Rush, the 14-year-old from the Wakatere Boating Club, previously competed in 2017 and placed 13th overall. This year he stormed out of the gate, won three of the first four races and never looked back. Rush finished with the low score of 32 points in the 12-race regatta and had the championship wrapped up before the final race on Hamilton Harbour.
“It feels great to win,” said Rush at the awards ceremony. “When I got here, I didn’t expect to win. And then after the first day I thought it was possible.”
VIEW RenRe Junior Gold Cup Final Results
Bermudian Sebastian Kempe placed second overall after a strong final race on Hamilton Harbour. Heading into the race Kempe was tied with Matheo Capasso of the Cayman Islands at 49 points, but Kempe placed third in the race to Capasso’s 13th to place second while Capasso finished third.
Kempe also won the Dick Kempe Memorial Trophy, awarded to the top Bermudian sailor.
Fourth place was won by Yanne Broers of the Netherlands, who was also the top girl skipper in the fleet of 34 entrants from 14 nations, which included 20 Bermudians. More than 30 percent of the fleet were girls, and there were four first-time entries from the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Israel and Peru.
Winner of the Peter N. Cooper Memorial Trophy for the Harbour Race on Saturday was Maayan Shemesh from Israel. Shemesh represented Israel’s first participation in the regatta that invites one youth sailor from foreign countries.
The top Bermudian girl was Laura Hupman in 11th place.
A total of 12 races were held, with 11 being conducted on Great Sound between Wednesday and Friday and the traditional final race on Hamilton Harbour on Saturday, between the semifinals and final of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
“Although the scores don’t reflect it, this year’s regatta was one of the closest on the water with a very talented group of sailors,” said event chairwoman Dede Cooper. “The wind was consistently between 11 and 16 knots throughout the week with some tricky, shifty conditions. George’s consistency is what really paid off. It’s a pleasure and privilege to give so many youth sailors and opportunity to compete at this boutique world class regatta.”
Rush was the story of the week. His four first-place finishes and two seconds meant that he held a 17-point lead going into the final race. Besides being spectacular on the water, he was equally entertaining at the awards ceremony.
In his speech he thanked Cooper saying, “That’s a lot to organize.” Then he brought down the house when he spoke of his parents.
“I also have to thank mom and dad. Mom had to stay home and work all week while dad got to come to Bermuda and drink rum,” he said to uproarious laughter. “But they both always help me out. They got me started in sailing and hopefully this is the start of something for me.”
RenRe Junior Gold Cup Final Results
1. George Lee Rush, NZL, 32.0
2. Sebastian Kempe, BER, 52.0
3. Matheo Capasso , CAY, 62.0
4. Yanne Broers, NED, 71.0
5. Maria Gracia Vegas Trivelli, PER, 75.0
6. Christian Ebbin, BER, 78.0
7. Tadeo Funes de Rioja, ARG, 85.0
8. Ma'ayan Shemesh, ISR, 98.0
9. Magnus Ringsted, BER, 99.0
10. Eddie Reid, AUS, 103.0