As with anyone nominated for a lifetime membership, you could write books about the huge number of stories and contributions to the club.
Brent didn’t step foot on a boat for the first 29 years of his life. Then, always up for a challenge, his first sailing experience started where most would consider to be the pinnacle of their sailing experience – a two-year world circumnavigation, with little or no sailing experience other than a brief period sailing on a Trimaran in the previous summer. I guess to a novice, a trimaran looks like a monohull with trainer wheels and therefore the perfect place to start learning.
Setting off from Wellington in July 1980 very much the novice blue water sailor, returning nearly two years later as skipper/navigator following the exit of his skipper due to illness while they were sailing in the Med. The circumnavigation involved passing through both the Suez and Panama Canals, with stops in such exotic places as Palmerston Atoll, Port Moresby, the Maldives, into the Red Sea and Port Sudan, Istanbul, and up into the Black Sea and Odessa, as well as the more popular tourist stops in the Med, Caribbean and Pacific ocean.
Having safety returned the boat to its owner, Brent started racing in Wellington, where he says he learned more in his first season of racing than two years sailing around the world. Brent has owned and raced Gucci for the past 35 years. That boat has now sailed the longest distance of any boat currently racing at the Club and I can’t think of another boat that would challenge it for most races competed in.
The number of people who’ve been introduced to sailing and the club by Brent and Gucci is well into the hundreds, including the wonderful women who now carry the name of the boat. And then there was the surely the maximum and surely unauthorised 23 P.O.B. for a Rum Race in 2021.
Brent and Gucci continue to do long offshore trips, including the Auckland to Suva race in 2005, a massive tour of the Pacific in 2009, and four years cruising around Asia 2014 to 2018, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea and Niue, you name it. These trips are a wealth of hilarity, and always great stories of hospitality.
Brent’s been awarded Personality of the year and Gucci has won Boat of the Year multiple times. The haul of silverware is up there with the top boats every year, particularly offshore.
Returning to the club after racing, he’s so quiet, people often aren’t aware what he does. He’s often assisting with deliveries of many club member’s boats. He’s been a sailing committee member. Never wanted to be on the Board – he’s a smart man, too. In more recent years, he’s been out servicing the moorings around the harbour, and now he’s training as an instructor so he can help the next generation of sailors come through Wellington Ocean Sports. He’s such a great teacher, always sharing his knowledge, sailing, racing, maintenance, navigation.