Zephyr Sailor Profiles

The Zephyr fleet is comprised of sailors from a diverse range of sailing backgrounds - from grassroots yachting to America's Cup racing.



Dan is a competitive, focused younger sailor in the class, leading the Canterbury fleet throughout his early 20's.

He began his sailing years at Pleasant Point Yacht Club as a child, crewing in a sunburst with his father Shane Smith and winning the Sunburst National Championships at age 12, being the youngest yachtie in the regatta. Dan sailed a Firebug and P Class on the estuary during his early teens, and then moved into a Laser, gaining harbour racing experience. He eventually jumped in a Zephyr at aged 18 with the goal to beat his old man.

He is currently the President of the Canterbury Zephyr Owners' Association.​​​​​​​

Current Age: 26

First sailed a Zephyr:  18 years old

Current boat: Zephyr 331 "Bil"

Past boat: Zephyr 154

Yacht club: Waimakariri Sailing Club in Canterbury

Sailing background: Sunburst, Firebug, P Class, Laser, Elliot 780

Sailing achievements: 

  • 2007 Sunburst National Champion as crew
  • 3x Sunburst South Island Champion as crew
  • 3x Zephyr Canterbury Champion
  • 5x Zephyr South Island Champion
  • 4 x Zephyr Nationals Under 40 category winner

What made you first get into a Zephyr?

The fleet racing, and to beat my dad [Shane Smith].

What has made you stay in the Zephyr?

It's the biggest fleet in Canterbury and great racing.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr?

The big fleets at the 60th Anniversary Nationals.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to?

I would recommend the Zephyr to anyone that wants close racing wherever they are placed within the fleet.

Daniel Smith leading the Canterbury fleet in the Andy Holland Series - 2019



Age now: 58

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 58

Current boat: 211 “Toroa”

Past boats: IQFOIL, Waszp, Paper Tiger, Laser Radial, 470, Flying Ant.

Yacht club: Torbay Sailing Club

Nationals: 2021 Nationals at Manly Sailing Club - Second Overall

What is your sailing background?

Started in double handed classes always as a crew (due to being tall and skinny). Balanced sailing with university study for a while before needing to focus 100% on uni. Have stepped in and out of a number of classes.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Murray Thom told me I had to join him in getting one!

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr & what do you enjoy about the class?

The three Cs: Competition, Camaraderie, Classic (yachts).

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Eating peanut brownies and drinking a cup of tea with Murray Thom and his wonderful whānau at their bach on Manly Beach after a Zephyr sailing session.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

My old sailing mates - we are so lucky to have a sport we can still compete in and enjoy after all these years. Renewing old friendships and on-water rivalries is a huge blessing. It keeps us active, fit and humble!

See Marko's Live Sail Die article about Zephyr sailing!

Mark Orams sailing #211

Mark Orams sailing #211 in the 2021 Zephyr nationals at Manly Sailing Club in his first season in the class. Mark came second overall. Photo by Craig Butland Photography



Age: Early 60s

Current boat: 205 "Corino"

Yacht Club: Manly Sailing Club

Nationals: 2021 Nationals at Manly Sailing Club - Third Overall

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time? 

It was less than six months ago [towards the end of 2020] when I stepped into a Zephyr for the first time.

Brian Peet let me borrow his boat for one of the short club races at Manly which I won. Let me say from the outset if I hadn’t won that race I wouldn't have considered joining the class - even if I had come second I wouldn't have given the possibility a second thought.

Why do you sail a Zephyr?

I have always sailed Lasers and thought at around 87kg I was way too heavy for a Zephyr, but they seem even more tolerant to a range of bodyweight than a Laser.

I purchased #205 Corino, which had been restored in the South Island but never sailed. I bought it sight unseen, it had no deck fittings and an old wooden mast and my new rudder cost the same amount as I paid for the boat. It was pretty much down to weight which was a relief as I was worried it may have spent too much time at 'Hulls Pizza’...

Mark Orams and I have been training partners for years and did a lot of training off Manly before we won our respective World Laser Masters titles in Fortaleza Brazil. Mark O was intrigued that I had joined the class and joined me soon after - the prospect of the Nationals being hosted at the Manly Sailing Club was a real bonus.

I really enjoyed lining up against an entirely new group of sailors who were all real cheerleaders for the class and it has been great to hang out with so many good guys.

Talking of mates, my long time buddy Rod Dawson joined the class just before the Nationals and I said to Mark O, "well that’s put an end to our dreams of winning", but it was very cool that three Laser sailors all new to the class made it onto the podium.

Family History

It was also a real privilege to follow in the footsteps of my dad, Neville Thom, who was one of the very first people to win the Zephyr Nationals back March 1959 in Zephyr #4 "Why".

Murray Thom sailing #205

Murray Thom sailing #205 "Corino"

Neville Thom sailing #4 "Why"

Murray's father Neville Thom sailing original Townsend boat #4 "Why" in the 1950s



Age now: 65

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 49

Current boats: 259 "Zephyrus";  309 "Pilatus"; 523 "Quandary"

Past boats: 182 "Ziggy"

Yacht club: Royal NZ Yacht Squadron; Pt Chevalier Sailing Club

What is your sailing background?

I started sailing at the age of 5 in an Arrow dinghy with my father, followed by a Townson designed Mistral, and had a forgettable time in the P class from age 11- 14! Sailed on keelboats since I was 16, owned a Pied Piper "Quandary" from 1975 - 1979, then a Stewart 34 "Pahi" from 1979 - 1986. Competed in the Clipper Cup  in 1984 in my 44 foot Murray Ross designed "Blast Furnace", as well as the Auckland to Suva race in the same boat in 1986. Did the Admirals Cup on NZ team boat "Wee Willie Winkie" in 1981 (along with fellow Zephyr owner Rob Martin #113), and also the Kenwood Cup 1986 on "Equity", and helmed "Fair Share" in the 1988 One Ton Cup in San Francisco. Owned an MRX from 1990 to 1997 and won the NZ Match Racing Championship in 1993 and 1994. Currently relieving helmsman on TP 52 "Mayhem" in winter and Wednesday night racing.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Conversations over a beer with members of the now disbanded John Thompson Society, a group of older guys including Rod Slater (Dan's father) and Ray Barker (Dean's father) who had started doing fun sailing/racing off Takapuna in the early 2000's.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about the boat?

The boats are very pretty to look at, great to sail with fitness rewarded but not brutal for an older guy like a Laser is;  the owners are a great bunch of people generally of a similar age group;  they have a competitive attitude to racing but not to a do or die level - egos stay on the shore.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Losing the 2007 nationals in Akaroa on a countback to class legend Glen McKenzie and having him console me by tell me "your time will come";  winning my first nationals in Tauranga in 2010 was magic.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

I think the class is ideally suited to sailors who no longer have commitments to their kids' sailing or who have had enough of crewing or organising keelboat crews and who want enjoyable and competitive racing within a beautiful looking boat that rewards physical effort with a decent turn of speed but can accommodate a range of body weights due to the ability to alter the rig set up.

Tim Snedden winning National Champs 2010

Tim Snedden taking out his first National Championships win in Tauranga 2010 - a photo he has proudly above his desk!

Tim Snedden

Zephyr Nationals 2019

Zephyr Nationals 2019' Tauranga

Winners of 2021 National Champs

Winners of the 2012 National Championships at WBBC. Tim Snedden was the overall champion.



Age now: 28

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 13

Boat: Zephyr #307 "Zephere"

Yacht club: Naval Point Club Lyttelton in Canterbury

What is your sailing background?

As a child I spent a bit of time sailing with Dad & Granddad in the family Sigrid & Sunburst. I got my first Opti #1949 "Rudolf" at the age of 8 and have enjoyed sailing singlehanded yachts since. I moved into my Firebug #126 "Fawkes" aged 11, and then into my Zephyr a few years later.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time? 

I'm a third generation Zephyr sailor (after grandfather Trevor Bridges & father Chris Bridges) and the fifth member of my family to own a Zephyr - so it was inevitable. I tried Dad's out for 10 minutes after the 2007 Nationals in Akaroa and he got scared that I loved his boat and would take it over - he got me my own soon after at age 14.

Why do you sail a Zephyr?

As well as them being beautiful wooden boats, I really enjoy sailing them. They're comfortable and forgiving yachts that suit both harbour and estuary sailing. You get out what you put in, which makes training rewarding, and a great sailor can still take out the National Champion title in an older heavy boat, which I witnessed in my first Nationals (2009). I really enjoy sailing with and racing against my dad (Chris Bridges), and even as the "little girl" of the fleet as a young teenager I still felt respected by sailors in the class who were much more experienced and decades older than myself. I was welcomed at WBBC when I moved to Wellington for my uni years, and despite sailing becoming less of a priority over those years studying, I enjoyed that in the Zephyr I could still race in major seasonal events with a good fleet even without sailing every weekend. The increase in sailors under 30 in the past few years has been encouraging and livened up the fleet, including a couple of friends who wrote off the Zephyr initially yet are now key members of the Canterbury Zephyr fleet (Daniel, Hannes, I am looking at you).

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

Each regatta is full of memories - both on the water and at the yacht clubs. Tauranga Nationals in 2010 when I was sixteen - on day one a pretty strong gust came up and another sailor and I had a collision after the racing. I then capsized to port, submerging the hole in my hull, and my boat started sinking & drifting toward the port. The rescue boat team were wonderful - my father not so much, who only realised I was missing after he had packed up his boat for the day, had a hot shower, and was then asked by another sailor where his daughter was. That night, sailors rallied around providing all the gear needed, and Dad fixed up my boat ready for racing the next morning. It really showed me the support sailors offer each other in this class. 

Winning the Women's Trophy in the 2012 Nationals at Worser Bay was pretty fantastic too... but the above makes a better story.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why? 

Anyone who loves singlehanded yachts who wants reasonable sized fleet racing both regionally & Nationally and an affordable boat. 

I would love to see more Youth and Women in the class, and the Zephyr is a great boat for people who want to still enjoy competitive and skilled sailing in a strong fleet but also have a demanding life outside of yachting. There's close racing wherever you are placed in the fleet, and the sailors themselves are a good bunch of people.

Cathryn Bridges National Champs 2009

Cathryn Bridges aged 15 sailing in her first National Championships - Lyttelton 2009

Cathryn Bridges aged 17 - 2010 Akaroa Nationals

Cathryn Bridges aged 17 - 2010 Akaroa Nationals

Cathryn Bridges aged 23 - Akaroa Nationals 2017

Cathryn Bridges aged 23 - Akaroa Nationals 2017

Cathryn Bridges age 26 in the 2019 South Islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound

Cathryn Bridges age 26 in the 2019 South Islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound



Current Age: 67

First sailed a Zephyr:  11 years old

Current boat: Zephyr 525 "Five to Go"

Other boat: Zephyr 313 "Tamatai" (daughter's).

Yacht club: Worser Bay Boating Club

I first sailed a Zephyr as an 11 year old. We used to holiday at Christmas in the Marlborough Sounds. In 1963, a friend of Dad's brought a Zephyr up from Christchurch for me sail. I just loved the Zephyr - it was so much faster than the P class which I sailed at Evan's bay.

I got into Zephyrs just before the 50th Anniversary and sailed #313 at Milford. I was so impressed with the comradeship, and enjoyed meeting guys from my youth. I stuck with class and orded a new hull. I gave new hull positions to other Wellingtonians. This was to build the initial Wellington fleet.

I am 67, and have intention of sailing in light air. I sail my Elliot 780 and three different designs of model yachts, (including a model Zephyr built by Chris Bridges). My Zephyr is my go to boat for competition.

My sailing background is typical of a yachting family, sailing for many generations in Wellington. Z Class, keelers, Farr 3.7 in the 1970s. 470s in the mid-late 1970s, more keelers, and trailer yachts.

I achieved national title in trailer yacht Elliot 780 "Erazer". In the Zephyrs I have reasonable successes, but most of all I enjoy the class for its competition and meeting friends at national events.

I enjoy my Zephyr sailing. The growth of the class is expanding. I particularly enjoy the family participation; currently fathers, daughters & sons - all competing at club and national level. My own experience of sailing against my daughter is a highlight.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to?

I would recommend a Zephyr to any person that loves sailing in centre boarders. The Zephyr is affordable with a bit of volunteered help - the class is full of experienced sailors that are willling to offer a hand. There are plenty of old timber boats that can be made available at reasonable cost.

Zephyr Nationals 2019

Zephyr Nationals 2019 in Tauranga

Chris Hargreaves, aged 11, sailing a Zephyr in Lochmara Bay in 1963

Chris Hargreaves, aged 11, sailing a Zephyr in Lochmara Bay in 1963/4

Chris Hargreaves



Age now: 36

Age when first raced a Zephyr: 34 - in the EBY&MBC Centenary Opening Day race.

Current boat/s: Whichever one Dad isn't sailing #313 "Tāmati" (Thomas/twin) or #525 "Five to Go".

Past boat/s: Various classes. The last was a Sunburst "Bad News" my partner got off Trademe so I could teach her how to sail.

Yacht club: EBY&MBC and WBBC

What is your sailing background?

It started 36 years ago with a Cook Strait crossing sitting in my car seat strapped to the centercase of Mum and Dad's Explorer 'Natural Gas'. It's okay, it had sealed bulkheads. Youth classes through to keelboats since then, until mountain biking got in the way in my late 20s. It's been great to have a break and come back to see I still really enjoy sailing.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Chris Hargreaves (Dad) has been waiting patiently for years.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr?

Apart from James McCrae and Dad not taking no for an answer, I'm enjoying hanging with the old man on the water and in the garage with a beer, pissing around with the boats. I'm enjoying being back at WBBC amongst good people and familiarity - and the banter in the fleet is good fun.

What do you enjoy about the boat?

It's relatively easy to sail and send downwind. Being able to drop the mast back in heavy air up wind is gold for being a lighter competitor - and all the other bits you can do to optimise the boat to your weight.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

20 Zephyrs rounding a bottom mark at WBBC with Paper Tigers coming in with buoy room. (Uncle) Jason Parkin death rolling and saving it. Carla Bennett somehow managing to not run him over in her PT. We all came out alive..... I think. The naughty Zephyrs had had a general which resulted in the bottom mark cluster. Shoving a sandwich in my mouth with 30 seconds to go (because the support boat had drifted) and going round the top mark first at Manly Nats the other day was fun. The wind and waves on day one were pretty memorable.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Anybody wanting some competitive sailing with a good vibe. The boats aren't too weight sensitive so it's anyone's game. More women for sure! There's a few that missed the Nats this year because of the date change or not being able to find a boat. Hopefully we'll see them next year. Maybe one of 'em will win it...

Amanda Hargreaves and her dad Chris Hargreaves debriefing between races at the 2021 Nationals

Amanda Hargreaves and Dad Chris Hargreaves



Murray Sargisson is a valued and committed member of the Zephyr class, and the longest competing sailor in the fleet. He has won the Zephyr National Championships seven times, first winning as a seventeen-year-old at the 1966 National Championships in Taupo. Murray is a life member of the Zephyr Owners' AssociatIon, recognising both his decades of competitive racing and years of service to the Zephyr class.

Age:  71

Age when first sailed a Zephyr:  15 years old

Current boat: "Taiko" #604

Past boats: "Gwendolyne" #17, "Zeppelin" #215, "Gazelle" #82

Yacht club: French Bay Yacht Club

What is your sailing background?

Learnt in P Class at age 8 on Hamilton Lake. P Class to Zephyr 1963,  to Javelin 1975, then back to Zephyr 1981.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?  

Progression from P Class. Starling not available in 1963.

What do you enjoy about the Zephyr?

Fun boat to sail. Competitive Class. Still manageable in +20kn winds.

Wht are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?  

Winning first Nationals on Lake Taupo at age 17. Each of my subsequent six Nationals wins, and winning the North Island Champs on Lake Taupo in 2016, fifty years after my first Nationals win there in 1966.

​​​​Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?  

It is an enjoyable boat to sail and race when set up to suiting skippers in the 65kg to 85kg weight range.

Murray Sargisson

Seventeen-year-old Murray Sargisson with boat "Gwendolyne" #17, next to Lake Hamilton soon after winning his first Zephyr Nationals on Lake Taupo in 1966

Murray Sargisson in his early thirties racing "Gazelle" #82 on Lake Hamilton in 1982

Murray Sargisson in his early thirties racing "Gazelle" #82 on Lake Hamilton in 1982

2018 AGM photo

Pictured from left - Treasurer Tony Miller, Life Member Murray Sargisson, Patron Alex Atkin, Life Member Rob Ebert and President Peter Busfield following the 2018 AGM at the Pt Chev Yacht Club



Age now: 58

First sailed a Zephyr: Mid-30s

Yacht Club: Christchurch Yacht Club

Current Boat: #85 "Gamble".

Other Boats:

My first boat was #323 "Exception" which I owned up to last year. I have also owned #155 "Spooky" which was called "Aquarius" when I purchased it. I also owned #29 "Wild Child" for quite a few years which I sailed, and my wife Brenda Wenham sailed "Exception". 

What is your sailing background?

I started sailing when I was about ten, My father built a Hartley 16 trailer yacht and I sailed on that, Dad then brought one of the first wooden Noelex 22's which was called Tigress. He also built me a P class number 280 which I called Captain Fantastic. But I was a bit scared of it and we only used it on family holidays and a I only went in a couple of races, I was probably about 14 or 15 at the time.

After sailing with the family on the Noelex for lots of years I got into other sports playing Cricket and then got into Athletics, running cross country, road and track. During my training runs I started running past 323 on the foot path with a for sale sign on it, I was taken with the shape, it was such a pretty boat.  One day I stopped and ended up buying it. My intention was just to have a boat to muck around in. With in a month I started racing it at the back of the fleet at Pleasant point which had quite a few Zephyrs sailing there at the time. 

Why do you enjoy sailing the Zephyr?

I like the Zephyr because its just you and the boat, no crew no hassles. It is pretty and you can potter around in it or race. They are quite lively and a thrill to sail on reaches when they are planning and the spray is flying. I like the fact that you don't have to be a gym bunny to sail them but still have to know what your doing and you can be racing with sailors ranging from 15 to 70 plus.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

My highlights sailing the Zephyr have been getting two 3rd places in a couple of National Champs races and winning a Canterbury Champs race once. I enjoy the company of the other sailors who I have raced against over the years and the fact that nobody takes it too seriously. 

Who would you recommend a Zephyr to, and why?

I think they are a great boat and recommend them to any keen sailor.

Russell Wenham

Russell Wenham



Age now: 57

First sailed a Zephyr: 48

Current boat/s: Zephyr #190 "Jelly Tip"

Past boat: Had the loan of 514 for the first Worser Bay Nationals

Yacht club: Worser Bay Boating Club

What is your sailing background? 

Started sailing in P Class and Starling. Moved into OK Dinghy and grew up quickly racing these. Lasers followed by a stint in Keel boats with a crew made up of mates from youth sailing days

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Camaraderie amongst the Worser Bay fleet, Jamie McDowell and TC’s persuasion, fleet sailing and being about the right size.

Also the relatively low cost of entering the fleet with a competitive boat that wouldn’t be obsolete due to technological advances.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr & what do you enjoy about it?

Again, the camaraderie and fleet size.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

The balance of the design upwind in a Wellington breeze, sending the Jelly Tip down the waves at the Lyttleton Nationals and the weekly battles with the Worser Bay sailors.

Would you recommend the Zephyr, and why?

Absolutely. The fleet has a magnificent vibe about it. The racing is tight throughout the fleet with everybody having a story to share on shore about overtaking manoeuvres, waves surfed and gybes survived.

Greg Wright

Greg Wright flying down the racecourse in the Picton 2020 Nationals. Greg is the National Champion of this regatta, and enjoyed racing against his daughter Polly (19) who won the Women's Trophy.

Greg Wright

Greg Wright racing in the 2018 National Championships on home waters in Wellington, of which he took out the "National Champion" title.



Age now: 20

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 19 - but had sailed Dad's in the past a couple times.

Current boat: Zephyr #31 "Sayonara"

Yacht club: Worser Bay Boating Club / Macandrew Bay Boating Club

What is your sailing background?

Grew up sailing through Optis, Starlings, Sunburst and a little bit of 29er, then match racing in the Elliots.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

I did the WBBC harbour race in Dad's #190 once. Then went to uni and didn’t do much sailing but decided I wanted to do the 2020 Zephyr Nationals in Picton with Dad, got my own afterwards, and have sailed it whenever I’m home ever since!

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr and what do you enjoy about the boat?

I really like the boat! As well as it being a competitive, fun class to be in.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Beating Bubble in a race for the first time ever haha. Battling hard in the wind.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Anyone and everyone! It’s an easy boat to sail, being very forgiving. The fleet is also very helpful when things break!

Polly Wright



Age now: 56

First sailed a Zephyr: 49

Current boat: Zephyr #3 "Anitra"

Previous boat: Zephyr #47 "Fantasy"

Yacht club: Manly Sailing Club

What is your sailing background?

Nearly all of my early years sailing were done on a tidal river in the UK in a place called Burnham-on-Crouch, a well known East Coast sailing centre.

I started in the International Cadet class where I managed to get secure a place as 1st reserve for the 1979 World Championships. After cadets I spent some time sailing Sonata one design, Hunter 707 and then a few years windsurfing. I have competed at Antigua Race Week as navigator on a Swan 48 and also took part in two Crok Weeks in Southern Island crewing on a Hunter 707.

Then children came along and I figured that the only way to go sailing was to buy a boat big enough to get us all in, so I bought my first cruising boat, a 28ft Contessa 28. From there we moved up to a 33ft Najad and then having decided to take part in the 2003 ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), we moved up to a true Blue Water cruiser and purchased JASP a 41ft Island Packet which we then moved onto in 2001 and this then became our home for the next 4 years. After the ARC we decided to continue on with our cruising and transited the Panama Canal in 2004 and then eventually arrived in NZ in late 2005 which is where our time as liveaboards ended after 4 and half years living on board.

On arrival in NZ I spent a couple of years sailing Lasers and helping my eldest son to sail the Laser 4.7 but then was introduced to the Zephyr after which the rest is history.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

My interest for the Zephyr came simply from the boats design and the beautiful sheer line. I also loved the fact that like minded people were sailing the boat and that racing was not taken too seriously (as had been the case in the Laser class).

Why do you sail a Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about the class?
There is no better boat in NZ in my opinion. The large fleet size and regular racing is also appealing. For me the most important part of racing a Zephyr is the people. I have made life long friends in the class and they are a pretty interesting and talented bunch.

Every day of my life has something in it that is Zephyr related.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Achieving 3rd at the 2019 Nationals at Tauranga is the high point. Made more special as I sailed the event with (unknowingly at the the time), two bulged discs and on a couple of the race days, could hardly walk.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Absolutely anyone. Age is not a barrier to racing a Zephyr. Only the stigma that it is an “old man's boat”. Helm weight and boat weight whilst important, are not totally crucial. It has been proven that any combination of both can lead to success in the class.

Paul Pearson

Paul Pearson

Paul captured from a GoPro at the Tauranga National Championships in 2019

Paul PearsonZephyr Nationals 2019, Tauranga
Paul Pearson



Age: 67

First sailed a Zephyr: 54

Yacht club: Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club.

Boat: Zephyr #520 "Silver Cloud" 

Also have 10.5m racer/cruiser. Formerly sailed: P, Junior Cherub, R class, 470, Paper tiger, laser, Tornado, various keelboats.

What is your sailing background?

Main background is serious sailing to near Olympic level in 470 & Tornado classes.

Why do you sail a Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about the class?

Got a Zephyr as there was, and still is a good fleet at TYPBC. I enjoy sailing the Zephyr as it is sensitive to wind changes, but does not require the level of hiking required in a laser. It is therefore much more enjoyable to sail than a Laser. Also , there is a great camaraderie in the local Zephyr fleet.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to?

Recommended to any one who wants a good racing or sailing boat, but is not so serious that they want to go to the Olympics, etc.

Andy Knowles

Andy Knowles leading a mark rounding at the 2019 National Championships in Tauranga 

Andy Knowles



Age now: 52

First sailed a Zephyr: 51

Current boat: Zephyr #11 "Rewa", Zephyr #703 (new Mackay's fibreglass Zephyr!)

Yacht club: Gulf Harbour yacht Club

What is your sailing background? 

Dean's sailing background has crossed paths with other Zephyr sailors a number of times!

National titles including, Sunburst, Frostbites x 2, Fying 15 going way back. 24 hr race win with Zephyr sailor Tim Willets. Many years of racing with Zephyr sailor Tim Snedden in keel boats including meeting my wife Treena at a crew party & dinner. Zephyr sailor Grant Beck was my tactician in my first Steinlager Cup match racing regatta. My second Steinlager match racing regatta after winning the Feeder Series with 14 straight wins was probably my highlight of my sailing. Winner of the Kenwood Cup with Zephyr sailor Brett Niel aboard the Cookson 39 "White Cloud" as starting helmsman. The previous regatta Zephyr sailor Matt Mitchell was bowman on White Cloud and as I was starting helmsman and down wind helmsman also, Matt got us in there for some pretty good starts that year calling us in to the line. A short stint in Farr 40 again with Brett Niel in Aus. Two boat testing for young America in NZ. Trial for Illbrook for Volvo Ocean race including sydney to hobart. Tactician on Maxi Nicorette around Europe, fastnet and sydney to hobart. Stopped sailing to concentrate on Corsair and building Salthouse Next Generation Boats (Platinum sponsor of the 2021 Zephyr Nationals at Manly).

Coming back from a long sabbatical from racing crewing in another national title in the Marauder of Mike Davies. Two handed series win on Panic Knott Didi 26 trailer sailor. Line honours win in Viva last year in the island division of the BOI regatta. But most exciting after a disappointing play in the OK worlds it's now Zephyr time.

  • Other success crewing included clean sweep of Hamilton Island race week on Ice Fire ( with Tim Snedden )
  • Won Stienlarger cup with Ed Baird .
  • 2nd in worlds to Coutts with Ed Baird.
  • 2nd Nippon cup.
  • 3 x Kenwood cups.
  • 3 x Sydney Hobart.
  • 2nd Fastnet race.
  • 2nd Japan cup Niel Pride.
  • 1st Feltex Y88 Tim Snedden.
  • 1st Auckland Fiji race Ice Fire.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time? 

Cousin Craig Moss invited me to have a sail in his. Was very impressed.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr & what do you enjoy about it?

Of all the boats I have sailed these carry my weight the best.  Especially down wind so it’s only the reaches that cost me allot of ground, that’s the only issue is the super long reaches that seam to be the mandate of the class from what I can gather

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

Winning any race as I know at 120kg I have sailed well to do so!

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why? 

I am hoping to encourage more heavy sailors into the class and at least have some similar guys to race against. Not that I don’t enjoy making the light weighted sailors work hard in the breeze up wind. Long term I hope the glass boat is better reaching than Rewa or you might see me more often in windy conditions!

Dean Salthouse

Dean Salthouse

Dean Salthouse

Dean is passionate about the sucess of the Zephyrs and his company Salthouse Next Generation Boats kindly sponsored the 2021 Zephyr National Championships as our Platinum sponsor.



Age now: 43

First sailed a Zephyr: 39

Current boat: Zephyr #17 "Prosperity"

Yacht club: Murrays Bay Sailing Club

What is your sailing background?

Started sailing age 8 at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Continued small boat sailing up north and then continued when we moved to Auckland aged 13 at Murrays Bay Sailing Club. Went through P-Class and Starlings and then Laser II’s in the NZ youth squad, these were before 420’s took over. Did heaps of keel boat racing on parents' keelers and some RNZYS boats and then into Etchells where we won the right to represent NZ at the Etchell World Championships in the UK. After that had a very long break from sailing nearly 10 years and then found the mighty Zephyr.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

My good mate Kelcey Gager was sailing Zephyrs and his dad Gus Gager was good enough one Auckland Champs (also held at Manly) to lend me his boat and the rest is history, absolutely loved the class, the boat, the people and being able to compete again in a single handled class boat.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about it?

The history, the class, the beautiful boat and design the Zephyr is. Coming from a wooden boatbuilding family I was drawn to the wooden classics they are (will never go glass). The people, the close racing and just the joy from being out on the water.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

First ever Nationals I attended at Manly being the 60th Nationals and coming 3rd overall, was way above my initial expectations.

​​​Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why? 

All ages young and old, a very forgiving boat that all ages can master, a gorgeous design and still fast enough for plenty of thrills and spills.

Rowan Adolph

Rowan Adolph racing #17 "Prosperity" in the 60th Anniversary Nationals 

Rowan Adolph

Rowan Adolph racing #17 "Prosperity" in the 60th Anniversary Nationals

Rowan Adolph 



Age now: 62

Age when first sailed a dinghy: 55

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 55

Current boats:  Zephyr 103, syndicate owned Mumm 36.

Past boats:  Syndicate owned Young Rocket 30 “Extreme”

Yacht club: TYPBC (over 30 years)

What is your sailing background?

  • Started centreboard racing at age 55 in Zephyr 103
  • Started keelboat crewing at age 35
  • Skipper keelboat racing maybe 4 times a year

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?   

Continuous pressure from Bob Smythe. It looked like fun with similar aged sailors.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about the boat? 

I enjoy every moment that I sail in my Zephyr.  I am really not concerned where I place in the fleet. I sail because I love sailing. You can’t do it forever so do as much as you can now.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

I love every moment afloat, but one moment that stands out is coming to the top mark 4th at the Nationals in Tauranga, promptly capsizing and ending up close to last. What an emotional roller-coaster.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

I would recommend a Zephyr to anyone that has the slightest interest in sailing. Get in quick, life is short - live the day. They are fun, easy boats to sail, not too taxing if you don’t want them to be. A great bunch of people sail them. Great banter, lifelong friendships, camaraderie.

Ian Watson

Ian Watson



Age now: 27

Age when first sailed a Zephyr: 15

Current boat: Zephyr #185 "Ben" 

Past boats: Zephyr #217 "Zoom" Laser 4.7, Firebug

Yacht club: Waimakariri Sailing Club in Canterbury

What is your sailing background?

First got into sailing through a school learn to sail course. After that, joined PPYC and sailed a few dinghies, both one handed and two handed. I had my own Firebug, and crewed on a Sunburst. After a five year stint in Germany, I came back to Christchurch and bought a Zephyr!

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Cathryn Bridges let me sail her Zephyr!

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr?

For me it’s the competition. No other single handed boat in New Zealand gets such good numbers of competitors. Beyond that, everyone in the class is super friendly and helpful.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Has got to be Manly nationals, it was an amazing event with 87 boats and fantastic weather.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Anyone wanting to sail a single-handed boat that is interested in great competition.

Hannes Hille

Hannes Hille racing on the Waimakariri River in 2017

Hannes Hille

Hannes Hille - 2018 Nationals at Worser Bay



Age: 58 

First sailed a Zephyr: 57 

Current boat: "Mint" 101

Past boats:  Starlings, Sunbursts, Europe dinghy, Lasers.

Yacht club: Naval Point Club Lyttelton

What is your sailing background?

Sailed Starlings as a kid, won the 1979 Starling Nationals. Also sailed Lasers been to 5 World Champs: 3rd Laser Masters Worlds 2010 Hayling island England. 3rd World Masters Games 2017 Torbay Auckland. 

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Keen for a new challenge and there are more Zephyrs than Lasers usually sailing at our local club. The Zephyr is like a big "Starling"  

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about it?

Hoping to improve and get some better speed out of the old girl. Keen to do the Nationals. More comfortable to sail than a Laser "Like a big lazy boy". Also my natural body weight seems to be an ok weight. 

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

I haven't had many moments yet...there is good competition from the locals and you can never let your guard down or take anything for granted. 

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Any age, gender, and weight 65-85 kg. Anyone wanting a challenge to sail in a competitive friendly supportive fleet. 

Hamish Atkinson

Hamish Atkinson racing in the 2019 South Island Championships in Picton, of which he won the title

Hamish Atkinson



Age now: 56

First sailed a Zephyr: 54

Current boat: Zephyr #309 "Pilatus" and #502 “Whakamua”

Past boats: Frostbite, Sabot, Sailfish, Flying Ant, P Class, Sunburst, Starling, Javelin, International 14, Farr 3.7, 10m Trimaran “Timberwolf “, A Class Catamaran, Zephyr

Yacht club: Pt Chev Sailing Club, Milford Cruising Club, NZ Multihull YC, OBC

What is your sailing background? 

Started out sailing with Dad in Mistral [like a double-handed Zephyr - Townson design], Cherub and Frostbite from about 4 years old. We joined Wakatere when I was 9 and started crewing for Bob Gillies (my sailing mentor) in Kiteroa. Then Sabots at Wakatere, then P class at Murray’s Bay - Tanner Cup 1980 came third. Did six 24 hour races, won twice once with Steven Cotton and once with Dean Salthouse. Won Sunburst North Islands about '85. Sailed in 6 Int 14 worlds over a 10-12 year period once getting in the top 10 at San Fran. Won the NZ Nationals in Int 14. Won the Coastal Classic in Timberwolf in 2012.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?  

I got the Zephyr to get back into dinghy sailing at my local club to improve my fitness and lots of my mates were sailing them. I had absolutely loved the Starling to sail and thought this would be the next best thing.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr & what do you enjoy about it?

The Zephyr has proven to be far more challenging to master sailing than I had ever expected - especially downwind - so I am loving the challenge. It’s also a class where it’s sailed at just the right amount of seriousness and competition, which I really enjoy. It’s really great to be able to bounce ideas over a post-race beer off the other guys.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

My most memorable moment is a cartwheel I pulled off out of Manly soon after I got the boat. I scored two 9.8’s off the Russian and East German judges. Had no idea what hit me. I then coined the phrase that my Zephyr doesn’t really want me to be on board and is happy to buck me off at the first available opportunity. Also to be honest, the first race of the 2021 Nationals I came 9th in very strong conditions and had done much better than I ever expected in conditions I had always really struggled in. Likewise to win Handicap [Nationals 2021) was a huge thrill because I had improved a lot from the previous year, especially in a breeze.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why? ​​​​​​​

Most anyone can sail a Zephyr. It accepts a really wide weight range and I’d say it suits sailors who operate below the “cut throat” level of our sport, and probably those who enjoy the social aspects as well. It doesn’t hurt to love the look of the boat - and be happy to do quite a bit of maintenance as you go especially if you have a grand piano look alike!

Tim Willetts

Tim Willetts

Tim Willetts



Age now: 58

First sailed a Zephyr: 19

Current boat: Zephyr #312 "Spirit Wind"

Yacht Club: Worser Bay Boating Club

What is your sailing background, and what made you first get in a Zephyr?

I started sailing with dad at Mt Pleasant Yacht Club, Christchurch, aged 9 years, in Frostply No.71 “Superstar”, Sunburst No.779 “Cetacean” built for us by Franklin Boatbuilders, then spent teenaged years in Starling No.338 “Pandora”, then the Zephyr built for me – part of the 300 series building phase in Christchurch in late 1970s & early 1980s. At the time, there was no option to continue sailing the Starling after 19 years, so Zephyr was the next step on the Des Townson design ladder.

My “Spirit Wind” No.312 was built over the South Island created mould by Ray Frost, and finished by my father, Maxwell Cullen. Ray and Max then made his own No.314 (first named Choral, now named Chortle I believe).  Interesting to be now sailing alongside 311 – Tui, and 313 – Tamatea, at WBBC after they also started life in the same boat builder’s workshop at the same time!

Why do you sail a Zephyr now?

I love sailing the Zephyr as it’s exciting sailing (always keen to plane), and competitive racing whether you’re at the front of the fleet with the top guns, or nearer the back having your own race with the sailors nearest to you. The boat is so pretty, and it’s a joy to see a fleet on the water and shore. It is very responsive to the wind conditions, keeps the sailor on their toes as it were (not just going along for the ride!), but not so big as to overpower most of the time. I’ve really appreciated the reefed sail option, (using a cut-down to size old sail of my dad’s) which means I can sail on so many days at Worser Bay in Wellington when I would have otherwise been kept ashore (or upside-down).

There was a long gap of no sailing for me, when the boat sat for too long under the tarpaulin, however I’m so glad I revived her and myself to be back on the water again every summer weekend since 2012! The Zephyr class is full of very friendly and keen sailors (many of the very best calibre and with impressive records). It seems that all roads lead to the Zephyr, and we are all pleased to be sailing them together. I’d love to see more young sailors, and more women joining us in this ideal mid-sized, gorgeous little single hander made only here in NZ!

Heather Garside

Heather Garside sailing her Zephyr #312 "Spirit Wind". This boat is very special to Heather as it was built for her by Ray Frost and finished by her father Maxwell Cullen after her Starling years, and she's still enjoying sailing it regularly at WBBC decades later

Heather Garside



Age now: 54

First sailed a Zephyr: Late 40s

Current boat: Zephyr #508

Yacht club: Murrays Bay Sailing Club

What is your sailing background?

Pretty much none; crewed on an M Class for a couple of seasons in my early my 20s , don’t remember too much apart from usually doing pretty well to the top mark, where it all desended once the beers were opened, which seemed to continue right in to the evening.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

There were a few at Murrays Bay so when our kids were learning to sail and were sailing, we started sailing too (or learning to sail in my case). Steve Pyatt let me have a sail in his old green boat and have a race which was fun once I found the start line.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about it?

The people! The boat has plenty of room and a fairly wide sailor weight range. Comfy to sail. There is always someone of similar ability to race against.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

First ever boat race was the Nationals in Akaroa , finishing close to the back of the fleet. Winning a race at a Tauranga nationals because everyone else in front went the wrong way. The jumping shark near our boats at a later Tauranga regatta. Have always come away from regattas enjoying the company and competition of the other sailors.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Anyone that is capable and has a desire to sail.

Craig Moss

Craig Moss keeping his boat flat in strong winds at the 2020 Nationals in picton, of which he won the Heavy Weight Trophy and came third in the Masters 50-59 category

Craig Moss

Craig Moss (#508) - Tauranga Nationals 2019

Craig Moss

Photo by Craig Butland Photography



Age now: 39

First sailed a Zephyr: 29

Boat: Zephyr #29 "Wild Child"

Past boats: Sunbursts 

Yacht club: Christchurch Yacht Club 

What is your sailing background?

Learnt to sail in Rarotonga, continued at high school and took it back up 10 years after high school.

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr, and what do you enjoy about the boats?

The old man (Gavin Bird) has one and I enjoy travelling around various yacht clubs & racing with him; also it’s a good looking yacht!

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

15+ knots on Lyttelton Harbour surfing the waves.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Everyone! You could be aged 15 - 70+ and given the right weather conditions you can still be competitive.

Tim Bird

Tim Bird (#29) racing his father Gavin Bird (#107) in the 2016 South Island Championships on Akaroa Harbour



Age: 71

First sailed a Zephyr: 10 years ago

Current boat: Zephyr #516 "Zimer"

Past boat: Use of "Tui" - Worser Bay's first Zephyr.

Yacht Club: Life Member of Worser Bay Boating Club

What is your sailing background?

Started sailing the 'Z' Class at Worser Bay in early 1970's just as their popularity declined. The senior fleet was a mixture of Flying 15s, Hurricane Cats, R Class and other varied classes. 

It was a big step up to the R Class and a steep learning curve. However, the class was growing with a great group of keen, young guys. Worser Bay's enthusiastic group was able to gain the experience of Bill Hayman & Jim Galland from Evans Bay when they joined our club. Those were probably the years when sailing waas my primary sport. I sailed in Leander Trophy regattas from Port Chalmers to Whangarei, never missing a National contest & leaving some great memories - probably enhanced by plenty of rum & cokes.

When the R Class became 12 Footers, I retired to a Sunburst, which I thought I could sail in anything that Worser Bay could throw at it. After bending masts, I had to moderate my thinking.

The next class I got involved with was 420's. We imported 6 second-hand boats from Australia. The idea was to introduce youngsters to this international level of sailing. We had some success as three of the group went on to represent New Zealand at World contests, 

Like all good things, the bubble burst and I found myself introducing a new youth to the trapeze wire each week. It was time to move on. 

Jamie McDowell introduced the Zephyr "Tui" to the Club and invited anyone to have a sail. It seemed to be the answer. A delightful boat to sail - no more crew problems. My experience & enjoyment of sailing a Zephyr has been easily conveyed to my fellow members at Worser Bay; who were a) having problems getting a regular crew, b) not wanting to commit to sailing every weekend, and c) ideal size & age, the alternatives being an OK Dinghy or a Laser, both sailed at Worser Bay at an International level.

We now have in excess of 40 Zephyrs at Worser Bay Boating Club and each week have enquiries from others interested. Our fleet is still growing and often the purchase of a Zephyr is an investment. They seldom sell for less than what they were purchased for. 

Fortunately, my sailing experience hasn't been all in dinghies. In the good old days I was invited by the infamous Grant Oborn to sail with he and Trevor Harris in Noelex 22 Nationals when in the North Island. Each event produced wonderful memories. My blue water experience was w ith the equally famous Brian (Baldy) Miller. We enjoyed many Cook Strait and Nelson races, and across the Tasman from Tauranga to Brisbane. Baldy was a great seaman and being part of his crew a wonderful experience.

But sailing with lead below isnt the same as sailing dinghies. I can't imagine not sailing while I am still physically able to. It has been my main sport for 50 years and I find the Zephyr absolutely idea.

​​​​What is your most memorable moment in the Zephyr?

Surprisingly, no particular moments stand out, although I have lead a National event. One short lived moment in Akaroa before the race was abandoned, which also happened in the Bay of Islands during a Leander Trophy. No points for leading when a race is abandoned!

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to and why?

Being a one person boat & not having to rely on crew is a big plus. With little sailing experience you can enjoy a Zephyr. Help and advice are plentiful at WBBC. It is probably ideal for a middle aged person without expectations of representing NZ internationally, but enjoying competitive sailing every Saturday.

Tony Crew

Tony Crew

Tony Crew

Tony Crew



​​​​​​​Boat: Zephyr #501

Yacht Club: Hamilton YC & Tauranga YPBC.

Helen sailed the Zephyr for two years after Rob Ebert gave her the chance to sail his Zephyr, 304. She then met Zephyr sailors Carla Holgate and Steve Pyatt at the World Masters Games in 2017 when sailing in Lasers, who too raved about the Zephyrs, which encouraged her to join the fleet.

Helen's most memorable moment in the Zephyr so far has been when she got near the front of the fleet in the National Championships in Tauranga 2019, where she won the Women's title.

She is currently out of the fleet racing Lasers while she can still be competitive, but has stressed she will be back, and keeps up with the Zephyrs regularly.

Helen Spencer



Age: Early 60s

Current boat: #702 "Lorna Doone"

Yacht Club: Murrays Bay Sailing Club

What is your sailing background?

I started crewing in Cadet dinghies on the Exe estuary at 9 years old. After four years of that I helmed them for another four years getting to regional Champ and National runner-up U15. I then crewed first some top adults (including World Champs Paul and Michael McNamara; ‘Spud’ Rowsell) for several years. Then it was the college team racing circuit to get helming again and then winning the student national champs double handed. I went on to win five other National titles before switching to windsurfing initially Div2 then saw the folly of that and made the Brit team for the Div1 Worlds. Next was my Olympic campaign in the Soling 1989-92 but only managed one podium (bronze) on the ‘Eurolymp’ circuit although was leading the UK Olympic trials in the Olympic year. On emigrating/immigrating in 1995 I just raced Lasers at club level (Taupo, Kapiti and Paremata) then Sunbursts winning the Wellington and Taranaki regional circuits. I got into Zephyrs at Murrays Bay in 2004 and have raced them ever since bar a small interlude back into Lasers for the World Masters at Torbay.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?

Murrays Bay had a vote on which class to adopt for adult sailing at what is a junior club and the Zephyr won. We had all agreed to move to the chosen class so I sold my Laser!

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr/What do you enjoy about the Zephyr?

It is far more pleasant than the the Laser and more forgiving on the hard work aspect. It has the best fleet racing too.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet?

Certainly the big fleet for both the 50th and 60th anniversary regattas but also taking two races off Sam Meech the year he won! But also where it all started for me on a warm summer’s evening after work at the Murrays Bay sprint series.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why?

Anyone from 65-100kg of any age and any gender who wants good dinghy racing without the pressures of the Olympic classes.

Steve Pyatt



Age now: 53

First sailed a Zephyr: 47

Current boat: Zephyr #181

Past boats: Rothmans Father and Son, #26, #3(?), #509, #606

Yacht club: Murrays Bay Sailing Club

What is your sailing background? 

2011 I did a Penny Whiting course to learn the basics of sailing as I figured living in the city of sails I maybe should give sailing a go. Then a friend gave me an unused Rothmans Father and Son when she heard of my new interest.  My friend Steve invited me down to Murrays Bay to sail with the Zephyrs to learn about dinghy sailing (and sailing in general). This was my “Learn to Sail part 1” and carried out in full view of the very experienced Zephyr fleet, probably to their great amusement. They were very supportive and helpful and continue to be so.

What made you get in a Zephyr the first time?  

Steve advised me I would learn faster if I got a Zephyr as then everything I saw would be transferable to my own sailing. So it started, and I bought the pig 26 to get things rolling.  

Why have you chosen to continue to sail the Zephyr & what do you enjoy about it?

Initially just dogged determination to get a handle on the many facets of sailing. The friends I’ve made sailing the Zephyr is #1 and that it is an easy way to get out on the water and enjoy the pleasure of sailing.

What are your most memorable moments in the Zephyr fleet? 

Catching up to the back of the fleet.

Who would you recommend the Zephyr to, and why? 

Any one that wants to sail or race. It worked for me.