INTRODUCING DOUGIE BROOKES,
"THE COMPLETE CARIBBEAN SAILOR"
[REPRINTED FROM ST. MAARTEN BOATING NEWS], Article by: Mary Finney
This modest and unassuming man was born in St. Kitts and went to school on St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Grenada. It was on Grenada that he later met and married his chic (and seaworthy ) wife, Evelyn, explaining "I thought her family had a lot of money." )the gaming Evelyn splutters with laughter).
He's packed considerable collection of travel and jobs in his thirty-five years. A selection of them starts with teaching water-skiing in Barbados. That was followed by a spell working for an airline, but boredom set in and he found more interesting things to do, including professional diving "laying sewer pipes", a foray north to Canada, then back to Barbados, diving again and collecting tropical fish. He then became seriously involved in sailing, skippering a big charter catamaran in the Grenadines for a marine biology camp.
In 1973, he came to Sint Maarten to work at Lansair NV for brother-in-law Peter Spronk in boat building and has had a hand in every craft built there from the well known "Maho" until recently.
The first thoughts of a boat of his own came in 1974 and Peter designed a hard chinned cruising catamaran. Spare time work started almost immediately, with assistance from Evelyn and their children, Adam, now 16 and Andrea, 14.
Work on the boat, later to be named "Zwana" came to a temporary halt in the winter of 197677 when Dougie concentrated his spare time to single handedly building the tiny, lightweight 30' catamaran "Bits and Pieces" which he, Evelyn and nephew Randy Spronk thrashed for upwards of 1,000 rough miles to win that year's St. Maarten Trade winds Race on handicap.
With "Bits and Pieces" dealt with, Dougie returned patiently to "Zwana", by this time on the second hull, and often to be seen working until two or three o'clock in the morning.
"Zwana" was launched - in the traditional Lanseair fashion of many strong backs and much beer - in July 1779 and was rigged by November 1980.
Day chartering began immediately, with Dougie concentrating on regular trips from St. Maarten to St. Barths, carrying a maximum of fourteen passengers. There have also been occasional picnic sails, plus some private charters to local islands. Although the boat is also the family's home, they admit that term chartering would be a very good possibility for the future for the right type of guest.
Breaks in the work pattern have been reserved for racing; in the 1981 Trade winds race "Zwana" was first on handicap, but Dougie had much success and fun, at the last St. Barths Regatta, taking line, honors and first on handicap in the multi-hulls. He also won the single-handed race there and is looking forward enthusiastically to the 1982 Regatta and "sailing through all those mono-hulls".
On the performance of a big multi-hull, Dougie explains that when chartering he sails very conservatively. Under special circumstances, i.e. racing, he reluctantly admits to have seen 26 on the knot-meter. On "Hobie-Catting" he explains "we only flew a hull when we were hard on the wind, doing about seventeen". (Additionally, "Zwana's" pointing ability is startlingly good!)
The most recent development to affect the local racing scene is that Dougie has recently taken up board sailing with the purchase of a Windsurfer, and with his normal perfectionist attitude is likely to prove formidably fast on both conventional and displacement boards.
In fact .... The Complete Caribbean Sailor!
Finally, the vital statistics:
"Zwana" is LOA 50' LWI 40'
Beam 20' 6" Draft 2' with dagger boards up
Displ. 5 tons Draft 6' with dagger board down.
She accommodates 8 persons in considerable comfort. Working sail area of 1,040 sq. ft. in a cutter rig "because it's more efficient."
[Reprint From the SUN- July 15, 1984]
A 'CAT' TO BE RECKONED WITH
At 2:05 pm the Caribbean yacht, "Eagle" cruised past the Barbadian registered cabin cruiser "Rum n' Folks" off the cement plant on the north coast. Although not under full sail, the catamaran passed the Rum n' Folks so fast that the power-driven cabin cruiser strained its engines to keep pace with the wind-powered "Cat".
Designed and built by Captain Douglas Arthur Brookes, Eagle arrived at the Bridgetown Port earlier this month within an hour after it was sighted by the crew of the Rum n' Folks.
The sleek black white and gold yacht is 66.5ft. long and has a stop speed of 28 knots. The Eagle was built in St. Kitts under Brookes' supervision and is used on charter tours between St. Maarten, St. Bartholomew and Sabe.
Brookes told THE SUN that the Eagle had so far won all the races it had entered. A race from Quebec, Canada to Paris, France was in the offering if a sponsor could be found for the yacht.
The Eagle was escorted for the entire hour by the Rum n' Folks, skippered by Chris Armstrong.
The other crew comprised of Mr. Bizzy Williams, a friend of Brookes and Val and Alan Knowles. Williams said that L.E. Williams Tour Company was expected to purchase a yacht similar to the Eagle to be operated locally. The Eagle is expected to leave the island on Wednesday.
[Excerpts from heinekenregatta.com]
Last year, 238 boats did battle off the coast of St. Maarten, in 6 overall classes from Beach Cat right up to Big Boat. The Bareboat class was divided into six divisions St. Kitts' Dougie Brookes took Bareboat 1 ahead of 18 other boats, aboard the Beneteau 50 Island Flyer, while Mark Duranty came out top of the largest fleet in Bareboat 3, beating off 22 others on the 45' Beneteau Island Flyer. Bareboat 5, and the overall Most Worthy Performance cup went to Hans Richter's VVague a L'Ame (Sun Odyssey 40').
Dougie Brookes in Island Flyer has had an unusually erratic regatta this year, banging in a resounding 18th on the first day, making amends with a win on Saturday, but the old Brookes heart must have been fluttering when he looked at the results and saw a DNS on the score sheet. In fact he had finished 2nd and was 5th overall, not so good for the man who won with a full set of bullets last year. Dougie is off island most of the time at the moment, down in Grenada working to repair the sizable number of boats wrecked there in the last hurricane season.