Rush ahead

George Lee Rush has won the 2021 Barfoot & Thompson Starling Nationals.

26 April 2021


Wakatere Boating Club’s George Lee Rush has officially taken victory in the 15th Barfoot & Thompson Starling National Championship following four days of consistent scoring in a range of conditions.

The result has marked Rush, a two-time winner of the New Zealand Optimist National Championships, as a serious, versatile sailor with potential to be one of the best in the country.  

Previous winners include Russell Coutts, Craig Monk, Dan Slater, Simon Cooke and Peter Burling – all  of who took this title in the early stages of their sailing careers.

Josh Hyde and Robbie Wooldrige, both of the Wakatere Boating Club, placed second and third respectively.

Five of the Top 10 sailors were members of the Wakatere Boating Club.

Nicola Hume of Murrays Bay Sailing Club was the top girl.


Across the course in the Silver Fleet, Zoe Mains of Glendowie Boating Club took first place after very consistent sailing in the final two days of sailing while Katie Mulcahy of Murrays Bay Sailing Club won the Development Fleet.

Conditions across the four days ranged from light and variable, to more than twenty knots with steep waves.

For the final day of racing the breeze built from 5–10 knots over the day.

During the third race, nine boats were blackflagged – ultimately influencing the top 20 standings.

“It was another shifty Kohimarama south westerly today,” said Starling Class Association spokesperson Jonathan Gravit.

“It tested everyone – even the best sailors in the Gold Fleet had ups and downs.”

“Thank you to the team at Kohimarama Yacht Club for a very good regatta,” added Gravit.

“Getting twelve races away in conditions like that is a credit to the race management. It was a fantastic fiftieth anniversary regatta.”

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