KERIKERI IS TOP SCHOOL IN NZ TEAM SAILING NATIONALS
Five days of intense racing showed Kerikeri High School to be the top team in the Secondary School Team Racing Nationals held this week at Lake Taupo. Around 230 sailors competing in 29 teams from schools as far afield as Kerikeri in the north and Timaru in the south descended on Taupo for the annual national regatta. Conditions were mixed with winds ranging from heavy on the first day to light on the Friday. Match races of around 5-10 minutes were contested between two teams of three boats over a series of three round robins. Points are awarded for each race and aggregated over the five day event, effectively filtering out the most winning team.
“Tauranga Boys’ College showed some good sailing skills to head the field after the first round robin but it was the fine team work of Kerikeri High that shone through in the end,” says NZ Team Sailing President Derry Godbert. “Kerikeri won this event in Auckland open waters last year and were deserved winners on the lake this year as well. Taken all round it was a great event. The young sailors showed the talent base of yachting in New Zealand is still high, the winds were sufficiently varied so that no one team was advantaged by body weight and the students enjoyed their time in Taupo, both on and off the water.”
Diocesan School for Girls finished seventh in the event and was awarded the Jim & Margaret Park Trophy for the highest ranked all-girls team.
The teams were pooled during the five days into three groups and a repecharge system employed to shift teams up and down between pools according to their race results. Napier Girls’ High School ended the week at the top of the Silver pool and New Plymouth Girls’ High School headed the Bronze pool.
“It was rewarding to see some teams make steady progress throughout the week,” says Lake Taupo Yacht Club Regatta Coordinator Paul Dawson. “Both Kerikeri and Dio performed better and better as the week evolved and this showed in the final outcome. But then so did a team such as Waimea College. The local derby went to Tauhara College who finished second in the bronze pool, two places ahead of Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, with both teams learning immensely from the racing, and from mingling with some of the best young sailors in New Zealand. The Club is pleased to have hosted the event and is thankful to the many volunteers and local supporters that made the regatta such a success.”
The final results are:
1. Kerikeri High School
2. Tauranga Boys’ College
3. Mahurangi College
1. Napier Girls’ High School
2. Christchurch Boys’ High School
3. Glendowie College
1. New Plymouth Girls’ High School
2. Tauhara College
3. Whangarei Boys’ High School
Lake Taupo Yacht Club
027-586-5226 Derry Godbert
NZ Team Sailing Association
Background on Secondary School Team Sailing
- Unlike normal fleet yacht racing where competition is for individual placings, team racing involves a team of 3 boats per race (each with 2 sailors) racing another team of 3 boats.
- Using similar modifications to the racing rules of sailing and tactics to Match Racing, the teams try to control the finishing order of boats so that the aggregate score of the team betters their opponent’s.
- Tactics such as covering, dial ups, luffing, mark traps, pass backs make for exciting racing for both competitors and spectators.
- The racing is quick fire, each racing last 5-10 minutes.
- Racing is umpired with 3 umpire boats following each race and imposing penalty turns. There is effectively no appeal process after the race. A race is decided on the water!
- The yachts (420’s) are all standardised in their set up so as to be equal and the teams swap out of boats after each race to ensure no set of boats perform better to any one team’s advantage. The sails are all brightly coloured in team sets, so racing makes an excellent and colourful visual spectacle.
- Races follow a Starboard S Course, always moving to the right from the start, with a windward beat, beam reach, a run, another beam reach, and a beat to a separate finish. Hence at any one time there may be three races spread out over different parts of the race course.
- First discussions and a pilot event sailing Sunbursts in 1981/2 at Wakatere. The first official regatta was in May 1984 and Secondary Schools Yachting Association NZ (now NZ Team Sailing Association) was formed.
- Subsequently an Inter Dominion contest was set up to be hosted alternatively by each country. The NZ Nationals are the trials for the school teams that represent NZ.
- The Country was initially divided into 17 regions, spread fairly evenly from North to South. Only the top teams from each region plus a team from the Cook Islands competed at the Nationals. Three Girl’s regions were added in 1994 bringing the total number of teams eligible at the Nationals to 21. Veteran Race official and Chief Umpire Jim Park and wife Margaret donated a special prize for the Girls.
- The first post school NZ team to go overseas went to Sydney in 1995 to finish 2nd in the Australian Opens. In 1997 most of the sailors in that team went to the ISAF team Worlds in Miami and came fourth. In 1999 and 2001 they went to Ireland and Czech Republic winning gold in each case. In 2003 the ISAF Worlds were held in Auckland and a NZ team came 3rd (at this stage, the current 420s replaced the Sunbursts).
- In 2007, the format was changed to open entry. The only qualification is that a team must attend a regional ranking regatta so as to demonstrate competent handling of the 420s, and assist with ranking the teams into fleets of ability so as to get as much even racing as possible. This raised the team numbers to 32 at one stage. There are 29 entries at Taupo in 2013 from around 45 school teams participating at present. With 8 sailors in each team (6 sailing, 2 reserves), it is one of largest Secondary School events nationally.