Even the blipping and chirping dolphins were playing the right tune for the Napier Girls' High School at the height of the Interdominion School Teams' Sailing Championship at Algies Bay, near Wakworth, last week.

All the talented NGHS sailors had to do at the four-day regatta, it seems, was move in time with the rhapsody in blue from the frolicking sea mammals.

Did they ever. The Zarah Otto-captained NGHS team claimed the school's only second Interdoms bragging rights, breaking a drought dating back to 2009 when team manager and co-coach Philipp Otto also was at the helm.

On Thursday, NGHS etched their names on the Open Trophy, the Girls' Trophy as well as the Interdominion Trophy (an overall title awarded after points from all teams from Australia and New Zealand were combined).

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It was ultra-marine jazz, as it were, as Zarah Otto lauded fellow skippers Nina Mannering and Dani Bartelheimer as well as crew members Ana Murphy, Nina Cameron, Sophie Turner and younger sister Amelia Otto.

"It was really good to go there and have a high level of competition with the others who really challenged us and made us work for it," said the 17-year-old captain, revealing there was little separating NGHS from the rivals in the first three days of competition.

Said Philipp Otto: "The girls trained hard in the weeks leading up to the regatta and focused on boat handling, speed and tactics in various conditions."

Race starts had been a key component of each training session to tame the 10 to 15-minute-long races involving the three top-ranked open and boys' and girls' teams from Australia and New Zealand who compete every year, alternating venues between countries.

He said the conditions were "near perfect", breezy up to 15 knots on the first day, then light and finally moderate for the 12 teams last week.

"Teams who were able to contest across a wide wind range rose to the top of the table," Philipp Otto said, revealing NGHS have had stranglehold on the New Zealand nationals but the Interdoms had proven elusive since 2009.

The Interdoms regatta pits two teams each of three boats (two-man 420 dinghies) against each other. It is raced at furious pace, demanding superior boat handling skills and rapid tactical decisions.

Zarah Otto said on the last day NGHS pulled through on the platform of the dolphins' spectacular leaps which punctuated their electric performance. Motivation was high for the seven round-robin races that yielded 210 races after four days.

"That was pretty amazing because we were waiting for the winds [to pick up] so we were out on the rescue boats quite close to them [dolphins] and they were swimming under the boats and everything," said the teenager, who had encountered Orca in Napier but never dolphins.

One of several dolphins entertains crews waiting for winds to pick up at Algies Bay, near Warkworth, last Thursday. Photo/supplied
One of several dolphins entertains crews waiting for winds to pick up at Algies Bay, near Warkworth, last Thursday. Photo/supplied

It gave Otto immense pride to know it was the dominance of NGHS that gave the New Zealand, combined boys' and girls' schools, the cutting edge over their Aussie rivals to lift the Interdominion Trophy.

"It was really, really cool. It's an amazing feeling so I'm very proud of the team."

She also thanked co-coaches Nigel Mannering, Nina's father, as well as Napier club mentor Orestes Reyes.

NGHS team hope to compete at the next Interdominion championship at Sandy Bay Sailing Club, Hobart, from July 13-19 next year provided they make the cut at the New Zealand National Championship in April.

"Yes, that'll be very cool," said Otto, suspecting the majority of her teammates have not competed in an overseas regatta before.

Confidence is high among the members of the defending national schoolgirl champions who claimed that bragging rights last April also at Algies Bay.

It helps the schoolgirls are all member of Napier Sailing Club where they are able to develop a sense of cohesiveness at myriad regattas even before they enrol at NGHS.

"I think it's just the team feeling, which has been really positive, that's been awesome and it helps us quite a bit."

The time spent honing their skills for fours hours every Wednesday in intense training sessions after school is imperative to that success, as it is club sailing four days a week in summer.

The girls also join Napier Boys' High School counterparts for training at the Ahuriri waterfront.

NGHS sailing team Dani Bartelheimer (left), Zarah Otto (captain), Sophie Turner, Nina Cameron, Ana Murphy, Nina Mannering, Amelia Otto and co-coach/manager Philipp Otto. Photo/supplied
NGHS sailing team Dani Bartelheimer (left), Zarah Otto (captain), Sophie Turner, Nina Cameron, Ana Murphy, Nina Mannering, Amelia Otto and co-coach/manager Philipp Otto. Photo/supplied

Father Philipp, a science teacher at NGHS, took them under his wings, as he did with 13-year-old Amelia, too.

"When I came to high school I was already into sailing so I knew all the other teammates who are also member of the club, which is cool," says Zarah Otto, a former Reignier Catholic School and Taradale Intermediate pupil.

Sailing has been part of the Otto family genre. Zarah followed, as an 8-year-old, in the footsteps of elder sister, Brianna, now 19 and pursuing a degree in biomedicine in the first year at Victoria University.

While he "coaches all the way to the sailing club", a jovial Otto said their father was a great chauffeur and consolidated a family environment for the siblings, as Nigel Mannering did for his daughter.

"I sail a lot with Amelia as well and she's my crew a lot of the time," said Zarah Otto, who coaches 8- to 12-year-olds in her selfless bid to give something back to the club.

The girls' accomplishments will, no doubt, be recognised at the NGHS assembly when classes resume next week.

INTERDOMS DETAILS

Schoolgirls: 1st Napier GHS, 2nd Ascham, 3rd New Plymouth GHS, 4th Diocesan, 5th Fahan (Australia national champions), 6th Canberra.

Open: 1st Westminster (first Australian team to win it in New Zealand; Jimmy Spithill's team was unsuccessful in 2003), 2nd The Friends' School (Hobart), 3rd Auckland Grammar, 4th Westlake Boys, 5th Brighton, 6th Christchurch.