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Thursday, 26 March 2020
Powerboat win generations in the making
Shirley Boys' High School student Jacob Knoef has the need for speed and a national title to prove it.
The 14-year-old, who lives in Dallington, is the fourth generation of his family in the sport and claimed the New Zealand junior powerboat title during a shortened season due to Coronavirus with a boat he helped build himself with his father, Rob and grandfather, John.
The New Brighton Powerboat Club member won the title at his third attempt having finished third and second the past two seasons.
Rob said the boat took six months to build working one day a weekend and sporadically during the week.
The mainly fibreglass boat was designed, in part, by Jacob's great grandfather, Jack Ryan and can reach speeds of 90kp/h.
"A wooden boat was originally built to the design and then we took moulds off it for a light-weight hull.
"It's basically a hand made boat with hand-laid fibreglass which Jacob helped with," he said.
His grandfather and uncles have all raced powerboats over the years so he's been around it all his life.
Jacob won the national title on Lake Karapiro.
"We've had four trips to the South Island to race at Taupo, Karapiro, Manawatu and Whanganui," Rob said.
"Jacob can be hard on himself and he certainly gets plenty of advice."
Jacob can race in the junior class until the end of the season in which he turns 16 where then he will race in the clubman class.
"To win the titles, it felt really good," he said. "There's been a lot of hard work, a lot hours have gone into it so it was satisfying."
"Doing it on a boat I helped build made the win feel nicer."
He said his family do allow him to make his own choices and decisions when racing.
"There's always advice, but they are pretty good at trusting that I know what I want to do.
"Eventually I'd like to step up to bigger boats and races overseas," he said.
"There are plenty of opportunities to race in America and Canada especially."