I started sailing in a P class yacht having joined Kohi Yacht Club. Outgrowing my P class I bought an OK dingy which I sailed for fun! Javelins came next and racing off the Tamaki Yacht Club. My next excursion was in the M classes out of Akarana. Next was Keelers. Sailing out of BBYC I sailed on a Farr 727, moving on to a Ross 930, Elliott 1050, an orphan Australian 10.3 carbon Fibre flyer and Young 88’s at present.

I got into coaching at BBYC, though I did help at Kohi when I had my OK – I used to coach back then. From BBYC I moved to NBYC.

I have completed Gold Cup Series (winning twice in Gale Force – an Elliott 1050), Tauranga Race a number of times (winning once in Gale Force), and Coastal Classic a number of times. Two delivery voyages, one from Nelson to Auckland up the East Coast, and one from Lyttleton to Auckland – also East Coast.

Why coach?  I have had so much fun over the years – on the water and under the water diving – that I would love for some of my experience and enthusiasm to motivate some of today’s kids, and maybe their parents, into enjoying what I know to be a great sport – whether for relaxation or on the competitive stage.

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but I believe that a little knowledge of sailing can kindle a flame that may smoulder or may burst forth into a raging fire. Hopefully, I can impart enough knowledge to allow people to see sailing for the true challenge it is.

The funniest moment I remember was in my Javelin days. A Javelin is a 14-foot skiff. In the days when I sailed them they had a single trapeze for the crew. I distinctly remember enjoying a reach towards Mission Bay with me on the wire and the boat really humming. I was concentrating hard, my eyes firmly fixed on the way ahead when I heard a splash behind me. I thought nothing of it as the boat kept going, unfortunately it slowly started to lean over to port and kept going, at this time I turned to find my skipper 50 meters behind in the water laughing his head off! The hiking strap had broken and he had fallen out! Needless to say the boat capsized.

I remember the beautiful mornings in the Hauraki gulf, on Gold Cup races, as the sun came up.

There were magic times in Coastal Classic races in the wee small hours when we would see dolphins flying in towards us in a shroud of phosphorescence, looking for all the world like torpedoes aimed directly at us.

When he’s not coaching, Don is an Electrician.