13 May 2021
The Westlake Boys High School ‘Green team’, made up of Brayden Hamilton, Mason Mulcahy, George Lee Rush, Cam McGlashan and Ben Brighouse, has won the 2021 Harken National Secondary Schools Keelboat Championship following a decisive win in the regatta’s final race.
The Gold Fleet race, held on 9 May, saw Hamilton and the Green Team take on eight others, including Westlake’s ‘Red’ team who finished in second place.
Red had begun the series with a bang, winning five of the six qualifying races on Friday, 7 May, to lead Green by nine points. But that gap was chipped away by Hamilton and his side to see the fraternal teams neck-a-neck score-wise moving into the final race.
With the best breeze of the day on the course, held at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Hamilton and his crew found form at the perfect time, building a considerable lead to sail away with the regatta, albeit on countback.
Ironically, Hamilton and his side hadn’t realised they’d won the regatta until well after, the helmsman saying, “it’s a bit disappointing to finish second in the end there we think, but well done to the other Westlake team” before learning a few seconds later he’d, in fact, won.
“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,” said Hamilton on the dock.
“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.”
In third place was Glendowie College, helmed by Sean Sun, who finished fourth on Saturday to find a spot in the final race.
Sun and his team of Benjamin Brewer, Aiden Beauchamp and Lydia Boydr showed beautiful boat handling skills in the light air on Sunday to round out the podium.
Earlier in the day, the Silver Fleet race was taken by Whangarei Boys High School, led by Josh Smith.
Full results of the regatta can be found here.