By Christopher Reive
Wintec Journalism student
Campbell Stanton and Francesco Kayrouz have shown they are a sailing force to be reckoned with.
After performing above expectations at the European Optimist Championships in Wales earlier in the year, the Rosmini College duo have claimed first and second in yachting’s debut at the NZCT AIMS Games.
Stanton, who completed a near-perfect regatta with a total of 9.0 from the nine races, said he knew he was a chance of winning the Anchor-sponsored event but said there were at least 10 other boats that could have easily taken home the gold.
“I think we just clicked in on the day and that’s what helped us to get one and two,” Stanton said.
Kayrouz finished second with a total of 31.0 and lamented the fact yachting was not part of the tournament last year but thought it was the start of amazing things for the sport.
“It would’ve been great to have two shots at the AIMS sailing,” Kayrouz said. “I think it’s great that they’ve been able to get it in and there’s going to be lots of other kids that will be able to enjoy it now.”
Otumoetai Intermediate sailor James Barnett took the bronze medal in the Year 8 boys’ and overall standings.
Stanton won every race except one, while Kayrouz finished in the top10 in all but one race and made the top three four times.
The sailors were given a huge boost this week, with New Zealand star Blair Tuke on site. His 470 and Team New Zealand partner Peter Burling was due to present medals but needed some emergency dentistry after flying back in from overseas, though took a keen interest as the event was based on his home waters at the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club.
Stanton said it was amazing to know that some of the best sailors in the country were there to watch them sail.
“Peter and Blair are really our idols as they haven’t lost for three years straight,” Stanton said. “It’s kind of special knowing that someone that good is actually watching you and commenting on how you sail.”
The 12-year olds are now looking forward to the rest of their season, with Kayrouz particularly excited about the national championships in Napier, as he hasn’t sailed there before.
Although the waters will be unfamiliar, Kayrouz said it won’t put him at a disadvantage.
“Most of the fleet come down at the same time as you, so there’s normally only three or four locals there that actually have the local knowledge, so you’re not that far behind,” Kayrouz said.
Stanton added once you arrive at each venue, you can start to figure the conditions out.
“It’s all there on the day – like here [in Tauranga], there’s a strange tidal effect that I haven’t seen anywhere else,” Stanton said. “But you talk to the locals for 5mins, look at Google maps and you can figure it out. Then you go out there on the day and you look at the winds.”
The girls divisions saw six different schools going away with a medal to add to their tally. In the Year 7 girls’ category, Jessica Ninnes of Glen Eden Intermediate took home the bronze, second place went to Carrington Brady (Belmont Intermediate), with gold going to Kerikeri High School’s Helena Sanderson.
Greta Pilkington of Helensville School took out the Year 8 girls’ section, ahead of Sophia Fife (Murray’s Bay) and Rebecca Morgan (Remuera Intermediate).
Auckland schools also dominated the Year 7 boys’ division, with Monty Alderson (Saint Kentigern) taking the title ahead of Belmont’s Josh Schon, with Luke Cameron-Smith (Remuera) third.
It wasn’t just the winners celebrated during prizegiving either – awards were also given out to a select few sailors who displayed the spirit of the AIMS Games.
Harriet Rayner of Berkley Normal Middle School was awarded an award for her perseverance and display of love for the sport, while Nicholas Drummond of Bucklands Beach Intermediate was given an award for dedication.
Drummond capsized in magnificent fashion during racing on Monday morning. Once he had got back in his boat, he realised his drink bottle was still in the water, so he dived in after it, leaving his boat unmanned.
AIMS Games Chairperson Brian Driver was pleased with the way the sailors carried themselves throughout the regatta, and said the event exceeded expectations.
“Sailing personifies the spirit of AIMS,” he said.