Yachting: Meyer to take on best

Dunedin yachtsman Fletcher Meyer on Otago Harbour. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Dunedin yachtsman Fletcher Meyer on Otago Harbour. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Fletcher Meyer will test himself against the best sailors in the country in the Starling match race series in Auckland next month.

Fletcher (15), a pupil at Otago Boys' High School, will represent Otago in the provincial match race series for the first time.

He earned the right to compete in the Starling event when he won three straight races in the trials on Otago Harbour.

The event is being held on the Glendowie course on Auckland Harbour from January 19-21.

There are 12 provinces competing in the event.

''I want to see how well I will go against the dominant North Island sailors,'' Fletcher said.

It is not his first taste of top-class racing in New Zealand. He finished 60th in the Starling fleet race championships earlier this year. There were 100 starters.

Fletcher is coached by Ben Hawker at the Otago Yacht Club and trains on the harbour three days a week for four hours each session.

''I concentrate on ways to get my boat to go faster and my overtaking skills,'' he said.

Meyer joined the Otago Yacht Club six years ago.

''I went to a sailing school and liked it,'' he said.

''I enjoy the speed and the challenge. You get the reward when you get all things perfect on the yacht.''

His favourite yachtsman was the late Sir Peter Blake, who excelled at extreme yachting in around-the-world races and played a key role in New Zealand winning the America's Cup.

''I also like the work he did to improve the environment,'' Meyer said.

These are the events he dreams about. He would like to be part of a crew on a super yacht or on an around the world race.

He had some experience of this on board a 15m yacht off Stewart Island.

Meyer was followed into sailing by his younger brother, Flynn (14), who is also a member of the Otago Yacht Club.

Meyer is also talented at rugby and was hooker in the Otago Boys' under-15 gold team last winter.