Paremata on a roll in starling nationals
Paremata’s Callum Pritchard will represent Wellington at the National Starling Match Racing Championships in Auckland in January.
The trials were held on Pauatahanui Inlet on November 26 in light breezes that swung slowly from the southeast to northwest.
‘‘Setting the courses was challenging, for both the race committee and the competitors,’’ said Roger Cook, the principal race officer and Paremata coach. ‘‘Fortunately, it settled into perfect conditions for the knockout semifinals and finals’’.
The round- robin competition was hard fought with Paremata Boating Club’s Pritchard, Amberlee Faint-rafferty and Jonathon Francis tied at the top of the table. Clubmate Hannah Corke filled the last semifinal position.
Faint-rafferty and Corke are members of the 2011 Wellington Secondary Schools Match Racing champion Aotea College sailing team; Pritchard and Francis are from the up and coming Hutt International Boys’ School match racing team.
‘‘The skills these four sailors have learnt over winter in the Port Nicholson Yachting Trusts youth match racing programme was telling,’’ Cook said.
The pre-start manoeuvring and races in the semifinals were intense with Pritchard beating Faint- Rafferty and Francis defeating Corke.
Pritchard took an early 2-nil lead over Francis in the first-tothree finals, dominating Francis in the pre-starts and expertly protecting his lead in the race.
Francis fought back hard in the third race gaining a penalty over Pritchard and sailing away to a comfortable win.
But Pritchard was not down and despite collecting a penalty in the pre-start, managed to control the start to not lose any time, exonerating himself from the penalty and went on to win the 2011 trials.
Pritchard made it two-in-a-row for Paremata, with Josh Cook winning last year. He joins many of New Zealand’s great sailors ( such as Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Chris Dickson, Glen Sowry and David Barnes) who have excelled at junior match racing.
Duelling: Amberlee Faint-rafferty and Callum Pritchard tussle in the semifinal pre-start battles.