Sailing has the finest of traditions at Westlake and has enjoyed wonderful success over the years. Did you know that at the Americas Cup in Perth in 1987 the two New Zealand 12 metre yachts were both helmed by Westlake Old Boys? This was the forerunner of things to come. Westlake Boys’ former students (Westlakers) have since then had an incredible sailing record of which the school can be extremely proud with our old boys reaching the highest levels in the sport be it in the Americas Cup, Whitbread and Volvo Around the World races, at the Olympics or in various other world championships. The latest champions from Westlake include the 2008 Olympic Board Sailing Gold medal winner, Thomas Ashley and Chris Steele, who has two world titles to his name, the Optimist title and the Splash title. The skipper of Team New Zealand in 2013 and Team Japan in the 2017 Americas Cup, Dean Barker is also a Westlaker.
Westlake participates in the Secondary School Sailing Championships every year and has produced an excellent record of 7 national titles, 4 times runner-up and 3 times third place. We also have 7 Inter-dominion titles to our name, the only secondary school sport where the national winners from Australia and New Zealand play off for southern hemisphere glory.
Secondary school sailing uses 4.20 yachts which are the international youth class and are a precursor to the Olympic 4.70 class. These dinghies are fast in all conditions and take considerable skill to sail in fresh conditions. Sailing at Secondary School Nationals is based on TEAM SAILING where each school has a three yacht team and races each school in the competition. In recent times there have been up to 33 schools and this has meant a seeding process has been introduced to break the fleet up into gold, silver and bronze. From the outset Westlake in the gold fleet has been up against the best sailing teams throughout New Zealand. Many regions hold trials where up to 70 schools across the country are involved in pre-selection.
Sailors need great knowledge of the rules and the ability to expertly helm their boats in very confined spaces. The competition has become very close in the last 5 years and so the team practises in all weather off Milford Beach several times a week. Just to launch the 4.20 yachts in a strong north-easterly off the beach takes timing and skill. Westlake looks forward to the continuing success of our sailors who have established such a fine tradition since 1962.
Teacher in charge: Mr P Davies