Consistency was key to Christchurch owner/driver Si Gibbon and his Whanganui navigator Donna Candish wresting the New Zealand Jetsprint A Class title from four-time winner Ollie Silverton.
The pair guided their craft Novus Glass to victory twice and placed runners-up three times in the five-leg series to claim the 2020/2021 NZ1 title after the final meeting in Wanaka late last month.
Candish landed the navigator's seat by chance after filling in one weekend for Gibbon's regular partner Paul Thompson three years ago and never left it.
"Thommo and his wife had just had twins and he wanted more time with his family so after filling in for just a weekend it turned out to be a three-year gig for me and I love it," Candish said.
She is no stranger to jetsprinting, having raced her own boat Two A Breast with several female navigators for seven years.
"I really do miss driving, but I am really loving my time in the navigator's seat for Si, he's such a good driver and a perfectionist preparing his boat. It's always turned out in immaculate condition on racedays – there's no such thing as 'she'll be right' with Si.
"When I was racing Two A Breast we used hand signals between driver and navigator, but with Si it's an intercom system using spoken directions and we have an excellent understanding.
"It was so great to finally get the NZ1 title off Ollie and his navigator Jess Sit, they've held it for four years on end. Consistency was the key for us winning two legs and finishing second three times. It gave us the points we needed to win.
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"Most of the top boats have raceday crews of up to 20 people – with us it's just me and Si, my husband Nick and 12-year-old son Max and Si's dad Mike. Having no mechanic issues throughout the season helps and that's all down to Si and his perfectionism.
"Max was only 1 when I started and he's 12 now. I did have a year off when we had our second child Daisy, so it's been 10 years in the game for me. None of this would be possible without the support of our families and sponsors, they are crucial."
Candish said her boat Two A Breast was sitting in her shed at home, although it was given a run just last weekend in Manawatū during the 40-year celebration of jetsprinting in New Zealand.
"I'm not ready to scrap her just yet and one day she will race again, of course with an all-female crew – she's definitely a women's boat," Candish said.