Defending World Champions Kerikeri Cruising Club qualified as the first New Zealand team and Kohimarama Yacht Club second for the ISAF World Team Racing Championship to be sailed in January 2003.
The trials were held at Bayswater in Auckland with all teams at the trials having good practice regattas, especially the Open National Team Racing Championship in May and the New Zealand vs. Australia clash in June. The level of competition within New Zealand for the trials has increased significantly as a result.
Despite the strong winds during the first two days of the trials, two round robins were completed when the winds moderated on the Saturday afternoon. The first placed Kerikeri 1 Team was dominant throughout the round robin with most of their wins being comfortable resulting in qualification as NZL1 for the World Championship.
The sail-off between the teams from second to fifth was riveting on the Sunday as a moderate to fresh northwesterly allowed a full day of racing. The best of five sail off went to a 3-2 score-line in the semi-final and finals with all four teams having the opportunity to take the second spot as NZL2.
The first semi final between the third placed Kerikeri 2 and fourth placed Mahurangi teams had Kerikeri 2 up 2-0. However the Mahurangi overpowered the Kerikeri 2 team in the next three races as the Kerikeri 2 team failed to efficiently convert close races into a winning combination.
On the other side of the draw Bucklands Beach showed massive improvement to come from 2-0 down against Kohimarama to level at 2-2. The final race was within grasp for the Bucklands Beach team until the final part of the race where a Kohimarama boat managed to reach across the front of a Bucklands Beach boat on the final beat.
The decider for the second spot was close as Mahurangi and Kohimarama trading wins to be 2-2 setting up an exciting finale. The final race did not start well for Mahurangi with one boat completing penalty turns at the start. Despite this Mahurangi were in a 1-3-6 winning combination for most of the race as Kohimarama would try to use boatspeed rather than tactics to secure a winning combination. The race looked to be a win for Mahurangi as the boats came to the finish. However the first placed Mahurangi boat misjudged the finish line meaning Kohimarama finished in a 1-4-5 winning combination.