Westlake shines on final day of Harken National Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship

 In Major Regattas, News
All smiles on board Westlake Green – Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS

The Westlake Boys High School ‘Green’ team made up of Brayden Hamilton, Mason Mulcahy, George Lee Rush, Cam McGlashan and Ben Brighouse have won the 2021 Harken National Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship after coming up in the clutch to win the decisive final race of the regatta at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Heading into the final gold fleet race of the day it was all Westlake Boys High School, with Hamilton’s team, as well as the other Westlake Boys team helmed by Josh Hyde, just needing to beat the other over the line to claim the regatta honours. 

Westlake Green sailing away to win – Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS

With the best breeze of the day on the course the stage was set for one team to head back to the North Shore with bragging rights over their fellow school mates. Hamilton and his crew found form at the perfect time, and after coming second in the third race they carried their momentum into the final race, building a huge lead to sail away with the regatta – albeit on countback.

As the results were so tight, Hamilton and his team didn’t actually know they had won when they crossed the line – “It was a great regatta and we had a lot of fun, it’s a bit disappointing to finish second in the end there we think, but well done to the other Westlake team.”

However, seconds later the news came in that Hamilton and his team had in fact won the regatta on countback, instigating huge cheers and celebrations on board. 

Winners – Westlake Green – Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS

Speaking on the dock, Hamilton was thrilled to get the win – “We were so stoked when we found out we had won the regatta! It was a great competition out there and to come down to countback and the final race shows how close the racing was. The Race Committee did a great job getting the racing completed in light conditions today.  A big thanks to my team, our school, and to the RNZYS for putting on a fun regatta.”

Westlake Red – Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS

The result was somewhat of an upset because the Westlake Red team led by Josh Hyde had the better of their school counterparts in the qualifying series on Friday, winning all but one of the six races to qualify nine points ahead of Hamilton’s team. However, that didn’t count for anything on Sunday, with Hamilton sailing the boat superbly, especially in that final race, to go on and lift the trophy. 

One of the big improvers was the team from Glendowie College helmed by Sean Sun who finished fourth on Saturday to sneak in and claim the final place in the Gold Fleet. Sun and his team of Benjamin Brewer, Aiden Beauchamp and Lydia Boydr then showed beautiful boat handling skills in the light airs on Sunday to round out the podium in third overall. 

Glendowie College – Image (c) Andrew Delves RNZYS

Earlier in the day the Silver fleet were in action where the Whangarei Boys High School team led by Josh Smith cruised to victory with three wins and a second-place finish. 

The RNZYS would like to thank the eighteen talented secondary school teams who travelled from all around the country to attend this regatta, our great sponsors Harken, as well as the slick Race Management team led by the watchful eye of club stalwart Brian Trubovich. The RNZYS looks forward to welcoming all teams back in 2022. 

Full results HERE

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