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George Lee Rush wins Starling Nationals 2021

by Zoe Hawkins 23 Apr 00:38 PDT
George Lee Rush, winner of the 2021 Starling Nationals © Joshua McCormack

Wakatere Boating Club’s George Lee Rush took out the national championship today in the fiftieth edition of the Starling Class National Championships.

He emerged from racing with a consistent series of scores on the board, despite the wide range of conditions.

With the win George, a two times past winner of the New Zealand Optimist National Championships, has marked himself as a serious, versatile sailor who can stand out amongst the best in the country. He joins ranks with Russell Coutts, Craig Monk, Dan Slater, Simon Cooke and Peter Burling who each also won this title in the early stages of their sailing careers.

Josh Hyde, also of Wakatere Boating Club, placed second, and Robbie Wooldridge of Wakatere Boating Club third. Nicola Hume of Murrays Bay Sailing Club was the top girl.

All up, Wakatere Boating Club had five of the top ten sailors, testament to a very strong sailing programme at the club.

Across the course in the Silver Fleet, Zoe Mains of Glendowie Boating Club took first place after very consistent sailing in the final two days of sailing, while Katie Mulcahy of Murrays Bay Sailing Club won the Development Fleet.

Conditions across the four days ranged from light and variable, to more than twenty knots with steep waves. For the final day of racing the breeze built from five to ten knots over the day.

“It was another shifty Kohimarama south westerly today,” says Starling Class Association spokesperson Jonathan Gravit. “It tested everyone – even the best sailors in the Gold Fleet had ups and downs.”

While most of the day was straightforward, the third race saw nine boats black flagged. While this didn’t affect the ultimate outcome on the podium, it had ramifications in the top twenty.

“Thank you to the team at Kohimarama Yacht Club for a very good regatta,” says Jonathan. “Getting twelve races away in conditions like that is a credit to the race management. It was a fantastic fiftieth anniversary regatta.”

The Barfoot & Thompson Starling Nationals 2021 were hosted by Kohimarama Yacht Club and ran from 18-22 April 2021.

Details and results tables are at www.kyc.org.nz

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