Kiwis Team Racing are three-time winners of the Kerikeri-hosted open teams racing national championships which concluded yesterday.
After three days of racing, the team of Frankie Dair, Maeve White, Dylan Whichman, Emilie Jones, Reuben Corbett and Sean Herbert took out the team's third consecutive title ahead of a young TBC team - Seb Menzies, Blake McGlashan, Tom Mulcahy, Cam McGlashan, Mason Mulcahy and Andre Van Dam.
Teams racing is done in sailing dinghies called 420s with a minimum 130kg combined weight for the two-person crew. The format saw two sets of three boats race against each other at a time in a battle of not only speed, but tactics.
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The 14-team competition was stacked with the country's best sailing talent, many of whom hail from Kerikeri. The town's own Blair Tuke, Brad Farrand, Andy Maloney - all international sailors - were a formidable trio.
Peter Burling, Sam Meech, Alex Maloney, Molly Meech, Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson, who were all named in the New Zealand team to sail at the Tokyo Olympics, also competed.
Tuke, an Olympic gold medalist and Emirates Team New Zealand crew member, finished sixth alongside Inlet teammates Jesse Tuke, Andy Maloney, Noah Malpot, Brad Farrand and Rhys Nichols.
Apart from the training he did on the 49ers in Kerikeri about twice a year, it was the 30-year-old's first time competing in his hometown for about 10 years.
"It's awesome here sailing in the inlet, right where I first started to sail," he said.
"The talent that's up here sailing is pretty impressive and to have those old memories as well as good competition is really cool."
Tuke was approached to enter the competition by Kerikeri sailing buddy and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron coach Reuben Corbett, as the Covid-19 pandemic had put many of Tuke's plans on ice.
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Had the pandemic not happened, Tuke said he would likely be on his way to the United Kingdom from Japan as part of Team New Zealand.
Tuke said the competition was a perfect opportunity to further connections with young sailors and refresh their skills in a racing format Tuke hadn't competed in for more than a decade.
"For all of us in the Olympic team and the wider NZ sailing team, there's not much competition going on now so events like this, although it's not our core discipline, it also widens your sailing skills and makes you a better sailor."
With the America's Cup and Olympic Games set for next year, Tuke said things would be very busy but he hoped to be involved in the local competition in the future.
Riverview School pupil Alex Jones, 9, was the youngest competitor in this year's teams. The sailing fanatic said seeing such world-class sailors inspired him.
"It does, it really does [inspire me]. I'm seeing all these different sailors, different boats," he said.
The Bay of Islands Yacht Club member said it was great to meet so many of New Zealand's top sailors and hoped he could get more experience in the future.
"I like experiencing all the different boats and how they sail, it's really fun."
Kerikeri sailing stalwart Derry Godbert, who acted as a regatta umpire over the three days, said it was great to see Kerikeri's top sailors return to inspire the next generation.
"It's a young, up-and-coming generation which is really keeping the boat afloat as it were, that's the excitement."
The 86-year-old, who had been involved with Kerikeri sailing for 46 years, hoped the regatta would encourage many sailors who had left school to stay with the sport.
"It depends on volunteers, it depends on organisation, but [the regatta] brings in a much wider range of sailors than just fleet racing."
Regatta organiser and Kiwis Team Racing member Reuben Corbett said the racing format led to a more social and fast-paced competition which attracted many sailors of different talent levels, genders and ages.
With a large contingent of the country's best sailors in attendance, Corbett said the effect on the young sailors was clear.
"Definitely some of the younger sailors out there were star-struck."
Corbett commended the young TBC team who were able to fend off some strong competition from experienced sailors to reach the final.
While the timing had been fortunate in getting so many top sailors to compete, Corbett said the fact that none of the Team New Zealand or Olympic team sailors reached the top four would encourage them to return in the future.