Auckland Grammar School wins 2023 Harken National Secondary School Keelboat Nationals

 In Club Racing, Major Regattas, Member Interest, News, Youth Training Programme

After a dramatic day of finals on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, the Auckland Grammar School team of Sean Kensington, Tom Pilkington, Rowan Kensington, George Pilkington and James Buckland Blair have claimed title as Champions of the Harken National Secondary Schools Regatta.

Sailed in front of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron at the base of the Harbour Bridge, Sunday’s finals started with light and variable winds that saw wind shifts throw curve balls on to the racecourse. It was in that first race that the eventual second placed Kristin School, skippered by Mattias Coutts, sealed their fate with one bad race, and regardless of two follow up race wins, they couldn’t catch Auckland Grammar.

Both Auckland Grammar and Kristin School dominated their respective qualifying fleets in racing on Friday and Saturday, and met for the first time in Sunday morning’s fickle first race. For Kristin School to win the regatta, they would have had to finish the final race with at least a one boat buffer over Grammar. Grammar ended up finishing every race today in second place, and overall, four points ahead of Kristin.

Auckland Grammar last won this prestigious title in 2015, and prior to that, only won the inaugural event in 2007. There will be a bright future ahead for this school sailing team, with two pairs of brothers, all with their own individual sailing accomplishments, and an expert coach in RNZYS’ previous Mastercard Youth Training Programme Manager Guy Pilkington.

Rounding out the Gold Fleet podium was the Macleans College team skippered by Tim McCulloch, who picked up the pace from the qualifying round and finished the regatta with their first and only race win.

In the eight boat Silver Fleet, William Poole and his crew from AGC Tauranga bounced back from an unfortunate OCS (over the start line early early) in qualifying, to place top of the table with two race wins, a second and third place finish in the finals. Also on the podium in the tightly-contested Silver Fleet were the teams from Glendowie College and Westlake Girls.

The 18 teams representing schools from Nelson to Kerikeri each competed in a day’s qualifying racing on Friday or Saturday, before being split to the top ten teams for the Gold Fleet and the remaining into a silver fleet for Sunday’s finals.

Events like this are made possible only with thanks to the support of the RNZYS’ long-term partners including Harken and a big team of volunteers.

For more information and pictures – visit the RNZYS’s social media channels: www.facebook.com/RNZYS/ – Instagram @rnzys

Final Results:

Race-by-race final results can be viewed online here

Gold Fleet

1. Auckland Grammar School – Sean Kensington
2. Kristin School – Mattias Coutts
3. Macleans College – Tim McCulloch
4. Kings College – Ben Tapper
5. Westlake Boys Green – Robbie Wooldridge
6. Green Bay High School
7. Kerikeri High School – Erin Lee
8. St Kentigern College – Lachlan Marker
9. Westlake Boys Red – Cam McGlashan
10. Whangarei Boys High School- Thomas Powel

Silver Fleet
1. AGC Tauranga – William Poole
2. Glendowie College – Ben Brewer
3. Westlake Girls High School – Daniella Wooldridge
4. Mahurangi College – Georgia Howlett
5. Nelson College for Girls – Freya High
6. Takapuna Grammar – Mischa Grotrian
7. Whangarei Girls High School – Ellie Petty
8. Rosmini College – Ben Stoffel

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