Taranaki son keeps Team NZ on toes
'Oh cripes, that was marvellous'ISOBEL EWING
An 83-year-old New Plymouth sailor gets the inside word on the America's Cup straight from the source.
Barrie and Geraldine Slyfield's son David, whose sailing career started at the New Plymouth Yacht Club, is fitness trainer for Team New Zealand.
After every racing day, Barrie gets a call from San Francisco.
"He rung me after that close race and said, what did you think of that dad? I said, 'Oh cripes, that was marvellous'."
David has been with Team New Zealand for 13 years, but has also worked on the successful Olympic campaigns of Lisa Carrington, Rob Waddell, Sarah Ulmer and Hamish Carter to name a few.
Barrie puts his son's success down to a slightly radical training approach, like running coach Arthur Lydiard.
"He goes about things in a different way.
"He's fortunate in having the gift in bringing the best out in people."
Despite the golden record, David has remained humble about his achievements.
"He's a non-skiter."
David started sailing at age 7 with the New Plymouth Yacht Club where he showed he had the mettle to go far, Barrie said.
"He was a particular type of person. Reliable, determined, dedicated to what he was doing at the time."
Barrie said the New Plymouth Yacht Club equipped David with all the skills needed for a job with Team New Zealand.
Secretary of the New Plymouth Yacht Club for 28 years, Deric Woodhead, said the club was a great training ground for budding sailors.
David Slyfield's success was an example of a young man who had stuck with the sport and got somewhere, he said.
"If the youngsters see these people sailing in the America's Cup and they want to do that one day, they have every opportunity to go to regattas and the club has the finances to help them compete."
Mr Woodhead said Barrie Slyfield was a "really classic" yachtsman. "His son has followed in his footsteps."
The other Taranaki man in Team New Zealand is grinder Chris McAsey, who comes from Hawera.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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