There was drama on the high seas when Kerikeri High School's sailing team successfully defended their secondary schools national title against St Kentigern College during the school holidays.
Teams from throughout New Zealand represented their schools at Algies Bay in the championships.
The races involved a high level of general sailing skills and intense tactical match-racing skills which the Kerikeri team had in spades.
Captained by O'Shea Butler, the team of James Ayr, Matt Bindon, Harris Bindon, Sam Brierley, Alex Bryning, Shae Donahoe and Klaus Ohlendorf battled through blustery conditions with one day of racing cancelled because of strong winds.
This put the Kerikeri team under pressure after their tentative start in the first round robin but outstanding team work saw them come from behind to take three consecutive wins from St Kents in the finals and secure their place as national champions for 2011.
St Kents had to settle for second place with last season's rivals Tauranga finishing third.
The three teams have now qualified to represent New Zealand at the Interdominion Championships in Port Lincoln, South Australia, in October.
There they will face off against the top three Australian teams.
Kerikeri will take a short break from training to focus on fundraising before they head back out on the water to prepare for October.
The team would like to thank teacher-in-charge of sailing Carol Clemmet, manager Wendy Butler, coach Reuben Corbett and Derry Godbert for all their support.
- © Fairfax NZ News