Sailing: Rippey shows who's boss in series

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Cole Rippey took out the North Island P Class champs.
Cole Rippey took out the North Island P Class champs.

Cole Rippey is the latest Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club member to make national headlines.

The 14-year-old, Year 9 Tauranga Boys' College student, took out the prestigious P Class title at the North Island Championships held in Tauranga.

It was not for the feint hearted with a 10 race series held over three days over Labour Weekend that attracted a top class field of 33 sailors from as far away as Wellington and the Bay of Islands.

Rippey took the title ahead of other notable young sailors in Leonard Takahashi-Fry (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) and Jackson Keon (Wakatere Boating Club).

Rippey sailed his P 989 "Bullet" and showed exceptional good form in the very shifty conditions to claim four wins. His worst result was fourth, when he fought back superbly after his tiller pulled out of the rudder leaving him with no steerage and stranded on the startline.

He clinched the victory with the biggest winning margin of the regatta to win the series with a race to spare.

"It was a pretty good achievement for me and rates right up there with anything else," Rippey said.

"The standard was high as the top five were all experienced and had been sailing the P Class for a long time."

The win comes after Rippey won the Winter Champs in Auckland last month in another class of boat, the Starling, which has been associated with much Tauranga Yacht Club success in recent years.

His older brother Trent won the under-19 Starling Nationals in Picton earlier this year to continue an extraordinary run of domination in the unique event by Tauranga sailors.

His win was the fifth time a Tauranga sailor has won the Starling Nationals men's event since 2005 and the 12th podium position overall. Peter Burling won in 2005 and 2006, Jason Saunders in 2007 and Thomas Saunders in 2009. Previously Tauranga's Nathan Bax won in 1996. Laura Hemingway (2008) and Molly Meech (2009) have won the women's race.

Meech, who started sailing in a P Class, presented Rippey with his P Class trophy. She had just returned home from Europe after winning the 49 FX skiff world championships.

Next up for Rippey is to try and win the Bay of Plenty trials this month.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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