Yachtie eyes tilt at world title

22:17, Feb 13 2013

On a good day, David Brown has his carbon-fibre javelin boat scooting over the water at 25 knots, which equates to about 50kmh.

The Manawatu River estuary at Foxton is too small for the javelin because at speed it quickly runs out of water there.

He and crewman David Feek are the premier crew in the two-handed class of 14-footers in the country.

Not only are they defending national champions, after winning at Wellington last year, they won the country's oldest yachting trophy first contested in 1921, the Sanders Cup, at Napier last weekend.

It was an interprovincial competition and the two Davids were representing Manawatu.

"That always makes people laugh," said Brown, a Horizons Regional Council hydrologist. "The first question they ask is where do I sail."


He is a Horowhenua Sailing Club member but because of the political problems curtailing sailing on Lake Horowhenua, he competes in "regattas around the countryside".

Brown also won the Sanders Cup in 2009 at Gisborne, in his old fibreglass boat, Flying Circus. This time, in his 14th attempt, they had three wins, three seconds and one third placing in the seven races.

They are the only Manawatu yachties to have won the cup.

Two years ago Brown built a new hi-tech boat, Trailblazer. It cost him about $25,000, without labour costs because he built it himself of foam sandwich with a carbon-fibre layer over the top.

He and Feek will be defending their national title at the Bay of Islands at Easter, but for Brown, bigger things lie ahead in August.

He will be off to the europe-class world championships in a boat he has been sailing for 2 years.

"It is a small 1-handed boat which used to be a women's Olympics class."

Last month at Pigeon Bay near Christchurch he had to qualify in the top three from 15 boats at the national trials, and was second.

He expects to have to charter a boat in Denmark because of the excessive costs of shipping one there.

Two years ago he was runnerup in the South Pacific Javelin Championships south of Melbourne with crewman Craig Gilberd (Auckland).

Manawatu Standard