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Harken Secondary Schools Keelboat Champs begins this weekend.

by Andrew Delves 6 Mar 2020 04:00 PST 7 March 2020
Harken National Secondary School Keelboat Championships 2019 © Andrew Delves

Sixteen teams from secondary schools all over the country are set to vie for the 2020 HARKEN National Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship. The event kicks off tomorrow, Friday 6th March, and runs for three days through to Sunday 8th March at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

There is a very solid mix of teams this year, with representation coming from the top of the North Island all the way down to the South Island. Thirteen schools are involved, including;

Westlake Boys High School (two teams), Rosmini College, Waimea College, Kings College, Takapuna Grammar School (two teams), Auckland Grammar School, South Island Combined (two teams), Keri Keri High School, Baradene College, St Kentigern College, Glendowie College, Rongotai College, Westlake Girls High School.

The event follows a fleet racing format and teams are split into two qualifying pools of eight teams, with Pool A racing six qualifying races on Friday and Pool B racing six qualifying races on Saturday. The top five teams from each qualifying pool will then go through to the Gold Fleet for finals racing on Sunday, and the bottom three teams from each pool will race in the Silver Fleet, also on Sunday.

In an exciting development to this year’s event, a team from Sky Sport - led by esteemed yachting broadcaster and journalist Martin Tasker - will be out on the water filming the action over the weekend for a programme to be broadcast on Sky Sport in the near future. The filming is part of Yachting New Zealand’s partnership with the Sky Sport Collective, which aims to highlight secondary schools sport in this country.

Last year’s event was won by the Westlake Boys High School team helmed by Robbie McCutcheon, in what was his second time competing. Since his win, McCutcheon has gone on to join the RNZYS Mastercard Youth Training Programme and has already had a successful start to his Match Racing career, winning the Centerport Youth International Match Racing Championship in Wellington in February –

“The Harken National Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship is a really great event and provides a superb introduction to keelboat sailing. For me, it was probably the catalyst for getting me properly involved in keelboat sailing and pushed me to join the Mastercard Youth Training Programme at the RNZYS. Winning the event was awesome, and I look forward to seeing who gets the win this weekend – hopefully its Westlake!”

The event briefing is at 10am Friday at the RNZYS, with Racing set to begin at 11am. Racing on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 10am. All racing is to be completed in Elliott 7 Keelboats on the water right outside the RNZYS.

Results will be posted throughout the event here.

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