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Sam Meech / Theland Racing Team win NZ National Keelboat Title

by Andrew Delves – RNZYS PR & Communications Manager 4 Oct 2020 05:22 PDT 5 October 2020
Harry Thurston Akaroa Sailing Club - Theland NZ Open National Keelboat Championship © Andrew Delves

Sam Meech and his Theland Racing Team - Alex Maloney, Brad Marsh, Matt Steven, Laurie Jury, and Roy van der Hurk – have won the 2020 Theland NZ Open National Keelboat Championship in Auckland.

After two intense days of racing in the MRX keelboats on the Waitemata Harbour, it was Meech and his professional team who pretty much led from start to finish, putting on a clinical display of keelboat racing and claiming his maiden national keelboat title.

With a record fourteen teams taking part this year, there was a plethora of talented teams from all over the country going toe-to-toe in what was a spectacular weekend of sailing. The weather gods turned it on, and we had two stunning days of sunshine blessing the race course.

Saturday saw some fairly light winds, but five races were stamped in the books by Colin Lucas and his experienced RNZYS race management team. Meech was in the lead after the first day, but the results were still pretty tight right across the leaderboard, meaning it was still all to race for on Sunday.

The breeze came to party on Sunday, providing for some incredibly close racing right throughout the day. The racing was so close, that after the eleventh-and-final race was sailed, our second and third place teams – Harry Thurston and Sean Herbert - finished on the same amount of points.

It was Harry Thurston and his team from the Akaroa Yacht Club in Christchurch, powered by Akaroa Glamping, who claimed second place as they had more race wins (two) compared to Herbert’s one race win, meaning Herbert and his RNZYS team finished in third.

But it was the Theland Racing Team who convincingly took home the spoils, winning four races and finishing second in three, a score card that shows they were very deserved champions.

Meech, an Olympic Bronze Medalist in the laser, isn’t used to having other people to talk to while he’s racing, but he says he loved every minute of it -

“I’m used to talking to myself all the time out on the water, so it was really cool to have the crew there with me for the weekend.”

“A huge thank you to RNZYS for putting it on, Theland for sponsoring it, and all the race officials for running the racing. I would also like to give a big thank you to my crew. For me it’s a completely different type of sailing, I haven’t really sailed with a spinnaker before so that was a huge learning curve. I had to put a lot pressure on the team to make decisions and I just concentrated on steering the boat around the course, but I loved it and had a really good time.”

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron would like to thank all of the sailors who were involved in making this the most successful Theland NZ Open Keelboat National Championship in history.


Final Standings:

1st Sam Meech – Theland Racing Team
2nd Harry Thurston – Akaroa Yacht Club
3rd Sean Herbert – RNZYS
4th Jordan Stevenson – RNZYS PP Vento Racing
5th Rob Heilkema – Bay of Islands Yacht Club
6th Nick Egnot-Johnson – RNZYS PP Knots Racing
7th Matt Bouzaid – RNZYS
8th Robbie McCutcheon – RNZYS Mastercard YTP
9th Sally Garrett – RNZYS
10th Niall Malone – RNZYS PP / Royal Irish Yacht Club
11th Peron Pearse – RNZYS Clockwork Racing
12th Megan Thomson – RNZYS PP 2.0 Racing
13th Daniel Bain – Bluff Yacht Club
14th Peter Sumich RNZYS

Full results on our website: click here

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