their children enjoyed them-
selves at the lesson, it makes it
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THE PORT, Nelson Mail, Summer 2015
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