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Takapuna Grammar top qualifier at Secondary Schools Team Sailing

by Yachting NZ 5 Oct 21:15 PDT 6 October 2022
2022 NZ Schools Match Racing Championships - Algies Bay - October 2022 © NZSMR

The names of two first-time winners will be etched on the Secondary School Team Sailing National Championship trophies at the end of the week.

The two qualifying rounds were concluded at Algies Bay today after two-and-a-half days of rapid-fire and competitive racing, with the top three open teams and top three girl's teams moving through to represent New Zealand against the Australians in the Secondary Schools Interdominion Team Sailing Championships.

Takapuna Grammar went through as top qualifiers after the double round robin, along with Glendowie College and Napier Boys' High School. None of those schools have ever won the national title - in fact, only seven schools have their name on the open title since it was first contested in 1984.

There will also be a new winner for the girl's national trophy, with Nelson College for Girls, Whangarei Girls' High School and Christchurch Girls High School battling it out for the top three places.

The popularity of secondary schools team racing continues to thrive, with teams from as far afield as Mt Aspiring College (Wanaka) in the south and Kerikeri High School in the north among the 23- New Zealand teams this week. Six teams have travelled from the other side of the Tasman.

More than 250 races were sailed over the first two-and-a-half days and, with races typically taking about 10 minutes, it was action-packed. It can often be very intense, particularly at mark roundings, with the on-water judges regularly called into play as the three-boat teams look for the best finishing combination against their rivals.

"You can see the kids fist pumping and celebrating when they have come back from a losing position to win a really hard race," New Zealand Team Sailing Association development officer Jamie Catchpole said. "You can have comebacks in fleet racing but it doesn't feel like it does when you're part of a team.

"If you don't work hard as a team, you won't do well so it provides a really different type of sailing. The kids also love the opportunity to represent their school, which doesn't happen that often in sailing."

The battle for the top three places in the gold fleet came down to the wire, with a countback needed to separate three teams who finished level on 12 wins from their 18 matches in second place.

All of the results in their matches against other New Zealand teams in the Interdominion series will now decide the national championships.

"There hasn't been a runaway leader this year," Catchpole said. "The top of the gold fleet the whole way through qualifying was super-competitive. Even the top teams were dropping races to teams you wouldn't think so it's been really good racing to watch."

Racing in the Interdominions concludes on Friday and, while that's going on, the remainder of the teams compete for the silver fleet and bronze fleet trophies.

You can find all the results, including live scoring, nzteamsailing.co.nz/national-interdominion-championships-results-hub

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