New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins


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Whether you are a regular competitor, a weekend sailor or a spectator, this series of beautifully designed Yachting stamps made a great addition to your collection.

Issue information

Surrounded by ocean, a coastline teeming with harbours and picturesque bays, New Zealand has emerged as a nation of sailors. From the Bay of Islands to Bluff, boating is an intrinsic part of the New Zealand lifestyle. This stamp issue celebrated both our successes in yachting and our sheer enjoyment of being on the water.

A popular leisure pursuit, yachting appeals to young and old alike. Some enjoy the exhilaration of cutting through the waves, the competition and the tactical manoeuvres; others prefer a more sedate sail, taking in the sea air and relaxing on the waves.

Each of the seven stamps featured a different class of yacht commonly found on New Zealand waters. Some of the most famous New Zealand sailing personalities started out in an Optimist or the smaller and faster P Class. While the Laser is considered one of the most competitive yacht classes in New Zealand, skiff racing is growing in popularity and is perhaps yacht racing's most exciting spectator sport. The Hobie Cat is another class designed for speed. The remaining two stamps featured a selected yacht in the racing and cruising classes respectively.

Maximum Cards

The set of maximum cards captured the action and excitement of six of our most popular classes of yacht: P Class - the uniquely New Zealand yacht that is still the country's most popular junior racing dinghy; Laser and 18' Skiff - fast and exhilarating; Hobie Cat - small and quick twin-hulled catamaran; Racing Yacht - made famous by designers like Laurie Davidson and Bruce Farr; and the Cruising Yacht - a common sight in our harbours and bays.

Product Listing for Yachting

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'P Class' gummed stamp.

Most young (and some not so young) New Zealander’s learn to sail in the P Class, a delightful and uniquely New Zealand sailing dinghy.

In the early 1920’s they appeared on Tauranga harbour. Designed by Harry Highet, the P Class was first known as the Tauranga Class.

A local yachtsman, Percy Carter, spied the potential for Highet’s design as a perfect craft for children and young people to learn to sail in. With the help of a friend and fellow yachtsman, he built one for his sons, and within a year there was a fleet of ten or so racing regularly every weekend. By 1944 the boat was so popular that inter-provincial races were being held.

With more advanced building materials and techniques being used, over the years the P Class has developed into a relatively modern boat. However, the design remains basically unaltered, and it is still one of the most popular New Zealand youth class boats.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Laser' gummed stamp.

Designed by Canadian sailors Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce, the Laser is one of the most popular boats ever made. There are many competitions dedicated to the Laser, including the distinction of being the men’s single-handed class in the Olympics.

Originally designed in 1969 as a sailboat small enough to fit on top of a car, the Laser first made it to the water in 1970 in a competition for boats costing less than $1,000. The original boat was called the Weekender, and had the letters TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday – stitched into the sail.

The Laser is built in England, Australia, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and the United States, and remains a relatively inexpensive boat to purchase. It is one of the most competitive classes of yachting, attracting some of the largest fleets in the world.

The boat is well suited to New Zealand conditions, and one of the most common sentiments expressed about the boat is its ability to be taken out on the water when other boats can’t be. Good and stable yet very fast in heavier wind, the Laser appeals to the New Zealand senses of skill and challenge.

Single Stamp

Single $1.10 '18' Skiff' gummed stamp.

Skiffs are two or three person boats that are generally between 3.5 and 5.5 metres in length. They are high speed sports and racing craft sailed from trapeze and can be described as the Formula One of yachting.

The origins of the New Zealand fleet started in 1951 in Auckland when local sailor Dave Marks managed to convince a few other locals that increased sail area and bigger downwind additions would provide greater excitement. This saw the beginning of the "Q" Class skiffs.

Skiff sailing is an exciting spectator sport, and is especially popular in Auckland and Canterbury. On a good day, spectators can enjoy the entertainment from Mission Bay, North Head and Orakei Wharf as these highly competitive boats create spectacular sailing action.

Single Stamp

Single $1.20 'Hobie Cat' gummed stamp.

The Hobie Cat is a highly popular small twin hull sailing craft, otherwise known as a catamaran.

First developed in California in the late 1960’s by Hobie Alter, the Hobie Cat was designed to be fast, fun and easy to sail. They are able to sailed by one or two people, kids and adults alike.

Offering greater speed (and greater thrills in high winds) than conventional single hull dinghy, the Hobie is also able to be ridden through surf.

The combination of excellent speed on open water, its ability to handle surf and relatively inexpensive pricing made the Hobie Cat extremely popular in the 1970’s. The ANZ book of Sailing and Boating describes the Hobie as "sailing of the adrenalin-pumping type".

Naturally this type of sailing is of immense appeal to New Zealanders, who are among the most active and outdoor experience oriented people in the world – and these qualities will ensure that the Hobie remains popular for a long time yet.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Racing Yacht' gummed stamp.

Racing appeals to the competitive streak in New Zealanders and so does the challenge of the sea. This combination has seen New Zealand sailors and crew win some of the most demanding ocean races in the world, including the Whitbread Round the World, the Jules Verne Cup, the Admiral’s Cup and the America’s Cup.

Racing yachts are some of the most elegant sailing craft around, with every aspect designed for maximum speed and performance. New Zealand has produced some internationally renowned racing keelboat designers, probably the best known of those being Bruce Farr.

There are two types of keelboat racing – fleet and match. Some of the better known New Zealand fleet races are the Cook Strait Classic and Auckalnd’s Coastal Classic. Match racing is a two boat activity, and can be tremendously exciting to watch as they pit their wits against each other.

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Cruising Yacht' gummed stamp.

Cruising yachts are a fixture of the New Zealand lifestyle – and especially in summer, when our harbours and coastline become big, blue playgrounds for many different types of craft.

Cruising yachts come in all shapes and sizes, from the six metre trailer yacht to the 45 metre floating palaces. Some are capable of making trans-ocean trips, and popular routes are up through the South Pacific and around the various tropical Islands.

The experience of sailing on a beautiful cruising keelboat is one of the finest in yachting. Not as fast as racing keelboats yet still capable of a good turn of speed, they are designed for comfort, stability and safety on the open sea.

The New Zealand environment, with its many coves and sounds, is ideal for coastal cruising, and this is reflected in its summertime popularity. The freedom of being able to drop anchor wherever it suits whether sailing under wind or power is in many ways synonymous with the great outdoor Kiwi lifestyle.

Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Optimist' self-adhesive stamp.

The Optimist is one of the world’s most popular sail training dinghies.

It’s the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16 years of age, and is sailed in over 100 countries by over 150,000 young people. The Optimist has an excellent track record as a training boat, with ex-Optimist sailors winning in every sailing event except one at both the last two Olympics.

The Optimist is well regarded as a training boat because it’s safe and simple enough for an eight year old, while still being technically challenging for teenagers. And it’s a lot of fun!

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $6.80
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.70
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.30
Set of Maximum Cards Set of six pre-paid postcards featuring a stamp on the front and artwork from the stamp issue. $7.95
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 40c self-adhesive stamps. $4.00
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $15.00
Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 20 October 1999
Number of stamps: Seven
Denominations and designs: Self-adhesive stamp - 40c Optimist; Sheet stamps - 40c P Class; 80c Laser; $1.10 18' Skiff; $1.20 Hoble Cate; $1.50 Racing Yacht; $1.80 Crusiing Yacht
Stamps, booklet, minature sheet and first day covers designed by: BNA Design, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours and one silver metallic colour
Stamp size and format: Gummed stamps: 30mm x 40mm vertical; Self-adhesive stamp: 25mm x 30mm vertical
Miniature sheet size: 125mm x 100mm
Number of stamps per sheet: 100
Perforation gauge: 14
Paper type: 103 gsm red phosphor coated stamp paper
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks were obtained by purchasing at least six sheet stamps. Barcode and value blocks were obtained by purchasing at least two sheet stamps. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats. Special blocks were not available for the self-adhesive stamp.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 19 October 2000.