They were the only mixed team in the competition, but that didn't stop Huanui College students Jameela McLean Saad and Robert Bull triumphing in a unique competition on the high seas off Northland.

The pair have won the R Tucker Thompson 2016 Te Tai Tokerau Tall Ships Challenge, a competition for teams of two to complete a number of tasks aboard the tall ship as it sailed.

This year's Tai Tokerau voyage, sponsored by Northpower and Top Energy, was a great success, said Pauline Moretti, Youth Programmes co-ordinator for R Tucker Thompson.

The youngsters and their adult mentors aboard the ship were blessed with great weather as they sailed from Opua to Marsden Cove via The Hole in the Rock and Poor Knights Islands.


Ms Moretti said from day one, the group acted as a team, encouraging each other to leap off the ship and into the water on a swing rope tied to the course yardarm. This was a great precursor to the challenge of climbing the rigging and crawling out onto the lower top'sl yard to touch the end. This is challenging for anyone with a fear of heights.

"Everyone showed great motivation in learning the skills to sail a tall ship, and enjoyed a great snorkel at the Poor Knights Islands," Ms Moretti said. The teams competed for points by participating in challenges including first team in for morning swim; team with tidiest bunk; best brass polisher; rowing; first and biggest fish caught; latitude and longitude competition; knot challenge and phonetic alphabet; beach long jump; beach cleanup and a special R Tucker quiz.

Participants in this year's Tai Tokerau Tall Ships Challenge were: Jameela McLean Saad and Robert Bull - Huanui College, 1st; Wilson Hookway and Michael Mitchell - Kerikeri High School, 2nd; Beverly Thompson and Ashley Ujdur - Kaitaia College, 3rd; Nakita Corfield and and Calais Topia - Dargaville High School; Bailey Walker and Leah Whale - Pompallier Catholic College; Emma Gerrard and Deanne Guest - Okaihau College.