Teakuao “Tex” Framhein, 17, was the best placed of the local sailors, finishing ninth out of 53 in the Starling championships. He was in the top 10 in four of the nine races.
Peter Heays, executive member of the Rarotonga Sailing Club, said he believed it was the best placing ever for a Cook Islander sailing solo in any class at a major New Zealand regatta.
The other two locals, Max McDonald and Elizabeth Kenyon, also fared well in what must have been a daunting competition. Ten-year-old McDonald, sailing in the opti green fleet, had three top 10 finishes and came 14th overall in a field of 59.
Kenyon, 14, sailed in the opti silver division and also performed consistently well to finish 14th out of 53. Kenyon has sailing in her blood as she is the grand-daughter of Tom Neale, who found fame as the “Hermit of Suwarrow”.
Heays said all the youngsters had put in an “exceptional” performance.
Both McDonald and Kenyon were competing in a large regatta for the first time, having previously only sailed in much smaller fields. He said they both did “really well”.
He described the trio as “probably the best group of young individual sailors we have had”.
Heay also thanked the sailing club’s sponsors and paid tribute to the sailors’ coach Hamish Wyllie and manager John Gemmell, who both travelled to Auckland with the team.
For those inspired by the achievements of the young locals, there is the chance to get involved in the sport when the junior sailing club starts up again at Muri this Saturday.
Sailors and new recruits aged eight and over are welcome and should report to Sails at 7.30am.