NZ wins 2011 Schools Teams sailing Interdominions in Port Lincoln, AUS

Interdominion Schools Team racing
Richard Burling

New Zealand’s top three Teams Sailing schools, Kerikeri, St Kentigerns and Tauranga Boys flew to Australia last Tuesday for the Interdominions.

Two annual Teams racing trophies were up for grabs – the Interdominions for top country overall and also a trophy for the top individual school.

Port Lincoln was an hour’s flight from Adelaide across the Australian Bight – a fishing and grain town of about 14,000 people.

The locals were very aware of the ship Rena on Astrolabe reef as they have large ships in all the time taking grain away.

Fattening fish in farms was common with the most interesting being Tuna – head out to sea, net 15kg Blue Finn tuna, tow net very slowly back in for 4 days, feed the fish in cages and sell for $30k each once big enough!

What a great venue for teams sailing – Friendly helpful people, Yacht club looking over a sheltered sandy bay and wind.

The council had even dug a small channel right up to the boat ramp so you didn’t have to take the boats far to launch. Could you imagine that at Algies Bay or Kohimarama.

Port Lincoln YC - launching channel was dug just below the ramp
Richard Burling

The first two days were set aside for training – getting used to the Pacer yachts that they would be racing. The Pacer is a little bit like a Sunburst with thin gunnels to hike off meaning using hiking trousers for protection of legs.

We were greeted by two beautiful under 10 knot days, just perfect for familiarisation of the boats. Best days since last summer we were told.

Judging by the angle on the trees by the marina it suggested quite a windy venue from the SW.

Day 1
There was just enough wind at midday to leave the beach but it didn’t settle sufficiently till 3pm allowing just 19 races to be completed.

Local school St Joseph’s was on top ½ a point in front of NZ’s St Kentigerns College. Kerikeri was on fire against the Australian schools while Tauranga only won 1 of their first 5 races.

Interest to note that St Josephs team was made up of 5 girls and 2 guys with 2 girls skippering all the time. So nice to see our sport is not gender specific – reminds me of when Mahurangi College was so strong a couple of years ago with girl skippers.

Day 2
Rain and excessive wind were heard during the night. Only 2 races were held at 10am before the wind started gusting over 25 knots and the sailors were sent ashore.

Finally around 2pm racing was back underway. Some great boat handling skills were demonstrated with crews enjoying the still 20+ knot winds.

The on-water boat changes ran smoothly alongside a large 80 tonne fishing boat.

Interdominion Schools Team racing
Richard Burling
Copious amounts of food were consumed keeping the sailors energy and minds focused - getting off the water after 6pm

Round robins 2 and 3 of 7 were now completed. St Josephs had just 1 loss all day to extend their top school lead, Kerikeri was next with the other schools bunched together. Tauranga was making progress winning 4 of 5 in the last round robin. Top country overall was just in NZ’s favour.

Final Day 3
A 9am start with good breeze and sunshine saw very close Teams racing all day.

Two more rounds were completed before the final race cut off.

Kerikeri was still the most consistent NZ school especially against the Australian schools.
Tauranga managed to win 4 of 5 in round robin 4 but faded in the last round robin winning just 1 race from 5.

St Kents never really captured their first days form but kept getting enough wins against the Australian schools to keep NZ in the hunt for overall top country.

... Finally it came down to the last race of the day for top country overall, Kerikeri vs St Michaels (Australian schools champions from Adelaide)

To add to the drama a new sea breeze came in just before the start sequence – 20 minutes later a new course was set and they were off.

Kerikeri dominated this race for New Zealand to retain the Interdominion Schools Teams sailing Trophy.

A great lead-in for the All Blacks vs Australia semi final which we watched while eating dinner at the prize giving function.

Congratulations also to St Josephs for being the top individual school. Kerikeri second , St Michael’s third on count back from Tauranga (4th), St Kentigerns fifth , Shenton (Perth) sixth .

The NZ teams were...
Kerikeri High School... O’Shea Butler, Klaus Ohlendorf, Matthew Bindon, Alex Bryning, Harris Bindon, Shae Donahoe, James Ayr, Sam Brierely.

Tauranga Boys College... Nick Gunn, Ben Caundle, Trent Rippey, Berrick Fitzsimons, Ben Warren, Dylan McKinlay and Josh McConnell.

St Kentigern College ... George Brasell, George Anyon, Alex Munro, Harry Craigie, Jamie Faulconbridge, Theo Lawson, Jessica Allen

Richard Burling – Tauranga Boys College coach.