Yachting: Teamwork key to brothers' NZ Sunburst title

Ben (left) and Jake Hawker with the New Zealand Sunburst yachting trophy they won on  Otago...
Ben (left) and Jake Hawker with the New Zealand Sunburst yachting trophy they won on Otago Harbour yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Dunedin brothers Jake and Ben Hawker sailed away with the New Zealand Sunburst title yesterday.

The Hawkers, aboard Embers, dominated the three-day regatta on Otago Harbour to become the first all-Dunedin crew to win the title.

The Macandrew Bay brothers won five of the eight races and had a second place and two sixths.

Bruce Yarnton (Good News), from the Wakatere club, was second overall with a first, two seconds, a third, a fourth, a fifth and a seventh.

John Kliffen (Plum Crazy), from Worser Bay, was third with a first, two seconds, a fourth, two sixths and a seventh.

Pleasant Point yachtsman Craig Tomlinson, on Meindad, won the handicap title.

Jake (25) and Ben (22) Hawker benefited from local knowledge but their main asset was team-work, Yachting New Zealand regional support representative Graeme Wall said.

''They've sailed together quite a while and they know each other well,'' Wall said.

''You've got to be consistent in a regatta like this, and they prepared the boat well and approached it as a campaign.''

The Hawkers had never previously won the title but had finished as high as second.

Yachts struck blustery conditions over the weekend, when six races were held. Twenty-nine yachts started the regatta and only 19 were still going by the end of the third race. One suffered a broken boom and another a snapped mast, Wall said.

The two races yesterday were held in much better conditions.

''It was a perfect day. We had nice sunshine, and 8-10 knots. Really nice,'' Wall said.

The event will return to the North Island next year and Wall said the host club, once chosen, would have to meet the standard set by the Port Chalmers club over the weekend.

''It was a very good regatta, on the water and on shore. The clubhouse was humming.''

Dunedin's Hayden Whitburn, aged 14 at the time, won the Sunburst title in 1999 as crew for a Canterbury captain.

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