Last month, Sean Herbert of Manly, aged 16, joined a small, elite group of sailors as a two-time winner of the Starling National Championships (the John Peet Trophy).
Some big names in New Zealand sailing have previously won the trophy, including Russell Coutts, but the only others who have won twice are Rohan Cooke (1992-93), Tim Christiansen (1999-2000) and Peter Burling (2005-06). No-one has ever won it three times.
Sean, who is a Year 12 student at Wentworth College, also won the event last year.
There were 108 competitors and 10 races in the nationals, which were held in Wellington over the school holidays. The result came down to the wire as the top three sailors all had the same points. However on count back, since Sean had won five races, he became the overall winner.
Sean is not discounting an attempt at a third consecutive Starling win, saying he is “pretty proud” to have his name go on the record books.
He has been sailing since early 2010 after he completed a Learn to Sail course at Manly Sailing Club. He is also a champion in the O’pen Bic class and recently took part in Yachting NZ’s national youth clinics in the 29er.