Sponsor profile: Dunning Thornton and the Paul Brimer sailing story


Dunning Thornton are pleased to be sponsors of the RPNYC offshore series and also structural engineers for the soon to be undertaken seismic improvement to the clubrooms.

Dunning Thornton are specialist structural engineers, locally based and locally owned, focusing on challenging structural engineering projects. In particular, we have a long association with the Wellington waterfront development including moving the Museum Hotel, Clyde Quay apartments, the NZX Building, One Market Lane, Macs Brewery, the Wharewaka, the Len Lye sculpture, the Meridian Building, the PWC Building, to name a few. We are also structural engineers for the new Wellington Conference Centre and the new commercial building at Site 9 on the Wellington waterfront. As a locally based company our key aims have been to deliver innovative engineering solutions to our clients, maintain close relationships with our clients and to contribute to the wellbeing of Wellington City where possible.

It is no surprise that engineers enjoy sailing. The mix of technical and creative skills required for sailing ideally suit the engineering mind. I am no exception. Originally raised in Hastings my sailing career started at Napier Sailing Club initially out in a Flying Ant, then Cherub and finally Javelins. Intermixed with the dinghy sailing was cruising/racing on the family Farr 5000 trailer yacht.

As twenty somethings Christine (Mrs B) and I sailed a Cherub in Auckland and when we settled in Wellington, in the early 1990’s, we sailed a Sunburst out of Worser Bay Boating Club. In 1995 we bought our first keeler, a Spencer quarter tonner called Crossbow. We had some great holidays in the Marlborough Sounds with a very young family on Crossbow and some hair raising sails back to Wellington in a small boat. In about 2001 we sold Crossbow and bought an H28 called Nimbus. Initially berthed at Mana but later moved to Clyde Quay she was, as advertised, a ‘statehouse’ of a yacht. Superb for family holidays in the Sounds and Abel Tasman but sailing isn’t one of their strongest assets. In 2010 we sold Nimbus and purchased Vendetta from the Ensor family in Waikawa. Vendetta was built in Petone in 1976 with the help of Kim McMorran. She has done many years of offshore racing around the Pacific and further afield under previous owners and in 2000 was converted to a cruising boat. She suited our current and future sailing aspirations in many ways being a solid, roomy and powerful cruising boat.

We have had some great sailing adventures so far on Vendetta. Cruising Marlborough Sounds, Abel Tasman, Fiordland and the Hauraki Gulf. In 2014 we did a trip up to Tonga visiting Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u then returning to Opua.

We thoroughly enjoy competing in the rum racing, fleet series and offshore series at RPNYC. You may have witnessed that we are not that competitive (read competent). In fact I think the standing joke in the offshore fleet is that we are so slow because we are busy putting a roast dinner in the oven. This may not be too far from the truth.

Reading the history of RPNYC it is clear that there is a long history with yachts competing or cruising offshore. I think in the offshore racing fleet there is room for both racing boats and cruising boats to have a great experience. Having your cruising crew competing in an offshore race is a great way to prepare them for passages further offshore. It’s a great way to prepare the skipper too!

Hopefully a small amount of sponsorship from Dunning Thornton encourages the growth of the offshore fleet. Happy sailing.


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