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Lion New Zealand has been busy since her refit and relaunch and doesn't look like slowing down any time soon.

The iconic boat returned to the water in March after a major 18-month refit which was so extensive Lion New Zealand returned virtually a new boat, complete with a new keel, new mast, new sails and new paint job.

It was the first major restoration since Lion New Zealand was launched by Sir Peter Blake in 1984 in preparation for the 1985/86 Whitbread Round the World Race, in which she eventually came second. Lion now regularly sails with Steinlager II, another of Sir Peter Blake's famous boats.

Pinehurst School had the privilege of being the first school to sail both boats since Lion's refit. Students from St Paul's College were the second college group to sail on Lion since her relaunch and, working with Blake, (previously known as Sir Peter Blake Trust), the NZ Sailing Trust delivered a school programme with an environmental leadership focus.

The students were not only introduced to sailing on board yachts that are significant to New Zealand's sailing history but they learned new things about the environment, what lies beneath the water's surface and why our oceans are so important.

Participants from St Pauls College showed their appreciation for the experience by singing and delivering a powerful haka for crew on their return to the Viaduct Harbour. They also sympathised with crew by presenting Lion skipper Andre with a coffee plunger - one piece of equipment missing after the relaunch.

Last year, 859 youngsters went sailing over 159 sailing days through the NZ Sailing Trust's school programmes. This year that's expected to be closer to 1400, over 205 sailing days, with Lion New Zealand back in service.

- Yachting New Zealand Media

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