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ILCA Nationals: No peeking at the leaderboard proves to be a pleasant surprise for Pilkington

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 24 Jan 15:42 PST 25 January 2022
Greta Pilkington - 2022 ILCA6 NZ Womens Champion - Queen Charlotte Yacht Club - Picton NZ © Christel Hopkins

Greta Pilkington had a sense she was in the running to take out the title going into the last day of the ILCA (Laser) national championships in Picton but didn't really know.

The 18-year-old comes from the school of not checking results and standings during a regatta, an approach she's followed since her Optimist days, so knew she won the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) open women's title only after people started congratulating her.

"It was mostly excitement but also disbelief," Plikington admitted. "I couldn't really comprehend what I had done. I was in shock.

"I didn't really go in with any expectations. I just wanted to sail to the best of my ability and I probably sailed better than I thought I could."

Pilkington finished four points ahead of Annabelle Rennie-Younger to claim the open women's title, with defending champion Olivia Christie another one point behind in third. What made the result even more notable was the fact it was Pilkington's first nationals since graduating from the youth classes.

She's a sailor who has shown considerable promise, having come through the Aon youth programme, and would have represented New Zealand at the youth sailing world championships had it not been for Covid-19.

The battle for the open women's title was among the closest at the ILCA nationals hosted by the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club.

World champion Tom Saunders showed his class in the ILCA 7 fleet, winning seven of the 10 races to claim the title ahead of George Gautrey and Luke Cashmore.

Caleb Armit was even more dominant in the ILCA 6, winning nine of the 10 races in the 30-strong fleet to not only sit on top of the youth standings but the overall standings as well.

George Lane was second overall and first in the open division, with Dylan Forsyth second youth and Zach Stibbe third.

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