Andrew McKenzie joined an elite group when he won his third consecutive New Zealand Laser national title in Christchurch yesterday.
The 22-year-old, who sails out of the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, became only the third person to win three consecutive New Zealand Laser national titles since the first in 1974.
Andy Maloney (2013-15) and Andrew Murdoch (2009-12) are the only others to win three in a row (Murdoch won the first of his five in 2006). Five others (Russell Coutts, Hamish Pepper, Peter Meo, Peter Fox and Australia's Michael Blackburn) have won three national titles but not consecutively.
McKenzie won both races in the open fleet on the final day at the Naval Point Club Lytellton to win by 15 points over George Gautrey (Muritai Yacht Club). Gautry picked up a start-line disqualification in the final race, his second of the regatta which bumped out his overall score, but he did secure the under-21 trophy.
Alistair Gifford (Queen Charlotte Yacht Club) held off Matthew Kempkers (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) to claim third overall.
"I couldn’t make it to Miami for the first World Cup of the year but I'm more than happy to secure my third national title down south this week," McKenzie wrote on Facebook. "Preparations are well under way for the upcoming European season."
New Zealand's top two Laser sailors, Sam Meech and Tom Saunders, are competing at the year's first World Cup regatta in Miami.
Josh Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) continued his domination of the Laser Radial class, winning both races on the final day to finish unbeaten in the regatta. It was a fine performance by the under-17 Laser Radial world champion who was too good for his opposition this week.
Second on countback was world Laser masters champion Scott Leith (Murrays Bay), whose third and second yesterday was just enough to overhaul women's title winner and clubmate Susannah Pyatt.
Annabel Rennie-Younger, also from the strong Murrays Bay squad, had a consistent series to capture fourth overall ahead of youngsters Albert Stanley (Worser Bay Boatingh Club) and Luke Cashmore (Wakatere Boating Club) who both showed a lot of promise with strong series overall.
In the tight battle for the women's youth division, Elly Warren's results yesterday were just good enough to take the title, sneaking past Samantha Stock who had led from day one.
In the masters, Andrew Dellabarca (M - Worser Bay) scored a 2/1 yesterday to secure the title ahead of Ian Baker (AM - Torbay Sailing Club), who again showed his strength upwind in the sea breeze to take out race nine and be close to Dellabarca again with a second in race 10.
It was a close battle behind these two with the order of the next six masters all depending on the result of the last two races. Master Rob Woodward (Worser Bay) edged the pack to take out a well-deserved third ahead of a rapidly-improving Kent Copplestone (AM, Rotorua Yacht Club) in fourth and Pupuke Boating Club's Tony Nicholson fifth. Nick Page was the leading Grand Master in seventh overall.
In the masters Radial, Ed Tam (M - Worser Bay Boating Club) put the contest beyond doubt with two bullets yesterday to win from local grand master Hamish Atkinson. In third was Jenny Armstrong (M) from Ravensbourne Boating Club, competing in her first Laser masters nationals and certainly showing the fleet she will be a force in future.
Mike Knowsley (M, Tamaki Yacht Club) had a consistent day to hold fourth overall from Hamilton's Werner Hennig. Another successful Radial master yesterday was Werner's clubmate Scott McDougall, who took out the major spot prize of a new sail thanks to Dan Slater at the Watershed.
Manly Sailing Club will host next year's national championships.
Results and standings after the final day of the Laser national championships at Naval Point Club Lyttelton yesterday:
1st: Andrew McKenzie (Royal Akarana Yacht Club) 1 1 1 (2) 1 2 1 1 1 1 - 10 points
2nd: George Gautrey (Worser Bay Boating Club) 3 (10 UFD) 2 1 2 1 2 2 10 UFD 2 - 25 pts
3rd: Alastair Gifford (Queen Charlotte Yacht Club) 2 2 3 (4) 4 3 3 4 3 4 - 28 pts
Laser Standard Masters
1st: Andrew Dellabarca (M - Worser Bay Boating Club) 1 1 (2) 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 - 13 pts
2nd: Ian Baker (AM - Torbay Sailing Club) (8) 6 1 2 1 4 1 1 2 1 - 19 pts
3rd: Rob Woodward (M - Worser Bay Boating Club) 7 DPI 1 4 4 4 5 (9) 3 4 5 5 - 41 pts
1st: Josh Armit (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) (1) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 - 9 pts
2nd: Scott Leith (Murrays Bay) 2 8 2 3 2 (17) 2 2 3 2 - 26 pts
3rd: Susannah Pyatt (Murrays Bay (31 UFD) 2 3 2 3 4 3 3 2 4 - 26 pts
Laser Radial Masers
1st: Edmund Tam (M - Worser Bay Boating Club) 2 4 2 2 1 (8) 1 1 1 1 - 15 pts
2nd Hamish Atkinson (GM - Naval Point Lyttelton) 1 1 3 3 2 (7) 3 3 2 3 - 21 pts
3rd: Jenny Armstrong (M - Ravensbourne Boating Club) 6 (10) 1 1 7 4 2 2 3 2 - 28 pts
Full results can be found here