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Halberg finalist eyes new challenges

Flagstaff Team

Out there… Westlake Boys student Blake McGlashan (left) and sailing partner Seb Menzies on a 29er, the boat they have mostly been racing in this year.

Young sailing star Blake McGlashan is set to compete in the 470 World Championships in Spain next month.

After being finalists in the emerging talent category at the Halberg sports awards, McGlashan and sailing partner Seb Menzies are taking another step up in the sport.

McGlashan says it was a great honour to be nominated alongside other top athletes at the Halbergs, and be recognised in front of all manner of celebrities.

“John Key, Richie McCaw… all of those people you see on TV were there,” he says.

McGlashan, 17, is in his final year at Westlake Boys High School and lives in Castor Bay. While juggling schoolwork and the responsibility of being this year’s sports captain, he is training regularly on the water near home.

Not only did McGlashan and Menzies win the 420 Open World Championship title in Newport, United States, in 2018, but also last year’s 420 Hempel Youth Sailing Championships in Gdynia, Poland, followed by silver in the 420 Open World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Yachting New Zealand talent development manager Geoff Woolley says, “We see a big future for them in the sport no matter what avenue they choose.

“We are very excited about their potential and where they are at in their development at such a young age.”

McGlashan’s love for sailing stemmed from his father, who grew up sailing and who has encouraged him to do his best in the sport.

“I always try and stay humble and not let anything get to my head. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing,” says McGlashan.

He is especially thankful to the quality coaches he has had growing up and is always keen to learn as much as he can on and off the water.

The strongly self-driven teen hopes he can continue to sail in competitions while attending university next year.

In the future he hopes to sail in the America’s Cup and the Olympics, following in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s most formidable sailors.

This article originally appeared in the 6 March 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.