New Zealand sailing fans write down the names of Ben Tapper and Finn Pye ... plenty will be heard about them in future.

The manner in which the Manly Sailing Club clubmates from Whangaparoa in Auckland conducted themselves on and off the water on the way to title glory at the Property Brokers Open Skiff Nationals off Napier during the past three days was top shelf.

Fourteen-year-old Tapper, who has been competing in the class for only two years, won the under-17 title in the regatta which attracted 61 entries. With two firsts and a sixth placing today, a second and a fourth on Saturday and two firsts and a fifth on Friday, Tapper beat Jack White from the Marakura Yacht Club in the South Island by four points for the title.

Although these were his first Open Skiff Nationals, Tapper competed in the European Championships in Germany last year and finished third. In July he will travel to Sardinia in Italy for the world championships.


Last year he finished 19th in the under-17 division at the Auckland-hosted world championships which doubled as the national championships. This was the third time King's College Year 10 student Tapper had competed in the class off Napier and he pointed out the 10-12 knot breezes were favourable.

"Something clicked to make me do well. Jack was pushing me hard in the last couple of races too," Tapper said.

"Hopefully I can get a top-five finish in Sardinia," Tapper said.

He heaped kudos on the high level of coaching he received from Kiwi yachting great Sir Russell Coutts and Aaron Hume-Merry, the sailing coach for the Sir Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation. Tapper ranked sailing, cricket and rugby as his main sports.

Pye won the under-13 title by one point from clubmate Kosta Gladiadis. He recorded sixth, second and 12th placings today, a third and second yesterday and two thirds, a first and eighth placings on Friday.

The 11-year-old who first sailed when he was four will start his Year 8 studies at Whangaparoa High School this year after attending Kerikeri High School last year.

"This move will give me more sailing opportunities," Pye said.

He attributed good starts and correct use of body weight as the keys to his success in Napier. Pye finished 16th at last year's Auckland-hosted world championships and he will be aiming for title honours in Italy.


"I've improved heaps since last year," he added.

Winston Liesebach did the best of the host club sailors in the under-17 section with a fifth placing. Carl Marshall did the best of the Napier competitors in the under-13 division with an eighth placing. Jed Potbury was 15th and Tom Faulknor 17th.

A three-strong development fleet was also staged and Napier Sailing Club's Jade Pedersen won this title with a four-point victory over Point Chevalier Sailing Club's Taane Rhynd.

Event director Brook Faulknor was rapt to get nine of the 10 scheduled races completed. A lack of wind forced one of Saturday's three races to be cancelled.

"We had three magnificent races to complete the regatta which was raced in good spirit."

"A lot of these sailors have big careers ahead of them and many of them will come across each other again in a variety of classes. The friendships these sailors have made here will last for a long time.

"Yes there was some serious racing on the water but they had plenty of fun too. They all had big smiles at the end and they were all doing bombs off the wharf ... it was certainly an enjoyable time for everyone," Faulknor added.